Nearly every type of school is eligible to receive grant funding. Yes, even private schools! Many schools, however, don’t pursue the funding that is available. With teachers bogged down with oversized classrooms and administrators working after hours to ensure compliance with testing and state and local achievement goals, educators often do not have the time or energy to write grants. Developing a grant proposal can take anywhere from 10 to more than several hundred hours. At the college level, professors often seek sabbaticals just to focus on grant proposal writing.
A small (very small!) portion of the commercial advertising you see about grants on TV and the internet is true. There are billions of dollars available in the form of grants for all different types of organizations and entities. Unfortunately, when it comes to most companies trying to sell grant services, this is where the truth ends.
Coming from a professional grant writing company that was one of the first of such companies in the United States and that has been in business for more than 22 years …
Here is the Real Truth
Despite the fact that grant money does exist, the truth is that it is very difficult for small businesses and individuals to receive any of it.
Creating a sustainability funnel for your nonprofit is vital to your success. As a grant writer, the immediate response to creating sustainability is aggressive grant research and grant writing. However, as a nonprofit there are a number of ways to further your sustainability, including varying grant funding sources, enterprise,and products. Sustainability is an executive and board responsibility a should be part of a solid comprehensive plan for your organization. The plan should include detailed strategic planning to execute the endeavor which in turn should include implementation plans for each sustainability endeavor. Let’s take a look at three options to create funding sustainability.
Writing a grant proposal is far more challenging than most people realize. As any professional grant writer would agree, writing even the smallest of proposals requires much more time and effort than just jotting down a few ideas and numbers in a word document. Here, at Resource Associates, we often compare it to birthing a baby. Just like a new mother-to-be, one must dedicate extraordinary resources in preparing an award winning grant. Often times, this requires working around the clock for months just to ensure every “i” is dotted and “t” is crossed. There are some grants that are so technically difficult to write that it requires more than 6 months’ time to complete. It is not unusual for a Resource Associates’ grant expert to prepare a proposal that – when printed – is over a foot thick (luckily we transitioned into a paperless system years ago).
The Trump administration released its first official federal budget “blueprint” the third week of March and it slashes many federal programs and completely eliminates others. The administration states that the slashes are meant to offset increased defense spending. This “blueprint” will act as a guide for the official budget, which will be negotiated and then later approved by congress. The $54 billion dollars in federal cuts means major changes are inevitable for grant funded programs and grant writing professionals.
The administration is claiming that many federal programs are simply not effective or duplicate efforts that are already being funded. Some of the departments and programs that could be cut include; The National Endowment for the Arts (includes ArtWorks), The National Endowment for the Humanities (includes Summer Seminars and Institutes), Community Services Block Grants, Community Development Block Grants, Community Development Financial Institutions, Corporation of Community and National Services (includes AmeriCorps programs), Institute of Museum and Library Services, and 21st Century Community Learning Centers.
“Unpresedented” seems to be the word most use to describe both the presidential campaign and the new administration – and no other word can better describe what we’re dealing with when it comes to federal and state grant programs in 2017. It’s a Brave New World. We’ve all heard the rumors about federal departments having their funding stripped away or — even more unnerving — being abolished altogether (see list below). It’s easy to get wrapped up in the whirlwind of fear and uncertainty, especially when everything is happening so fast and we’re all trying to make plans for the programs and projects that help those we serve. So, what should you expect?
Whether you are new to grant writing and fund raising or whether it is “old hat” for you, there are lots of reasons that hiring additional capacity to assist you with applying for and winning grant applications can really make sense. Here are our top 5 reasons:
1. The cost
In almost every practical application, it is less expensive to hire a grant writer or grant writing firm on a case-by-case basis then it is to pay a talented writer a salary and benefits on an ongoing basis. When you outsource, you only pay a grant writer when that person is working. Also, a lot of similar grants are due around the same time … sometimes exactly the same time. It is very difficult for one person to write multiple proposals at the same time or even within a few weeks of one another. If you outsource this work to a company with multiple writers, they can typically handle multiple proposals at once so that you don’t miss opportunities or aren’t forced to choose only one opportunity when there are two or more that you should be applying for.
By John Nawrocki, Business Development Manager, Resource Associates
So, your community has a number of needs and you have some amazing ideas about how to address them. Maybe the river that runs through your town needs to be cleaned up. Maybe kids in your neighborhood lack positive things to do on the weekend and after school. Whatever these needs are, if your ideas to address them benefit the community as a whole in any quantifiable way, you should apply for a grant. You have heard about the millions of dollars in government grants that go to social causes every year and you’ve probably made some calls to grant writers and consultants. But unfortunately, despite your incredible enthusiasm and terrific idea, you may have heard consultant after consultant tell you that you have a lot of work to do before you even think about applying for a grant. There are a lot of consultants and grant “experts” truly and deeply invested in what they deem to be “the process.” And, if you haven’t followed it, they’ll tell you that you need to start from the beginning… their beginning. Before you know it, your idea isn’t the organizing principle, and the need isn’t the foundational cause. Rather, the consultant’s “process” becomes the focal point, and literal years will pass before your idea is funded.
I’m here to tell you that if you have the vision you are ready to get started. Grant writing can and should begin at the same time that you identify the problem you would like to solve and a grant could pay for your costs associated with solving the problem. There are a number of things that you need to do to prepare, but not having these things in place does not mean you are dead in the water, and it doesn’t mean you have to do them all one at a time, in a specific order. (more…)
“Just get a grant,” a Board Member says enthusiastically.
We’ve all heard these 4 little words and we silently think to ourselves, “If it was only that easy…”
If it was only that easy… then there would be an unending funding stream that allowed you to reach all your outcomes, hire all the staff you need for programming, administration and reporting, and there would be no “need” in your community because everything would be planned and executed with the utmost efficiency.
But… It’s not that easy.
Because along with trying to write a grant for a need within your community, you are already wearing too many hats, working the maximum number of hours and it’s creeping into your personal life.
However, let’s just assume that you have the time, why should you still outsource a Grant Writer? (more…)
Dr. Deborah Montgomery
Happy Holidays grant friends. It’s Deb Montgomery here again, writing this month’s blog on ways in which you can prepare for the 2017 grant season. Being a grant writer for over 26 years has provided me with a special vocabulary when it comes to grants. I just realized this and the fact that many novice grant professionals may not know what we – at Resource Associates – refer to as “grant season.” So let me give you a two second run down before I dig into tips and technique.
What is Grant Season?
At Resource Associates, we look at the 12 month/one year calendar in two segments. There is grant season and then there is award season. Depending on the passing of the federal government budget, these two segments can differ from year to year in context to the exact months that fall within each season, but typically, grant season takes place between January through the end of June. Grant award season occurs from July through October.
Grant season represents the time of year when the majority of Request for Proposals or Applications are released. Money has been approved by funders, RFP documents are being created, grant reviewers are being recruited, and proposals are actively being sought by funders.