Grant writing to me was never fun. It was a necessary evil to grow my organization so I could hire a grant writer and move that task off my list immediately. I am not talking about corporate grants those are standard. If you are new to the nonprofit world, give it a year or two and these will become standard to you as well. To be honest I wrote those up until the day I retired. I am talking about state and federal grants and sometimes some of those foundation grants.
The research, deadlines, writing, proofing, webinars all gave me anxiety. There are some practices I learned along the way that help to reduce the stress for all grant applications.
1. Create a grant calendar — This calendar does not need to be sophisticated or even a calendar. Excel can be used to create a timeline or Outlook task can be used to set up deadlines for due dates of all items needed in preparation for the grant application and post reward. You could also “upgrade” and use Trello. There is also a free all-in-one grants management system Fluxx.
2. Maintain an e-folder of all needed documents — The most recent audit, 990, & operating budget should be scanned into the system and easily accessible. In addition, you should create a boilerplate folder that includes the organization’s history, clientele statistics, leadership bios, community profile, government funding, and other standard grant responses. These grant responses may be pulled from other grant applications. Examples include statements about your organization’s accomplishments, evaluation, and marketing responses. Top of Form
3. Immediately obtain the information you need from others — For most applications, you will need specific program information or letters of supports. If these items are needed from others reach out to them first and provide a deadline two weeks before you actually need the information. For internal information, you can use a project management system to track receipt of the information needed from your team. Trello can be used for this as well. For external information, like letters of support, send a completed letter to the organization you need it from, along with an email asking them to make any need changes, to place it on their letterhead, and return it to you. Of course, this is all predicated on having a prior relationship with them.
4. Set aside time to write — Designate some uninterrupted time to work on grant applications. Work from home or if working from the office share with your board and staff your schedule and notify them that you will not be responding to texts or phone calls during specified times. Create a schedule based on when writing comes easy for you and when you are less likely to be interrupted.
5. Have postage and packing supplies on hand — Set up a FedEx account, always have FedEx packages on hand, and know where the FedEx drop boxes are located. I like to use FedEx because of its tracking system and delivery success. Also, keep on hand paperclips, printing paper, and dividers.
So, those are the tips. I encourage you to use them to help reduce some of the stress of grant writing.
I hope this helps. If you know of other grant writing stress-reducing tips let me know in the comments. Sharing is Caring.
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