Five Sets of Questions Nonprofits Should Ask Before Apply for a Grant
Before apply for a Grant, nonprofits needs to ask themselves simple questions and of course, how can they improve on the questions they can’t answer
Organizational leadership should start by answering these five sets of questions:
1. Are the organization’s mission, purpose, and goals already well-established and articulated? Does the organization have its strategic plan or annual operating plan in place?
2. Does the organization have solid financial procedures and systems in place? Does it have the ability to effectively track, monitor, and report on how it expends both restricted and unrestricted grant funds?
3. Does the organization have the necessary staff in place to ensure that it can deliver on its stated goals and objectives? Can it do what it promises? If not, does the staff leadership posses the ability to effectively get the right staff in place should the organization be awarded a grant?
4. Is the organizational leadership prepared to do what it takes to meet the requirements that come with receiving grant funding? These requirements may vary greatly depending on the amount and source of the funding, and might include some or all of the following: Producing quarterly, semiannual, or annual progress reports (including financial updates relate to the grant); conducting ongoing program evaluation; participating in special training; and attending conferences and meetings (particularly if the funding relates to a special initiative of a foundation). Meeting grant expectations might also require the organization to expand its services, increase its office space, and support staff expansion (with human resources efforts, information technology, and training).
5. Does the organization have solid access to-and understanding of-technology? Foundations of all sizes and focus areas are switching to online submission processes, and many conduct nearly all of their communication with their grantees and prospective grantees via email. In addition, does the foundation have an online presence in the form of a website? While not a mandatory tool with most foundations, an organization with a website presents as technologically “in step.” An organization needs to honestly assess whether it has the basic technology in place to communicate with funders and access and engage in the grant seeking process online.