(Republished from Grace-Anne Alfiero’s Arts in Action Blog)
As a non-profit consultant that makes a majority of my income from preparing grant proposals for clients, I am often asked what constitutes a winning proposal. The quick answer is this, a formula that needs to become your agency’s priority. It looks like this:
A passionate and well written proposal + a balanced and detailed project budget + a timely submission + authentic relationship building by the agency’s leader(s) with the grant managers + consistent follow up and follow through = winning grant projects!
Skipping any of the above mentioned steps will drastically reduce the chance of securing funds. One of my clients asked me to prepare a one page summary on what needs to happen to win grants and I have provided it at the end of this blogpost as a pdf download.
Arts In Action has had a very successful run utilizing this formula. The clients that fair the best are the ones that are building and cultivating relationships on a daily basis. The leaders that attend community events, network, set up coffee dates and email, post and tweet about their agency’s success stories, are the ones that are winning! After all, like my grandma used to say…Success Breeds Success!
Let me know if you or your favorite agency is interested in meeting about your grant writing plan!
Here is the one page info sheet on winning grants…keep me posted on your grant wins!
Thanks Patrick for your comment! Here’s what I think…I find that the relationship component is important at every level. Authentic, honest relationship building is a must at the local level for sure, but for the federal government and state government grant opportunities, I find that it is important to develop relationships inside the grant management network in the department where you seek funding, such as, for example, the Dept. of Labor. It is also important to make sure one’s elected officials are aware of the proposal and they support the work of the agency from their end as well, many times they can write letters of support and advocate for your organization at apropos committee meetings.
I love the simplicity of this formula. It reminds me of another formula taught to me years ago by a grant-writer who taught grant writing at the community college in Danville:
The more national/large the grant, the more substance, content, high quality writing is critical. And the more local a grant, the more relationship is critical. Do you find that to be true in your experience Grace-Anne?