How An Idea Becomes A Grant
Do Your Research First
- Establish the need for your idea.
- Who, What, When, Where and How?
- Do the statistics and other information in the field bear you out?
- Is the implementation of this idea consistent with your organizations mission?
- Will it advance your organization’s core goals and objectives?
- Does your proposal duplicate other efforts in the community.
Talk to Other People
- Are they successful? How could they be improved?
- Has it been tried in this area, in other states, in other countries?
- Is there literature on the subject?
- Are there other programs that have implemented your idea in some fashion?
- Are there viable models that can be built on?
Identify Possible Collaborators and Partners
- Are there other agencies that could make your idea stronger or make it reach farther?
- Who are the “big” providers in the field?
- Carefully Read and Analyze Potential Funding Sources:
Understand the Funder’s Internal Process
- The Role of the Board of Directors
- The Role of Staff
- Internal Merit Process
- Functional Timeline
Define Outcomes, Measures and Benchmarks
- State the outcomes you want to accomplish with your idea.
- State the measures that your idea can achieve.
- State specific benchmarks that will occur if your idea works.
- State several milestones in implementing your idea.
- Evaluate your idea in the context of your stated outcomes, measures and benchmarks.
- Is your idea still viable?
Structure a Program
- Staffing needs
- Components: Location? What services will be provided? How will clients be identified?
- Workplan Based on Outcomes, Measures, and Benchmarks
- Timetable for operation or implementation
- Articulate a monitoring, evaluation, and sustainability strategy
Work-out a Preliminary budget for the first year
- What are the sources of income?
- What are the likely expenses?
- Write an Implementation Plan
- What will you do first to put the idea into action?
- What are the next steps?
- Who is responsible for them?
- Are the operations or services going to be phased in?
- When do you expect full implementation?
Develop a Fund Raising Strategy that Includes Private and Public Funders
- Leveraging resources are important. It is rare that a Foundation would be sole source of funding a project.
- Decide which funding source will you approach to support specific parts of your budget.
- Make sure you understand which funders will support which components:
- capital expenses
- core operating expenses
- program cost
- staff development
Select Potential Funders and Write your Proposals
- Visit your local library to identify resources.
Some Potential Pitfalls
- Do not write all your funding requests to cover the same expenses.
- Be realistic in developing your budget; do not under-budget the project.
- Be candid and straightforward about your potential challenges and weaknesses.
- Follow instructions to the letter on number of copies, format of proposal, etc.
Some Good Things to Remember
- A Foundation staff person is your best resource and will answer your questions honestly.
- Keep your board members informed about your proposal.
- Allow for things to take longer that you expected.