The first step of grant-writing is to identify an organization that has a need for outside grant funds for a specific program or service. Grants are the award of money that is not a loan which has to be paid back to the grantor. Whether you seek out an organization that you feel needs grant funds or an organization that comes to you with their financial need, the steps to follow in my manual are similar.
As a grant writer, numerous organizations contact me for advice and assistance regarding how to secure outside funding to launch or refinance one of their projects. My first action is to research and analyze the history and credibility of this organization. Once I’m satisfied that this is worthy organization and there is a definite need for outside funding, we meet to discuss a formal partnership agreement. Only after the contract is signed, do I begin the search for matching the needs of this organization to an appropriate grantor that has readily available funds.
My grant-writing process begins the same way each time and I never agree to be part of a grant team unless I’m designated as the team leader who is solely responsible for the entire grant-writing process. If I’m not appointed the team leader then I usually “walk away” until the next grant inquiry comes along. Some people feel that there should be two or more team leaders, but through the years I have found that one person must be designated as the one to quickly handle any critical situations that arise and be solely responsible for successfully meeting the deadline for the grant submission.
This may sound arrogant on my part, but put any hard feelings aside because strong and concise leadership is what it takes to win a grant. This is the person that I must be, the one who can lead to a successful grant award. It’s as simple as that!
When you are designated as the team leader of a specific grant-writing project, then your authority becomes a great resource for seeing that this grant proposal is successfully being researched, written and submitted. It is vital that everyone within the organization be informed that you have the authority to lead, manage and successfully meet the deadline for submission of this proposal.
Many times, I have seen organizations that are full of bureaucrats, red tape, policies, procedures and endless chains of command, so that it is almost impossible to get a proposal written, much less successfully submitted because the proposal moves “as slow as molasses in winter”. I recommend that as the designated team leader you always act with the authority to achieve the mission of submitting the proposal fully executed and on time.