10 things to think about before pursuing grant funding


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Topic: Grant Management and Services

10 Things To Think About Before Pursuing Grant Funding

March 11, 2010
Christina Ryder

10 Things To Think About Before Pursuing Grant Funding

By: Christina Ryder

Pursuing grant funding for the first time or for a new project can be challenging even for the best writers! Based on years of experience and success, there are 10 things to know before you begin writing and as you pursue grant funding:

Commit to Remaining True to Your Mission : There is often times the temptation to alter a program’s philosophy or mission in order to receive significant funding and while you certainly want to utilize funds to build on your success, remain true to what you do, your purpose and your service! No-one else provides your services in exactly the way you do!     
Build in Something New : Do not be afraid to try something new! It is often helpful before picking up a pen or lifting a finger to a keyboard to identify areas within your program that could be better, areas of need that perhaps are not being addressed comprehensively, and design a strategy (that will be carried out with the use of grant funds) to enhance aspects of a program that could use improvement or meet needs that are not being addressed by others in your community or area of social concern.     
Consider Partnering with Others : Funders enjoy collaborative and community-based efforts. If there is another organization in your community that offers similar services or provides services that complement your own, consider partnering with a group that, together, will allow you both to maximize your efforts and in turn, provide for a community-based response to a social need.     
Have a Comprehensive Funding Strategy : Grant funding can be very unpredictable! While grant funding should be part of a comprehensive funding strategy, diverse funding strategies that utilize a variety of marketing and fundraising methods are important for long-term program sustainability.     
Know Your Funder : If you know of a funder that would be a good fit for your program, do a bit of research. What have they contributed to in the past? How can you, with them, maximize their efforts and contribute to their mission?     
Utilize Volunteers and Board Members : When pursuing grant funding, connect with your volunteers and board members about the individuals they know that provide funding for non-profit groups. Some companies sponsor community giving campaigns where companies will match the funds donated by an employee, or at times, make a donation to groups employees volunteer for.     

Research, Research, Research : The best writers are always the best researchers! Continually research your area of social need. What are others saying? Is there new research that could be used as a program development or strategy guide? What are others doing that has been documented as successful? What are you doing that is different, similar or that takes these strategies to the next level?

Know Your Own Limitations : While it is important to ‘think big,’ know what you are capable of handling and what you are not. Remember if you are funded you will be required to produce and handle everything that you wrote and everything you said you would do! In short, be innovative but also realistic!     

Identify and Maximize Your Strengths : While it is important to identify areas of your program that could benefit from additional staff, additional development or additional resources, it is also important to identify your strengths! What do you do that has worked in the past? What sort of components could be used to maximize these strengths, expand or replicate these services, or disseminate these strategies to others?     

Follow Your Passion : Simply said, do not let the funding process guide you, rather let your passions, strengths and needs guide your funding strategy!

The GrantWell, LLC and EPPC Global Management invite you to join our Grant Writing Webinar series.


About the Author Christina Ryder:  She graduated with a Master of Arts in Social Science with a concentration in Demographic and Social Analysis from the University of California, Irvine and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Vanguard University of Southern California. While at the University of CA, Irvine Christina assisted and lectured on fundamentals of social science research writing and throughout her academic and professional career has conducted research that has been used to direct national health policy. Christina has also been a grant writer for over 6 years and, as a fundamental area of expertise, has been successful in securing foundational, corporate and federal requests for multiple non-profit organizations, coalitions, and grass-root projects. Since January of 2006 through July of 2008 alone, Christina has assisted in securing $41.1 million in grant funding for non-profit social service groups nationwide. She has served in various capacities within non-profit organizations including in direct service, administrative, training, conference, and academic research review capacities. An activist at heart, Christina has dedicated most of her personal research and volunteer efforts to addressing the needs faced by at-risk youth, those affected by poverty, and women and children victims of violence. In addition to her role at Christina Ryder & Associates, LLC, Christina is per course faculty at Missouri State University in the Sociology, Anthropology and Criminology Department.

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