Being a superstar is about being a “big deal,” being “the cheese” (yeah, it’s true, look it up), being a “hotshot,” and a “name.” Now, maybe you’ve never thought about being a superstar in the context of grant writing, but imagine what you could accomplish for your organization and your community if you did. And the reality is, it’s totally doable.
In an earlier post, I shared the Two Actions That Are Sabotaging You From Becoming A Grant Writing Superstar. In this post, I explore the two solutions that take you from saboteur to superstar.
By strategically implementing the two ideas outlined here, you’ll become instantly stronger and more successful in your grant writing. So what are the two solutions?
1. Start By Creating Your Program First
To experience success as a grant writer, it’s imperative to stay off funders’ websites until you have a program or project firmly established. While in pursuit of your vision and mission as an organization, you’ll naturally begin to think of and create new and different ways to serve your target audience.
Before you search for a funder, develop your idea, test assumptions, and establish the need for your program.
Once the hard work is done to create your much-needed program, it will be considerably easier to pursue funding opportunities. With your mission clearly in sight, the pursuit of the ultimate funder can begin. Your research will be more robust and your search will be more focused. With this type of approach, finding the right funders for your idea will take significantly less time and be much less frustrating.
It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. Make the effort to find the right funder. Don’t bend your program beyond recognition just to fit funders’ priorities. Like a dog smells fear, many funders will sense the desperation in your proposal, and it won’t be funded.
By creating your program first, you can confidently begin to search for grants that fit. You’ll find funders whose mandate aligns with your mission and you’ll start to build strong, strategic relationships with funders. It’s win-win for everyone!
2. Build A Detailed Work Plan
Making your way toward becoming a grant writing superstar may not be “rocket surgery” (thank you George Bush for your mixed metaphors), but it does take time, effort, and a good dose of planning.
Building a work plan and getting organized at the front end of a project can take some time. If incorporated properly, it can save you hours in the long run, can keep your hair from turning grey or falling out altogether, and can provide you with the margin needed to complete the grant with time to spare.
I’m going to show you how to build a work plan, so you can submit your proposal the day before it’s due – after having completed a full review and revision cycle too!
To build a work plan:
- Outline key phases. To begin, you’ll want to map out the key phases that need to occur to write and submit the grant. Phases are the larger categories of work that need to be completed. Examples of phases include, Conduct Research, Build Partnerships, and Complete Final Edit.
- Plan specific tasks. It’s important to determine the detailed tasks that need to be completed within each phase. The more detail you can provide in this section, the better. It will help you avoid last minute panic. For example, if the phase is Building Partnerships, tasks may include approach potential partners, meet to discuss partnership opportunities, and ask for letters of support.
- Set deadlines. Critical to a work plan are firm deadlines. They help to communicate expectations and ensure the necessary work gets done. Deadlines can include month, day, and year. For example, September 25, 2016 or 25/09/16.
- Determine accountability. Putting a name beside a task, gives each task an owner. It helps all team members identify the role they’ll play in the preparation and submission of the proposal. Only assign one person to a task in a work plan. When more than one person is assigned to a task, it’s too easy for the task to fall between the cracks. Everyone ends up thinking someone else will do it. Keep it simple, one person per task.
Work plans will change your grant writing forever. You’ll work with less stress and more focus. You’ll also write better grants and complete the process with time to spare.
I Know What You’re Thinking
Some of you may be wondering, “That’s it? That’s all I need to do?” Well, this isn’t absolutely everything you need to be a grant writing superstar. That would be the longest blog post you’ve ever read. But these two steps will be an amazing start!
Not approaching the right funders and writing grants without a plan are two mistakes I’ve seen result in a significant amount of wasted time and energy. Not to mention, rejected proposals. Yet, they’re mistakes that are so simple to solve.
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Use the GrantsEdge Work Plan Template to become more organized, than ever before, in your grant writing. Complete your next grant on time and stress-free.