Questions to ask Before Working on Grant Applications

by | Nov 10, 2016 | Development/Fundraising, Grant Research, Grant Writing

Today’s topic is grant applications. One thing that drives me crazy is when I click on an article or sign up for a webinar because the topic is exactly what I’m looking for and then, it takes forever to get to the information I need and want. Sometimes, and I’m sure you’ve experienced this too, it all ends up being a sales pitch and IF any information of value is provided, it is minimal.

Taking that into consideration, I try to provide quality information in all areas, our weekly newsletter being no exception. Because I value your time, and mine, I’m going to jump right in with this grant applications list today.

There are a lot of questions that people ask me about their grant applications.  There are some questions however, that should be asked prior to working on an application and most of the time, they are an afterthought.

I wanted to share some of these with you in case you are either new to grant writing, or possibly you are writing grants, albeit not as successfully as you might like.

Think about these questions and how much of an impact they might have on your ‘fit’ to the foundation’s priorities depending on the answers:

1. When are funding decisions made? (if they are made after you need the money, should you even bother applying?)

2. If you are blessed enough to be awarded a grant, when can you expect the dollars in-hand? (will the dollars come in time for the project?)

3. What is a realistic ask based on your organization, your need, your project and the foundation’s current priorities? (this usually requires a conversation with the foundation). Don’t assume you should ask for the top end of their range just because they have a range listed.

4. If matching funds are a requirement, can the match be in-kind or does it have to be dollar-for-dollar?

5. You might be a perfect fit ‘on-paper’ for what a foundation wants to fund, but do you have to have a history of success for a certain period of time (typically 3-5 years minimum) before they will consider an application from you?

6. Do you have to have a formal/official audit for the foundation to consider funding your organization or will a compilation report suffice?

7. If you start a project before dollars are in-hand, can you ‘repay’ yourself once grant dollars are received? Or, can you only use dollars on expenses that occur after grant funds have been received?

8. Are there more dollars given out during a particular cycle? If so, should we wait until that cycle to have the best chance of an award?

There are many more questions that may need to be addressed prior to working on a grant application.  I encourage you to ALWAYS have a conversation with the foundation prior to working on any application (unless they expressly say not to contact them) because building relationships is the most important part of all fundraising.

I hope these questions will help you as you work on securing grant funding for your programs, projects and organization in the coming months!

If this was helpful, you might find this blog helpful:

What is the First Step in Preparing a Nonprofit Grant Application?

Top 10 Questions to Ask Before Working on a Grant Application


Free Grant Template


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