Updated: Jan 9, 2022
If you as a Development Director or an Executive Director, conduct a search for grant ready or grant readiness, you will find many articles and checklists. (I will be posting one I use when working with nonprofits in the coming days) Once you read the article or look down the checklist you might say, "We are nowhere being close to checking off most of these areas." Being grant ready can be a struggle regardless of whether your organization is small, medium or large.
An Executive Director, started her nonprofit while she still worked a full-time job. Despite this full-time job, the organization has grown and is more sustainable than other nonprofits with five times the number of staff. When we started working together, she had three or four board members, and needed to hire a part-time Office Manager/Program Director -all rolled into one! First, she worked on shoring up her Board of Directors, so her current ones would not burnout and also managed to fundraise for the PT associate. Now, she is on her way to building a grant ready foundation.
This step the Executive Director took, started the process so we could assess the organization and prioritize the focus areas. The Executive Director had already moved to a larger and improved location for program expansion. However, she realized having two other strong members to round out her board would be the key to a more sustainable organization, which is a major focus of her organizational plan. She believes now the organization has achieved grant readiness.
Having an organizational strategy developed by board and staff, with a well-vetted mission, vision, and core values, sets the stage for a road map to lead the way. These are the elements that will lead to a sustainable organization. After these areas are worked on first, executing a comprehensive fundraising plan and becoming grant ready will come easier and lead to success.
If you are the staff and your board or ED do not take the time to build a strategic plan-
make YOUR plan.
Do not let the organization's lack of planning affect your priorities OR moving the organization forward. Make your organizational plan and then show your board and co-workers a few months down the road, where you are in your plan. Many nonprofits and their board members say if we "had the money, we would have no barriers to moving our mission forward".
Think again, without a solid plan grant makers and donors will not see your mission as being worthy of their support.
So, work on getting the best board members you can, ensure enough operating revenue for at least the next 12-24 months, develop a plan with your Top Objectives and roadmap in place, THEN GO for those grants!
Click on link to download GRANT READY.
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