If you have experience in fundraising for a nonprofit organization, you already know how tough it can get and the importance of planning ahead of time. A grant calendar will not only allow you to create high quality proposals, but will also save you time as well as keep you focused and organized, increasing your chances of success.
How to Put Together a Great Grant Calendar to Boost Your Chances
1. Start With a Template
Many might overlook this step as simply the format of the calendar, which automatically ranks it as not very important. In reality, the template you choose to fit your organization’s needs, numbers, and work style can make things much easier for you. The template should include deadlines, tasks, status, and other details to always make sure it is updated and you stay ahead of what’s next.
2. Research Grant Opportunities
You may be tempted to just send out as many proposals to as many organizations as you can to boost your chances; however, it can cause the opposite in reality. What truly increases the possibility of winning a grant is intelligent and strategic planning, focusing on the right opportunity for your organization, and then making sure you nail your proposal. That is why proper research to find new grants is key. Making a list of potential opportunities can come in handy here. To begin, ask around, use board member connections, and conduct thorough grant opportunity search.
3. Create the Calendar
In this step, it’s time to use all the information you have collected, choose what you want to keep, and start putting together the grant calendar. It is recommended to make sure that this calendar is accessible to everyone by keeping it on an online platform. Determine your approach and proceed with filling in the details including funders and their funding history, your target requested amount, the core mission of your proposal, and other action items.
The Three Missed Opportunities in Every Nonprofit's Grant Calendar
1. Visiting submitted grants that were denied
You already tried applying for a grant with a certain organization and failed, so why would you go there again, right? Well, that’s exactly what you should do. Following up with funders who passed on past proposals will allow you to better understand their internal giving practices and deepening your engagement with a funder. You will not only learn from what you did wrong whether it was filling the information incorrectly or missing a deadline, you will also open up new opportunities for better proposals that will be successful this time around, all while maintaining crucial relationships with funders.
2. Studying the Funder’s Network
Assessing the organization’s network is a smart move. This assessment includes the grantee’s board, staff, advisors, key stakeholders, and major donors. Connections to funders will improve the likelihood of funding especially when there is an internal advocate attached to a submitted proposal. If they can help set a meeting with foundation leadership before a proposal is submitted, it will significantly boost your chances even more.
3. Build a Relationship With Funders That Transcends the Grant Opportunity
Remember to keep in touch with current funders beyond the foundation reporting requirements to keep them engaged. Invite them to events and email funded programs, and provide them with updates, highlights, and stories. Include funders in the larger donor communications to keep them abreast of the organization’s ongoing activities and make sure they feel like part of a greater community of donors. Focus on helping them see the tangible impact your mission has and how their donation will contribute to it.
In order for your organization to get consistent foundation funding, you need to think out of the box, have bold messages, and always stay one step ahead.
At Wright Collective, we offer services for nonprofits and donors to help them achieve their foundation fundraising goals in the most sustainable and efficient way possible. Give our nonprofits services a visit on the services page.