Ideas alone are not enough to get funded. The idea needs some meat and bones to it. It needs to have shape. It needs to have been sufficiently well planned to give the funder confidence that you will properly manage grant funds and accomplish what you say you will.
It is tempting to jump right into the grant writing phase, but without a sufficiently planned project, you will not position yourself for success. Insufficiently planned projects often prove to be too much to pull off and the grant pursuit gets canceled or gets submitted in poor form.
Our projects are not perfectly planned before we start applying for a grant, but they have sufficient form to build upon! We accelerate reaching project planning milestones during the application process because grant deadlines force decision making. We always make sure, however, a minimum level of planning has been met before researching grant funding and pursuing funds. (Spoiler alert: minimum planning to us means a project description and decent budget).
Below are a series of questions to consider when understanding where a project sits in the planning process. Start by answering the questions listed below in a word document or text editor of your choice. (If you would like an explanation of each section, consider taking our Grant Writing Project Planning Course where we break apart each section in greater detail.)
Project planning takes time. Sometimes it can take months to get an answer – such as where a project will be located – and that’s okay! It’s better to work through these details now before you start a grant. You will develop an eye for seeing what needs to be done from the perspective of a funder and get faster every time at getting projects funding ready.
Planning & Stakeholder Engagement
At risk of information overload, we will stop here. Answer the questions we posed today before diving into the second part of this blog post available here. Project planning is an iterative process. It is okay to find holes or gaps. Once you can see the gap, you know where to focus team energy. Everything we ask in the project planning process is designed to get you thinking like a funder and make it much easier to prepare grant applications when the time comes.
Want to really dive into this? Consider taking our online class on Grant Writing Project Planning. This course is a pre-requisite to our Grant Writing Program. Use discount code BLOG to get 25% off for reading this post!
What is the online course like? The course provides a Project Planning Toolkit (a fillable PDF) and a community platform for collaborating with other aspiring grant writers. Students share their project planning toolkits, give feedback to one another, and help accelerate each other’s learning. Instructors weigh in on questions you have and help you keep your project moving forward to a funding-ready state. The course can be completed in a few hours!
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Be sure to check out our FREE Mini Course with Tips and Tricks for Narrative Writing here.
Any questions? Contact Course Instructor Meredith at [email protected]
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