JaneAuthor: Jane Symonds

Writing a grant application without a project plan is a bit like building a house out of straw or sticks… you may get words on the page, but eventually your argument is going to come falling down.

What you need is bricks – or, in the world of grants, a well-mapped project that covers off everything from the project need through to evaluation and reporting.

Developing a strong, detailed project plan is a common stumbling block for nonprofits of all types and sizes – but it’s also an essential step to getting funding for the project.

All too often, we see people thinking of project plans in terms of the ultimate goal – we’re going to do THIS and it’s going to make a huge difference! – without plotting out the pathway to achieving that goal.

Before preparing a funding application, here are some key questions to answer to ensure your project is fully developed.

– what evidence do you have to demonstrate that this project is necessary?

– which specific group of people is going to benefit from your project?

– how are you going to achieve the required outcomes?

– how will you evaluate and measure success?

– how will you manage the risks facing this project?

Thinking about project ideas in this very detailed way can be time-consuming – but not nearly as time-wasting and damaging as submitting a funding application for an ill-prepared project.

So remember the bricks – following an effective project-planning procedure will help to identify weaknesses, as well as giving you a clear idea of which of your ideas are most worthy of your precious time and resources.