Grant strategies to build nonprofit capacity

Grant-seeking beyond COVID-19; five things you can do now to ensure your project funding pipeline isn’t in lockdown.

CraigMELB Author: Craig Hunter

1. Stay informed

Information is power, but too much information is distracting. Choose a reliable source of funding information and stay informed. In response to COVID-19, the grants landscape is moving quickly -  many funders have announced changes to grant rounds, flexibility with past funding and funding distribution plans for the near future.

Now more than ever, you need to know every grant that your organisation is eligible for. We usually recommend our clients update their GEM Portal grants calendar once per month, but at the moment we recommend they do it fortnightly because new grants are released daily. We also have a dedicated COVID-19 Funder News page to ensure organisations don’t miss major funder announcements.

2. Review your information and projects

How has your organisation changed since the COVID-19 pandemic started? Are the projects you planned still viable? Are your Key Messages and Case for Support documents up to date and still relevant? The projects that are on your wish list (program / project list) may need to be re-evaluated to align with the current status quo. Review the project plan for each project (or if you haven’t got a project plan – you can download a Project Information Template for free) then conduct a needs analysis, what are the new outputs, have the outcomes changed, will your project have the same impact?

3. Contact your funding partners Craig Funding Pipeline Image 1

Your supporters want to help, if you need flexibility with an existing grant agreement for a funded project - do not hesitate to speak to your supporters. Bring them into the conversation and ask for help. Your funding partners can also link you to other potential supporters. Manage all correspondence from a central point to ensure your communication is targeted and strategic.

4. Put your best project forward

Keep applying, but do it well. Ensure your project is eligible, meets the funders criteria and the application is well written. Ensure you stick to best practice grant seeking;  conduct needs analysis, develop your project, research possible grants, read the guidelines and confirm eligibility, speak to the funder….then write the application.

5. Know your outputs and measure your outcomes

Evaluation should be embedded into all of your projects. But, with the fast-changing environment as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, you may now consider evaluation methods such as Learning Loops and micro evaluation to evaluate, analyse, re-develop and deliver your project in stages. By incorporating a strategic process of evaluation and learning that influences the next stage of a project and future projects, you will ensure your organisation can pivot and adjust if the need and/or project delivery method changes.