Grant strategies to build nonprofit capacity

Alissa Author: Alissa Bermingham

Strategic Grants’ Research and Administration Officer, Alissa, will provide valuable insight into how the team at Strategic Grants maintain and update the unique online grants management system, GEMS (Grants Expertise Management System). Today’s blog launches the Grants Research Blog Series.

Grants Research Blog Series #1 – Introducing…#Team Research

Grants research takes a lot of time. Time that a lot of grant-seekers don’t have. The process of trawling the depths of the internet to locate grant opportunities, decipher funding guidelines, track closing dates and work out whether the opportunity is even relevant for the organisation is arduous and time consuming.

In 2012, Strategic Grants identified the need for an online grants management system that provided a customised list of just the grants that are relevant to the individual organisation and their funding needs – resulting in the development of GEMS (Grant Expertise Management Systems) GEMS is maintained and updated by our very own team of research analysts…..affectionately called #Team Research.

Team Research are the people who work tirelessly behind the scenes, at least 80 hours per week, to ensure that the information in the GEMS database is up to date and accurate.

While the team are spread across Australia, New Zealand and Europe, distance does not prevent them from staying connected to always finding new ways to streamline internal research processes, ensuring our nonprofit partners are receiving the most accurate, up to date grants data through the regular alerts and their customised, always up to date 12 month Grants Calendar.

Why our Grants Research is of the highest qualityTeamResearchBlog Image1

Our Research Analysts are in the GEM Portal system, doing specialised grants research over 80 hours every week. While the human resource aspect of #TeamResearch and the time we are able to spend immersed in data is a huge benefit to GEM subscribers, another strength the team brings to your nonprofit is their in-depth understanding and knowledge of the Australian and New Zealand grants landscape, knowing exactly what to look for when researching and speaking directly with the funders.

Eligibility requirements, guidelines, funding arrangements, average grant amounts and information on past recipients is presented differently by each funding body. Working solely in the grants research space (in between undergraduate and post graduate studies), our team have built an informed understanding of grant-related language and jargon. Our goal is to ensure our nonprofit partners have access to the most current and relevant grant and funder information. The data we collate, analyse and enter presents the key details so grant-seekers have all their most relevant prospects’ details at their fingertips, in GEMS.

Team Research are an awesome team of expert grant researchers who are passionate about nonprofits and most importantly, accurate and timely grants research.

The Grants Research Blog Series

Throughout the series, I’ll outline Strategic Grants’ rigorous research process, including:

* Our data sources and how we ensure its currency and accuracy (funder websites don’t always contain the most up to date information)

* The importance of research – why the diamonds are in the details (and how our Research Analysts ensure they don’t miss them)

* How the Grant-Matching Process works

So stay tuned…..

 

Jo BNE AuthorJo Garner

The task of writing a grant proposal can be an exciting process. You have the opportunity to turn your organisation's ideas into something real. With a great project plan you're ready to ask for funding. But hang on a minute, where IS the project plan?

Do you find yourself racing against funder deadlines, waiting for the right project information from your service delivery team / project leads?

A very common issue encountered by grant-seeking professionals is having to chase up the depth of information required to write a strong application. This is often because of inadequate project plans. ProjectPlanning Image2

Robust plans for the projects on your internal funding wish list, will ensure that:

* the project is actually grant ready

* it aligns with your organisation’s mission and strategic plan

* your project leaders understand the depth of information funders expect

* your project evaluation frameworks are embedded into the project design stage. 

A collaborative relationship with your project leader is vital to preparing a project plan; commit time to discuss the project, and the funders expectations with the project leader / team before you start the project plan. Working with the project leader from the onset will ensure a diligent project plan is created, containing all of the project details required to draft a strong grant application.

The key information needed in a project plan, to ensure your projects are grant-ready:

Aim – What is the goal of the project?

Project need – Why is it needed? What service gap is it fulfilling? How do you know the need exists?

Differentiating factors – How is the project different from others? Why is your organisation best suited to deliver this project?

Target group – Who is this project helping? How many people will be assisted?

Objectives – What are the project outcomes? How will they be measured to achieve the aim?

Strategies / Methodologies – What tasks will be implemented to achieve the objectives?

Timeframe / Key Milestones – What are the project milestones? When does the project start and finish?

Project risks – What are the project risks? How will those risks be mitigated?

Collaborations – Who is your organisations working with to deliver the project?

Outputs – What are the projects’ immediate deliverable elements?

Outcomes and Impact – What are the direct changes (outcomes)? What will the impact be? (sustained or systemic changes)

Evaluation measures – Who is conducting the evaluation? What measures will be used to evaluate the project?

Budget – What is the total project cost? How much will the project cost your organisation to deliver?Project PlanningBlog Image1

Using the above headings will enable you to collate the project information in a clear and logical order, and be proactive in your grant-seeking.

Having a project plan at the ready means no more chasing up information from your project team, which will lead to you submitting a stronger grant application.

If you need help in preparing a project plan, or educating your project delivery team on the depth of project information and program design planning required to secure large grants – we have a pre-recorded Project Planning webinar for you. Or of course we can help