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Should Your Nonprofit Pursue Another Government Grant?

By: Laura Altieri

According to the National Council of Nonprofits, more than 30% of nonprofit revenues come from government grants and contracts. However, if your organization has already gone through the process of securing government grants, you are no stranger to the complexities and resource-intensive nature of the endeavor. The pursuit of government grants can be challenging, requiring dedicated time, effort, and expertise. The process often involves navigating through a multitude of regulations, lengthy applications, and rigorous reporting requirements. But with scarce resources and uncertain outcomes, you may question whether it is worth the hassle for your next government grant.

Since our founding in 2007, Grants Plus has helped hundreds of nonprofits to secure over $150 million in government grant funding. We understand that pursuing a government grant requires an investment of resources, time, and effort. That's why our approach goes beyond just helping you secure funds. We focus on building relationships and long-term gains, ensuring that your investment is well worth it. Through our experiences we’ve identified the following best practices to help you win your next government grant.

Showcase impact

To position your nonprofit for future grant success, it is crucial to deliver on the commitments and expectations of government grants already received. Failure to submit complete and timely reports can have repercussions on competitiveness for future opportunities. Additionally, building and maintaining a portfolio of your success stories will help to streamline and improve win rates of future submissions.

Consider outsourcing or hybrid teaming

Winning government grants entails complex and sometimes tedious processes that demand significant time, expertise, and staffing resources. Nonprofits often face the dilemma of allocating limited in-house resources to government grant seeking processes versus focusing on other essential activities. Ensure you deploy the appropriate mix of in-house and external resources to best position you for success with grants and your other priorities.

Maximize funding potential

Operating programs and services requires extensive resources for your agency. Identifying the maximum funding available for your nonprofit requires a meticulous assessment of the eligibility criteria and the full range of funding possibilities. Thousands of dollars are regularly left on the table due to lack of due diligence. An informed consultant can help you assess your budgets and expenses to ensure you request the most funding possible.

Align goals

Ensure you understand the goals of the government agency and specific grant, as well as those of your own agency. Work with a consultant to build a compelling application that strategically aligns your objectives with the mission of both the agency and the targeted grant.

Create administrative backup plans

Common, yet unpredictable administrative obstacles, such as staff turnover, can lock you out of necessary resources, documents, or systems. Ensure you have a backup plan for systems, staffing, and processes to mitigate potentially urgent challenges like record management and submission deadlines.

Foster relationships

Maintaining a positive relationship with your program officer is essential. Your program officer is the person who oversees all aspects of your grant project, from its inception to its completion. They will be the first person you contact when you have questions about the process and may be able to help troubleshoot problems before they become major issues. They can also be an advocate within their agency for future grant opportunities.

Persist amidst uncertainty

Once you've invested time and effort into completing the application, uncertainty lingers as you await the government's decision. Adhering to a regular touchpoint schedule will help you stay informed of the latest developments and mitigate potential risks.

 

Pursuing your next government grant is a decision that requires careful consideration. By taking appropriate preparedness measures – including crafting a compelling narrative, leveraging your organization's strengths, and aligning your programs with the funding priorities of government agencies – you can greatly enhance your chances of success in the short term. This strategic approach positions you to seize the opportunity and maximize your likelihood of securing the grant. But it doesn't end there. The extended value of pursuing your next government grant lies in the long-term benefits it can provide. Successfully securing a government grant not only injects vital funding into your organization but also establishes a foundation for sustainable growth and impact. With a stable revenue stream, you can plan for the future, implement impactful programs, and make a profound difference for the communities you serve.

John Manning