I always enjoy the reaction among friends and family when I share with them that I am a grant writer. It is typically met with shock, awe, and admiration.
While I agree that grant writers are the unsung heroes of the development world, the writing portion of grants is the easy part. The real work is in developing relationships.
At Mollard Consulting, we share with our clients that relationships are more powerful than transactions. This philosophy applies to all aspects of fundraising — including grants.
Including relationship building in a grants process is often overlooked and may be a mindset shift for some. After all, as an introvert, there is a reason I was drawn to this particular area of fundraising. But in our experience, we’ve seen time and time again that relationships with prospective funders can make the difference in securing funds.
Throughout our grant process, we incorporate the necessary relational element.
- Call, Cultivate, & Engage
- Write & Submit
- Decision Point
- Continue to Engage
- Account, Monitor, & Report
We encourage our clients to call, cultivate, and engage prior to write and submit. And after the decision point, regardless of what that decision is, we continue to engage the funder. These aspects of relationship management remain with the client to ensure the relationship is held between the client and funder — not consultant and funder.
If done correctly, grants can be a solid source of revenue for nonprofits, but the process cannot be rushed. It takes time to develop relationships and prepare proposals. On the funder side, it often takes several months for committees to meet to make funding decisions. For these reasons, grants should be incorporated into the budgeting process and are not the answer to “fill the gap” fundraising.
Grants can be a heavy lift for organizations of any size. Following a grant process that prioritizes communication and connection will increase the likelihood of receiving new grants and renewing grants at higher amounts. Partnering with a grant writer can not only help to examine fundraising efforts through a new perspective, but can also help elevate some pressure points for staff.
From research to writing to coaching, we’re ready to help.
Article by: Morgan Veach Kerns, Associate Writer