The Mindset Behind Securing Grant Proposals
Okay, what is a grant?
Most of you probably already know what a grant is. But let’s get into the nitty-gritty for a second.
A grant is money given by an organization, most notably by a government, for a particular purpose.
Here, I would like to stress the words “for a particular purpose” because, if you get a grant awarded and then spend the money on something else, you are not acting in good faith and may have to return the money. I want to spend another moment here to really drive this point home. Even though you may think, “Of course! I got this!”, you really need to understand this point.
An organization, agency, or person has monies and a vision for those monies. When you apply for these monies, your vision must align with their vision.
Having a clear understanding of how to think about grants is very important.
When you are looking for and writing a grant, keep the metaphor of the teenager/parent relationship in your mind’s eye. This is a great idea for when you are formulating your needs, objectives, and evaluation sections.
Another thing is that it is so important to spend money on what you said you were going to spend it on.
If you need to change any spending, then you may have to ask for a budget modification.
What? Okay, let me explain. Grants may allow for a certain percentage of money to be shifted from one main category to another. Note: I did not say to newly devise categories but pre-existing approved categories.
If you do want to shift some monies around, the contract should specify what the percentage allowances are that can be made without pre-approval or what percentage requires approval or is not allowed at all.
If you are scratching your head, just go ahead and call up your grant officer from the agency that awarded you the grant. For example, a grant may allow you to shift 10% of the entire budget between line items without requiring a formal budget modification. But, once again, this is between line items that have already been approved.
In any event, I would still let the grants officer know what you are doing to allow for transparency.
Some grants are so small that they don’t allow for many changes at all. Again, keep the teenager/parent relationship scenario in mind. Funding sources want to think the best of you. Just like many teenagers may need to prove that they are trustworthy to their parents, organizations must prove themselves trustworthy to funding sources.
Remember when all else fails, A grant is money given by an organization, most notably by a government, for a particular purpose.