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Uh Oh! Your "Check Engine" Light is on

Do you know your Grant System’s “Check Engine” light is on? You need some repairs. You can’t fix your grant problem by writing more grants; you can’t add more gas to your car to fix the car’s engine problems. Grant System problems come in various ways through your communications, organizational setup, strategies for designing and delivering programs. These problems can pop up as you plan, write, or manage grants.

Tyler reached out to me, frustrated because he needs grants for his nonprofit but ‘doesn’t have the time.’ His five-year-old organization with a $250,000 budget won three grants but lost 15 more. He thinks he needs a grant writer. He doesn’t think his Grant System has a problem, so he doesn’t want to spend time and money to assess his Grant System to fix the problems. He only wants to keep writing grants. Ironically, the consequences of his decision cost him more time and money than if he had invested in learning why his Grant System is faulty. He ignored the mechanics of his Grant System and continued to get repeatedly rejected. Tyler’s not alone; Nonprofits focus on their proposals without ever assessing their systems. They blame their failed grants on the Funder’s lack of resources and too much competition. They spend thousands of dollars and hours submitting requests that won’t get funded.

Without Systems Maintenance

Tyler worked an average of 30 hours on one grant proposal; He spent 540 on 18 proposals.

If his grant writing per hour cost was $65, he spent $35,100 to raise $40,000 on three proposals.

With Systems Maintenance

When Tyler stopped writing grants long enough to fix his Grant System, he completed the Grant Readiness Assessment. He invested in resolving his system problems. He created a Grant Strategic Plan, designed boilerplates for his core programs, and connected with funders before writing proposals. He wrote fewer but more strategic proposals. He spent less time, won more grants, and had a higher ROI. Tyler reduced his average time to 20 hours on one grant proposal; He spent 200 hours on ten proposals. His cost ($2,500 grant systems support + $13,000 grant writing) was $15,500 and he raised $50,000 on five proposals.

Quick Check

o What is your ROI on grant submissions? Do you know?

o Are you winning more grants than you’re losing?

o Are you delivering what you promised and spending the funds in time?

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