Nonprofit Grants: Start Your 2022 Grant Strategy Off Right!
Nonprofit grant writing is an excellent way to increase funding for your nonprofit organization. But because nonprofit grants are so competitive, having the right strategy is key.
With the number of nonprofits registered rising year after year, it’s been more competitive than ever to be awarded grant funding.
We’re sharing 7 tips to help you start on the right foot with your nonprofit grant strategy:
1. Define What Success Looks Like, Aside from Dollar Figures
There is more to success than just bringing in a certain amount of funding for your nonprofit. And the same goes for nonprofit grants.
Your organization can find success in many different ways. And you, as a nonprofit professional, can also be successful in ways that go beyond the dollars awarded.
You need to sit down and write out what success looks like to you because of the competitive nature of nonprofit grants.
It’s also unrealistic to think you’ll always be awarded the nonprofit grants you seek. Yet, when we’re not awarded the funding, it still causes a blow to our self-esteem as nonprofit professionals.
That’s why it’s crucial to define what success looks like for you and your nonprofit away from the nonprofit grants you seek.
2. Research Nonprofit Grants That Are a Good Fit
There are a vast number of nonprofit grants out there. Some of them are a perfect fit for your nonprofit organization. But others just aren’t a good match.
The ones that don’t align with your nonprofit’s mission shouldn’t be considered as you start your nonprofit grant writing process. If you’re not a good match, the odds of you being awarded the funding are slim. And that’s wasted time when you could have spent it on a nonprofit grant opportunity that was a good fit.
As you do your research on nonprofit grants, find ones that match your organization’s cause.
3. Stay Organized with a Grant Management Software
Since there are so many nonprofit grant opportunities available, you’ll need a way to keep track of everything!
With grant management software, you can easily organize everything you need for your nonprofit grant writing process.
Keep track of the grants you have applied for and the ones you intend to. Mark deadlines in your grant management software so you know you’re on time for your proposals. You can even pull reports on your nonprofit grant fundraising progress!
4. Use Nonprofit Grant Writing Tips
Once you’ve found the right nonprofit grant opportunities, it’s time to get started with the nonprofit grant writing process.
As we’ve mentioned, nonprofit grants are more competitive than ever. So using grant writing tips will help your proposals stand out from the crowd of others.
Add Powerful Storytelling to Your Nonprofit Grant Writing
There’s power in storytelling. And as a nonprofit, you have a story to tell.
The human brain is wired to create stories to make sense of the things around us. That also means we’re innately drawn to excellent storytelling.
By weaving a story from your nonprofit’s mission, you can create a humanizing, emotional nonprofit grant proposal.
Pull stories from your why - why your nonprofit organization was started in the first place. Find them by interviewing amazing volunteers, staff members, and donors. You might even talk to some of the people your nonprofit has helped.
Through nonprofit storytelling, you can use their testimonies to showcase the amazing work you’re doing for your cause!
Use Effective, Compelling Language
Believe it or not, you don’t need flowery, jargon-filled language in your nonprofit grant proposal. Using empty words hinders the power of your nonprofit’s story.
Instead, try using language that’s easy to understand. You’ll be amazed at how far that gets you! Simple language is far more compelling than its jargon-y counterpart.
Address the Appropriate Questions
Lastly, be sure to address the funder’s guidelines within your nonprofit grant proposal. And make sure to answer the appropriate questions. That often looks like:
- Explaining how your nonprofit organization aids a need in the community or the world
- Showcasing how your nonprofit stands out from the rest.
- Discussing the ripple effect your nonprofit has in the community and how it makes an impact.
- Highlighting how the nonprofit grant’s funds will be allocated in your organization
5. Collaborate with Other Nonprofits
We’ve been talking about how competitive nonprofit grants are, so this one may seem counterintuitive.
But it’s worth it to consider! If there are other nonprofit organizations that are similar in mission to yours, it may be worth it to team up and work together. After all, we’re in the nonprofit sector to make a difference - not to try and compete with one another all the time.
Not only does collaborating with other nonprofit organizations help you both make more of a difference in your community, it’s beneficial for nonprofit grants, too.
Grantmakers will see you’re willing to work together. And it gives them an opportunity to fund more than one nonprofit organization within a single grant.
Not to mention, collaborating with other nonprofits is great for both of you to put yourselves in front of a brand new donor pool.
6. Develop an Authentic Relationship with the Grantmaker
This is a big one for your nonprofit grant strategy - it’s a great idea to know who’s going to read your grant proposal.
If you can, speak with the person reading your proposal directly (and beforehand). Develop a relationship with them by speaking with them over the phone, via email, or in person at fundraising events. The more of a genuine connection you have with grantmakers, the more likely you are to receive grants!
7. Continue Your Professional Development with Nonprofit Grant Writing Courses
Lastly, consider getting professionally trained in nonprofit grant writing. Not only is this a great way to continue your professional development, it gives you a competitive edge.
With nonprofit grant writing courses, you’ll learn how nonprofit grants work, what grantmakers are looking for, and even where to find more grants for your organization.
And you’ll learn directly from nonprofit grant writers who’ve been awarded millions of dollars for their organizations.
The great news is that you can start learning more about nonprofit grants with our free training in nonprofit grant strategy!
Just today, I love that sign-off. Happy learning.
I'm thrilled to be with you today as we talk about What's 22 gonna look like? What's our grant calendar going to look like, What's our nonprofit grant strategy going to look like? So many questions. Alright, so as you're getting started, here's just a brief bit about me on the screen right now. I'm a grant professional, certified through the Grant Professional Certification Institute, an affiliate organization of the Grant Professionals Association, for which I'm honored to be one of their approved trainers.
And what that means, Unfortunately, it doesn't mean we win all the grants, there's no such magic pill for that, but it does mean that I love talking about competencies in our field best practices.
And I think the conversation about metrics and how those can help us set our next nonprofit grant strategy calendar, our strategy for how we're going to work with our colleagues. I think that is a whole lot of fun.
A little bit more about me. I love all things, Project management, Agile, Scrum.
And I really think that focusing on self-care, being a healthy grant pro, I'm channeling the individuals that are doing research in our field, about burnout and grant professionals. It's so important that we think about, how, when we're setting our nonprofit grant strategy for the year ahead, how are we going to ensure it's sustainable?
For me, that means drinking coffee, not for the caffeine, but because I enjoy it, I enjoy the act of grinding the beans and brewing it and so, for me, that's a great way to set the stage for my day and for what's coming up. So, that's about me and my self-care.
I'm wondering what you'll do for your self-care, what it is that you're gonna put in place that will help ensure your top 22 is a sustainable grants for nonprofits grant strategy from a personal perspective. Now, as was mentioned, is we were launching this session. When there are so many amazing professionals on one of our webinars, It's difficult for me to guarantee that I'm going to be able to answer all of the questions you might pose to me in the questions box. I will try. I will try my absolute best, but you have other options for how you can ask questions. Please feel free to tweet them if you're on Twitter.
You'll also have other ways that you can contact me at the end of the session. I've got a slide with my different contact information, and I'd be happy to have you reach out and ask questions afterward. But if, while we're in the moment, you've got something, you want to Tweet it real quick? you certainly can do so. Try to tag my handle so that I can see it right away after the session.
Now, when we think about looking forward, we're going to have to make sure we understand our current place, Where are we right now, in this year? What is our current scenario? So, that we can understand our future ideal state. And set some goals and think about how are we going to get from here to there?
So, that's our conversation today.
As we think about our current successes, there are a lot of different ways that we can measure that. I want to start with one, though, that is open-ended.
Before we get into the metrics, all the different ways that we can define our success, I want to hear from you. In the questions box, you get there by opening the little orange box in your control panel with the white arrow.
Open that goto Webinar control panel, had to the questions box, and I would love it if you would type for me. A humblebrag, yes.
Please brag what is something in 2021 that has been a grant success that you are so proud of. That is how you're defining some of your professional success this year. Go ahead. Let's hear what they are. Is it that you got your first federal grant? Is it that you helped your organization secure its first six-figure grant?
Is it that you got a collaborative grants for nonprofits grant application out the door that had five different partners? I don't know, I'm just brainstorming some of the things I've heard before.
There are no right or wrong answers here, just humble brags, So, before we get into any of the formal metrics about how you can define your success, let's go with some of the storytelling metrics. What are the things that you are so proud of, that you're accomplishing in your work, right? Now?
let's see. What do we have?
Ah. Helping organizations receive covid19 funding, and I'm leaving high, Valerie. Good to see you love seeing names. I know here.
Oh, CJ, a state grant for wonderful, that's Sherry's first six-figure grant.
Christina, there are so many amazing people here, starting a new Grant Professionals Association. Chapter in Western, New York, Yes, you did want an awesome chapter.
First federal grant ever from, and this is from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, CERA, congratulations, Liz, Erste, eight, Figure grant, what, hold on, let's ding. Adele for that one. Oh, my goodness, these are amazing. Amazing, amazing.
Courtney is here as a brand new grant writer and so said is hoping to have successes to share, Welcome to the field where a friendly bunch, we wave at each other over webinars like this. These are amazing. Thank you, everyone.
for sharing, I'll be honest. It was a little selfish that I wanted to hear about your Bragg's for this year.
I wanted to get that energy going. I wanted us to feel what that success is like.
Then we can get into the metrics and think about how is it that we take our stories, these wonderful things you've just shared? How are we going to quantify that? How are we going to turn that into something we can share with our board, with the senior leadership that we can also use as the springboard for setting up our 2022. These are amazing, OK? I'm sorry I have to read a few more because they're so good. Jill Berry, first grant ever, $60,000.
Wonderful, This is so wonderful.
Jessica also wrote and received their first grant, excuse me, those spots. So these stories, how do we then define our success?
What is the number one thing that we see when people are talking about success as grant professionals, outside of our field?
They're talking about, yes, the dollar amount, right? How many figures? What are the big numbers? That they're often talking about award percentage. And so, of course, that is here on the list, is one of the metrics that we can use to help gut check our next year. And what we're thinking about, for what will commit to.
But, as you can see, I have a lot of other ways that we can define our success, That we can think about how to quantify and report on what we're doing right now. The gains are organization has made the gains we personally, as grant professionals or grant writers have made and, again, set the stage for the next year.
So let's do it. Let's walk through these together. And as we're going through the questions box selfishly, I can see that it's not a chat enabled feature. But I'm happy to if you've got questions as I walk through some of these metrics. Some might be new to you. Especially if you're new in the field. You can definitely ask a question about them and I'll try to integrate it right into the conversation so that we can help make sure everyone's got some shared understanding about these.
So, here it is, not one for slide animation, but in that case, I had to, because it feels like this heavy thing that's landing on the screen where that percent saying balanced onto the screen with us.
The award percentage, I don't know about you, but I'm like, that's not a fair comparison of all of our work in my mind.
Because if I compare my award percentage, maybe if I was a person doing all foundation work, and I compared my percentage to someone that is doing only NIH proposals or only NSF proposals or only New York State consolidated funding application grant proposals. If I start to use this as a comparison against other professionals, I'll be honest. We're comparing apples to oranges.
So how can the award percentage be used as a way to define your success by looking inward to say, how am I doing in my organization now, versus maybe last year? Were we able to build some more relationships so that we got more awards? That's one worth celebrating? Absolutely.
Or, you know what, as we've expanded, and we're not doing air quotes only, maybe only foundation grants, and we've now added state grants, or we've added County Grant, our success percentage stayed steady, even though we expanded our strategy in a different way. I think that's another great way to think about the award percentage with an inward selfish looking idea for how we might use it to define our current success by using it as a way to mark our growth is an organization. As we grow our strategy.
And So this, When we're talking about award percentage, we're thinking about, how many did we apply for?
How many did we get?
We're going to talk about the percent funded next.
So, when we think about what percent of what we've asked for is getting funded. So what is the dollar amount we're asking for?
Are we asking for $100,000 from a funder and they're awarding us $50,000.
Are we asking for one point two million and getting one point two million, Are we asking for $5000 and getting $1400.
Sometimes we are fully funded.
Other times we're getting partial funding, so analyzing the data about what are we asking, how much are we getting?
Let's look at that as a percent funded versus asked in each individual application process. We can also then do some math overall, what amount of funding did re-request in a year versus what did we receive? We can run the numbers in a number of different ways.
And again, look back at our organization and see, how are we doing? How are we changing?
Are we doing a better job of getting fully funded versus getting partial funding when we get award letters?
That would be an amazing thing to celebrate, because, I mean, we are excited when we get any grant, but do we really like partial funding?
Not as much as full funding. Partial funding is hard.
We have to figure out how we might modify the budget. How might we change our goals? Are our objectives accordingly based on the percent that we received? We love it when we get everything that we requested so that we can fully implement the program or project the way we described.
So, again, percent funded versus percent asked, is, a singular, one-year thing we can look at, it can be a singular application piece that we can watch, but it's really helpful when we give it the context of what else our organization has been achieving.
Next up, what about the percent of funding renewed, or what percentage has been increased? So if your organization has some long-term relationships with grantmakers, that is something to be celebrated to be cherished, Those are relationships that you've worked really hard to nurture. And so it's a great metric to pay attention to.
what percent of funders are you continuing that funding relationship with.
Now I know there are funders that have that structure in place where they might say you can apply every other year, or you can get funded for three, and then you need to take a break, or fill in the blank with another structure like that.
So, that could be something where, like, Well, we're on an off year, required off year, How do I handle that?
Well, when we think about this idea of increasing the funding we receive from current funders, or continuing at the same level, and a renewal idea, you'll want to think about how you handle what consistently consistent way you will handle that in your organization.
But again, as a growth comparison, there's what we will do and celebrate in this year.
and if we renewed or, and sustained, or if we increased with anyone funder, we should celebrate in the moment.
And as we get ready to plan for the next year, let's give it that context, How have we done in the past with maintaining those relationships with maybe casually a bump up with our grant award from an organization? And we can use that then in just a few minutes when we start to look ahead to the next year.
Well, some of you have said, you're new grants professionals, and you've got your first grant.
That doesn't mean I should assume that you are an organization that is getting funding for the first time, or that these are brand new funders to your organization.
Here's what this metric means when we talk about the percent of the funding that is new.
When you look at your award's list for the year, what percent of the grantmakers, so by count, or by dollars received, are brand new to your organization, has not been received before?
That metric is, again, another thing to celebrate. I would encourage you to use it in the humblebrag section for sure. And it also is another metric that we can start to compare year over year to see how we're doing.
So as we think about how you doing this last year, we got 5% of our revenue from brand-new sources, or we got 42% of our revenue from brand new sources.
What does that look like from one organization to the next?
It depends, and I don't want you comparing your organization to the one down the street or the next county over or the next state over. You should be focusing on these metrics and comparing your growth against what's been happening internally.
How about this one percent of budget met?
And by budget, I mean your operating budget, so, when you look at your organization's operating budget, what is the grant revenue that is expected to be received in order for your organization to meet its budget goals?
Maybe it's $100,000, Maybe it's a million dollars.
Doesn't matter. That's the number that your leadership, your board, has said. This is what we think, we can get for grant revenue. This is what we need in order to have a balanced budget.
So, this metric is, how do you do against that number?
Did you exceed it?
Wonderful things went really well.
Did you meet it? Also, another pat on the back, Oh, amazing!
percent of the budget match, he might say, Diane.
Don't, I wasn't here when we set the number that's in the operating budget, so I feel like I don't have a lot of control over it.
That happens, Every organization has a different way they set the grant revenue amount that might be part of their proposed operating budget.
If you didn't have a voice in what it is right now, the operating budget that you're operating within.
What I want you to really think about is, in the next section, when we talk about our metrics for the upcoming year, whether you're thinking calendar or fiscal.
How can you take the discussion today so that you are apart so that you're actively engaged with your leadership, Maybe even with your board in agreeing on what is the right grant revenue number to put in our operating budget? So, again, something that, depending on how long you've been with your organization, you may have inherited a number and not have been part of how did we get to this Might not have been part of that strategic conversation.
Gotcha. It happens to all of us because if you walk in the door, it's not gonna necessarily be the day the operating budget started. So instead, think about, how can you do your best to meet those numbers or exceed them?
And then let's think about how we're going to support the strategic conversations moving forward.
Well, this is a slightly different one, isn't it? Grant, compliance, grant management.
We're here to talk about grant applications, artley hmm, hmm, hmm, but if we're talking about grant writing and grant applications because we want to get the money because we get the awards that are going to tie right into the fact that we have to manage the award. By we, I don't necessarily mean you. I mean, lead the organization.
Because if we don't manage them well, how are we going to have a strong relationship in order to ask for and receive funding again?
Yeah, you're right, it's going to be a conundrum, it's going to be a hard one. So, I'm curious, let me know in the questions box with a Y, for yes, and for no.
How many of you, where, both a grant, writing and grant management, a grant reporting hat, how many of you are wearing both of those hats?
The idea, So try a better ask, because not everyone has to wear both hats. Some organizations have very distinct staff or offices handling that.
All right, I see a lot of folks that are wearing two hats, both the application, the pre-award side, and the post-award side. Now, if you're not wearing, both hats don't go anywhere. This still is a relevant metric that you need to understand. It just means you're gonna need to collaborate with the colleagues who are focusing on the grant management and reporting work.
So when we think about grant compliance as a way to define our success, how are we going to know we're in compliance for your nonprofit grant strategy?
Only each grantmaker has their own grant management requirements. That's part of the fun. So we could think about how many of our reports were submitted on time.
We could think about if we had clean audits, if we have grantmakers that are auditing our grant reports, our grant budgets are finances against them, or if they're coming in and doing. We've worked with clients before that have, like, client file audits that are done related to the grant funding they've received. So you might have lots of options for how you're going to define a clean audit with no findings, or how you might be thinking about your grant reporting, financial, programmatic, or both.
But you should definitely celebrate that you are getting your reports in on time or early.
If you were on the flip side, we will go a negative direction for a moment.
If you were to look at this metric and say, 50% of our grant reports were turned in after the deadline, OK, well, now we know what our baseline is and we can make our goal is going to be to get them all in on time or early next year because that will build better funder relationships. That's going to help us have stronger, stable, sustainable grant strategies.
Maybe you look at this, and you say, team, did it.
We got every grant reporting, not just on the deadlines, we got every single one in early for our nonprofit grant strategy.
If that's the case, please do reach out to me. I'd love to throw an ice cream party for your team. That's amazing. That is a huge thing that you should be celebrating.
So, all right, I'll get off the soapbox related to grant compliance to grant management.
But these are important parts of our overall grant strategy success, and they actually, they're hugely impacted by other colleagues in the organization, and so we need to celebrate with them, and also make them aware that this is an important metric that is going to impact the revenue we're striving for in the next year.
OK, well, speaking of that grant team, of those colleagues who have a stake and senior group be successful, let's talk about colleague and client satisfaction.
I don't necessarily mean that you have to be doing some sort of survey among your team, or like a 360-degree feedback process. But how's everyone feeling about the way in which you work together in the way in which you are improving your processes, for how you work together? This could be a slightly more informal metric. I spend a lot of my time, as I said, during the introduction, thinking about project management and agile teams, Scrum processes, and thinking about how happy teens are, and the way they work together.
That's not about happiness with the organization, but happiness with how we work together and focusing on constant improvement. That's something that we can watch.
We can think about our team happiness, and if it's going up, or if it's steady, or if it's going down, These are things that actually influenced the performance of our grant team as a whole.
For example, our very own team at TH Leonard Consulting, when we think about the team happiness of the writing team, they were having dips in their teen happiness with the grant team at the same time, just about for a few summers in a row.
Why is that? It's summer out, it shouldn't be a happy time.
We're focused on New York State, consolidated funding Applications. These big, huge state applications include everything from part. Funding, to historic preservation, to economic development, to art. And it's taking up all your summer vacation time.
So by watching that data, the team was able to think about how to approach that process in a different way. How to put some structure in place that would still unnamable lots of great vacation time for the team.
And get the work done.
So when we look at these items about grant team satisfaction, or for a consultant or client satisfaction, it's not that we're doing anything wrong. It's that we're looking for ways that we can improve our process, focus on continuous improvement. Because, honestly, did you know that happy teams are faster teams?
True story, happy to provide the link to that data out of the Harvard Business Review, if you want. But happy teams are faster teams.
So, we're focusing on happier grant teams, satisfied grant teams, with how we work together.
We are likely to be able to achieve our goals faster to get those grant proposals out the door. And focus on the next thing.
Here's another one I saw in your humble brags in the questions box, some things that weren't just about the dollars, but were about the impact that you were creating with the grant awards being received?
Those are amazing things to celebrate at Program Impact.
So when we're thinking about those stories that communities that are being positively impacted, the clients, the individuals, the environment, we're dealing with animal shelters, so we're talking about cats and dogs being supported by the Capital Grants, you got? Any of that?
When we think about program impact, the success stories that you share, the things that are being promoted by Unders on Facebook, talked about at your Gala event, Those are things that are being supported that are possible because of your grant writing work. So maybe you've got a thank you board. Maybe you've got a special rainy day file where you keep them, but these are definitely things that you want to include when you think about defining your success.
Yours, personally, and the grant team as a whole. All the colleagues who are helping to make your nonprofit grant strategy successful for your organization. It is not just filling out forms and writing applications. You know, that it is so much more.
So we have to think about the impact we're supporting with our writing work. Actually, our Junior Greg and Zoltan Adan, said, We're using our writing work for good.
Yes. And those stories are proof of that success.
Now, what about professional competencies?
I mentioned that I'm a grant professional certified.
Do you need to be a GPC in order to talk about having current success? No, of course, not. Do you need to be a CFRA certified fundraising executive in order to talk about being successful?
Of course, not.
They are professional credentials that are important for some of us. We make the choice to go for them, but they absolutely do not define your success as a professional.
However, under those credentials, what can be really helpful?
The different competencies that are being tested, can be some expanded ways to think about how you focus on your professional development and your growth. And therefore, your broader success.
In a way, that is not only about the amount of money awarded, or the percent that's awarded. This can be a way that we talk about our increased understanding in the field, especially as we're working our way through our grant professional journey. What are some of the things that we're bolstering in our learning and our skills? So think about the professional development you've done, whether with an AFP chapter or a GPA chapter. Or he went to the non-profit storytelling conference. Or you fill in the blank for what you've done for your professional development.
If you have done anything that moved your understanding forward, deepening your knowledge about these competencies, that is part of your success for the year.
We now are stronger as an organization in our relationship development because of the way I've focused on this particular skill and competency.
We are now stronger as an organization and how we manage our projects because of some of the work I've done is the professional to dig in. I'm pretending to have your voice, I'm giving you some examples, but that's how we can, I believe, really use some of those professional credentials and the competencies that they're focused on. Again, it's not about the initials. Nope, not at all. It's not about taking the time for the test right now. Not my point.
Those competencies under those credentials can be used, regardless of where you are in your career, in order to help you define your success and your progression in the field.
Now, there are some other ways that you can think about measuring and defining your return on investment. What is it that your fee to a client or your salary for your organization, what's the return on that investment?
It's more than sometimes just how much money came in the door, So there are a few ideas that you can use when you're thinking about what's the return on investment for your role.
one is a calculator that was created by two colleagues, Danny ... and David Broussard. It's the Glitch Broussard ROI calculator. You can find that tool for free at the website that's on your screen. right now. I've got a shot of what is being calculated in that tool. There's also a new tool that was released from grant station recently, Well, in the grand scheme of things, I've been in the field for 20 years. I guess, and I'm gonna say recent, but when we look at grant station tool, grant station dot com in their public resource section called Benchmark. Or?
This is based on the state of grant seeking report that comes out twice a year, There are multiple organizations that collaborate to sponsor this survey and then use it and share it in a number of different ways. This can be an interesting way to understand what's happening in your work and how it compares to others.
But, I want to say again, comparing yourself to others can be tricky, and you want to make sure that you're not comparing apples to oranges. And you've got context when you're using any of these tools and comparing what you might see versus what someone else might see. Really want to encourage you to make sure you understand your own growth, and your organization's growth before you spend too much time in either of these tools.
That's why, whether it's a spreadsheet, or something in maybe like grant hub, or another grant management tool, having a scorecard that's about your organization's success, and the multiple metrics that we've talked about. That, to me is more important.
That's gonna give you the context to show what your growth is as an organization, before you start to worry about what's happening with other people.
Question for you. Go ahead. Let me know in the questions box. Why for, yes, and for know, whether it's a tracking scorecard within a grant management tool, or a home-grown spreadsheet.
How many of you have some sort of dashboard scorecard way that you, yourself can see and therefore share to your colleagues, your leadership your board things About your metrics related to grants? How many of you have some sort of Scorecard or Dashboard like that why for yes, and for now? Go ahead and let me know?
OK, I see many of you do, but certainly not all and I appreciate folk's letting me know that that's not necessarily something you have in place.
This might be a time, not that we have lots of spare time on our hand as grant professionals, but putting together a simple Dashboard, a simple scorecard, showing what our metrics are for 2021, taking the time to document those. Now, It doesn't need to be fancy. It doesn't need to have lots of colors.
You could look back at these slides out of your charity, how to library, grab the metrics that I just talked about for 21. That feel relevant to you, that feel like something you can measure, and focus on.
That's your starting point.
You've got between now and the end of the year.
Because if we're talking about our 22 success, we want to make sure we know when we close the year, what were those metrics, and, therefore, what are we going to show in 22 that we have grown against, that we have improved from.
So, like I said, basic simple. Doesn't need to be anything fancy with lots of colors. But I would encourage you, if you did not say that you already have some sort of scorecard or dashboard available to teachers a few minutes, open up a Google Sheet, an Excel sheet, something where you can document your metrics and then calculate next year. How did you do? What was your change? What was your percent change against those metrics?
The other thing that's going to do is ensure that, you know, how are you doing in 21, how did things look, and gut check your 20 to success that you're planning for.
Now, I know you might be saying, Diane, our fiscal year, it doesn't switch with the calendar year, our fiscal year isn't going to change. That's going to be July first.
That's gonna be October first whenever your date is for the start of your fiscal year. Not a problem. You would do the same thing as you close your fiscal year and get ready for the next.
In fact, you might now, let's pretend you've got a July first fiscal year. You might be thinking about your metrics as they stand, now, and using that to help support that budgeting conversation, going on with your leadership team, trying to figure out What is the right grant revenue amount to put in?
So, when we look at 22, can't even believe that it is December of 21. Where in the world has this year gone? Lots of good things.
Lots of unexpected things, It's life.
Well, when we think about 21 and looking forward, we need to understand, as I said, where are we now? What are our numbers, if we have, just like, gosh, if you walked into Shark Tank, was that show, if you walked into the Shark Tank to talk to the investors, what do they want you to know?
And then that case, they're talking about profit and Loss and Balance Sheets, but they want you to know your numbers.
You need to know your numbers as it relates to your work as a grant professional and for your nonprofit grant strategy.
Now, there's one other number that we didn't talk about.
What about the grant readiness of your organization?
I think that's another metric.
It's slightly more than slightly outside of your total controls grant professional, but it is something that you can control the growth of, you can make a positive influence to grow your grant writing it. That is not just an opinion type thing.
There's many great checklists about career readiness, but you also can take our Free Grasp tool, which will give you a metric, a number, how does our organization Our grant ready, are we?
And so, that weighted questionnaire will give you a number, which you can then return to every year and see how are the actions I'm taking, influencing my response to this questionnaire, and I can start to track my growth. That's actually something else. That could be a great way to build on some metrics and demonstrate your success. So by all means, check it out. It's a free tool. Can't put it in your charity, how to Library, because it's a website. But I encourage you to check it out and think about it as another way to assess your 21 your starting point. What are we doing right now? And therefore, we can think about it as a way to grow in 22.
So we gather all our data related to 21 then. Oh, hold on. Let's grab that prop.
No, right. I am a child of the eighties. And so I had this toy as a child. Didn't think to keep it. I didn't know how relevant it would be to my professional work.
So I had to buy another one.
Love the magic eight ball.
And there's a grant professional.
Why does it matter to us?
Because we don't predict everything that's going to happen as much as we might joke about having a crystal ball or using the magic eight ball. The reason we make those jokes is because there's so much that could happen that's unexpected.
Yeah, that's right. Like a little pandemic of the federal funding that followed the way that foundations quickly actually reacted to the situation and moved with lightning speed in some situations.
None of that was predictable so when we look at the landscape, we won't know everything that's going to happen.
We can think about what we've learned. We can think about the changes.
Let's do it, Let's reflect on 20 20 for a minute. You know, we're focusing on 2022, but as we're thinking about what's happened, we saw unprecedented changes. We saw rapid reactions in grantmakers for ... for the way that they're approaching DEI work.
We saw great, systematic changes, how will they stay, how will it make a long term impact on all the answers.
But we know that if we go too far back and looking at our trends now, it's old data. It's not as relevant because a lot has changed, it's been shaken up. And so, we've got now little microbes and that we're watching as well, to think about what is going to change.
There is one number that I'll throw out to you, though, actually, I wonder if you know the number.
Does anyone know the current number of federal dollars that are obligated for assistance?
Hmm, hmm hmm, how many zeros? What's the number? I looked at this just the other day. earlier this week, does anyone have an idea, or are we talking millions?
Are we talking billions?
How about trillions 1.2, $3000 billion federally currently obligated in assistance?
Oh, my goodness, could have never predicted that.
So anyway, as we think about assessing the landscape, there's a lot of numbers saying that, listen, things are still going to be intense in the grant world. There are a lot of dollars that have been obligated. There are a lot of different ways that grant makers are thinking about supporting communities, and so we do need to pay attention to what's worked for us before.
And think about how we'll use that knowledge those learnings, those gains, looking ahead.
Now, when we assess a landscape like that, I mean, you're right. You might need one of these too.
There's maybe just even the Keychain Size. It's fun to have it. It does help when someone says, OK, so are we likely to get that grant? Well, in my professional opinion, I think we should get it, but hold on. Let me consult a dear friend.
Right? Like, oh, it says decidedly. So that's my favorite answer.
We have to still, despite the unknown, despite the potential change in our landscape, we've got to set our goals. We have to decide, what are the goals that we're going to focus on? How many dollars are we going to allow into the operating budget? And what are we going to focus on? For new grantmakers, we build relationships. What are we going to focus on for expanding from foundation into state, or from state, actually returning back towards more foundations. Each of you are going to have really unique goals, because your organization is unique.
That's fantastic. No worries about that.
But think about what is your past capacity and performance in the organization as a team.
How many grants did you get out the door? What types of grants, how large? How many pages of narrative?
Think about the capacity and performance that you have achieved, 21, and gut check your plans for 22 unless you're hiring more people.
How are you going to double that? I don't think that's possible in a sustainable way. Nope, I think that's a path to burnout. So, make sure that you are being verbal and communicating with the rest of your colleagues, with your leadership, that you are not only talking about a percent of revenue growth, that's not it.
You've got to think about what is happening behind the scenes under the hood. What does the grant calendar really look like?
How does it stack up in terms of capacity and performance from this year from the past year, so that you have a sustainable strategy?
Once you've set those goals, you're right.
Populate your dashboard, Get the basics, put down in the Google Sheet, in the Excel sheet, somewhere visible on a whiteboard, so that you have a way to communicate to share your progress for success. As you move forward in achieving your goals for the year, You may have a grant management tool and that might help do a lot of the work for you.
Again, no judgement, no formal endorsement here and what you have to have, what it needs to look like.
Just want you to have something, some way to make your work visible beyond, OK, everybody. Here's the award letter in our e-mail.
Or, hey, here's what we see for grant revenue.
In our monthly financials, those are two important things that people see about grants for nonprofits organizations.
But a dashboard that's showing your overall progress, how much are you submitting, how many allies to have out the door? How are you doing on renewals? Redoing an increase of dollars? All those metrics we talked about earlier. Those are the sort of things that you want your colleagues to see as well.
I could talk about metrics, grant calendars, and well, grant teams and how we measure success and use them to bolster our capacity as the lead writer. I honestly, If you let me, I'd go all day, but we don't have all day you have other grant things you have to get back for. So, what I'm wondering is, what you might try, what metric might you add, what might you start focusing on? Are you going to create a dashboard? What do you think you might try to get ready for 22?
If you're so willing, I'd love to hear in the questions box, go ahead and let me know because I want to help cheer you on.
If there was such a thing as a grant cheerleader, I think that would be me.
I love to talk about grants, I love everything about grants. I started as a grantmaker. I've been a grant seeker now for a really long time.
I love all things grant, but I don't like to see my colleagues stressed out about grants, and guess what, you're one of my colleagues. I don't wanna see you stressed out about grants. So, as you're thinking about your success for 22, as you're sharing in the questions box, what you might try, these. Now, I'm here to answer questions, You can reach out, wherever you're comfortable on, social media, or via e-mail, whatever works. Please reach out so that I can help answer questions, point you towards resources, connect to with your GPA chapters. However, I can help. I'd love to do that.
I see some great things in the Questions box that are coming in. I think we've actually done a pretty good job. I think we've been integrating questions as we've been going along. But if there were any questions that I didn't get to, by all means, like I said, put them up there on social media. Reach out, happy to answer. And, hey, it's the holiday season. So thank you for being with us. As we were talking about, setting our plans and our metrics for the year ahead.
I'd love to have you use a discount code that you could join us for Premium Webinars. And the balance of this year or next, if you're trying to build your grant seeking capacity.
Or maybe you're trying to build your grant team's propensity and you want to put them in a seat to learn a little more about grants. Be happy to have you use this discount code so that you can get a little break on the price for some of our upcoming premium webinars. They're smaller. They've got all sorts of bonus materials, that you get out of your charityHowTo library. And I'd love to have you participate, You've been a fantastic group today with all your interactions in the questions box.
And as I'm getting ready to close down the session, there's a brief survey that pops up, would love it if you could take a moment to provide some candid feedback.
If you go to charity, how to, that's where you can find all those grant writing training I just talked about.
one question that I saw just pop up from Kristina, hello, again, Kristina.
From the GPA chapter in Western New York, podcasts, books, long lists. I know. Actually, there's a blog. Some of our team has written a few times about. They must have books on their bookshelf. So if you go to DH Leonard consulting dot com and Search and the blog for Books, Bethany Plant, in particular, has written some great stuff with some links to their favorite books. So by all means, happy to have you check that out or reach out and I'll share some more links.
Awesome, OK, thank you everyone for joining. I don't know about you, I'm excited about 22 and all the great things that you're going to do. So if you need somebody to ring that bell three with all your new success, you know where to find me. Thanks again for joining us. Have a great day.
Thank you, Diane, and thanks to everyone for attending today's webinar. As Diane mentioned, once you lookout, you will receive a survey on the presentation. We would really appreciate it if you could complete it provide your thoughts on today's webinar and have a wonderful rest of your day.