Initially, focusing on S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely) goals and objectives has been established and some strategy sessions have taken place, now it’s time to determine what resources are needed so that a project can move forward.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how incredible project goals and strategies are if the organization does not have a viable plan to secure needed resources in time to complete the project within the grant cycle.
Take a close look at each goal, objective, and strategy and ask the following 5 questions:
- WHO do I need engaged/committed to this project to ensure its success? Administrators, program staff/volunteers, target audience/program participants, community partners, experts in the field of work, who add value or create access to program venue, content, or goals.
- WHAT do I need in order to implement this project? A detailed budget that accounts for the TRUE program cost, program curriculum (evidence based), program supplies/materials, administrative materials/funds, marketing (design/print), transportation, community buy-in/support (city, county, civic groups/partners), data tracking systems/software, venue, etc.
- WHERE do I need to gain access if I want this program to succeed? Facility for programs or off-site opportunities, media outlets to help promote awareness, community forums that increase visibility and partnerships/support.
- WHY did I opt for one resource over another? Is this resource more credible, cost-effective, accessible, efficient, applicable, to program goals?
- WHEN do I need these resources?
When do I need to connect with partners to determine their interest and commitment? When do I need to have confirmation of resources in hand?
Timing really is everything.
One of the most common “major mistakes” we see in the grant writing world involves assumptions. Many organizations create a plan that assumes long-term community partners will continue to contribute time, resources, and expertise as they have in the past. It is critical to engage each key player in the project design process and confirm their commitment and availability prior to including those details in the strategy/activity portion of the design.
Don’t assume you can plug them in and inform them of their role at a later date. You never know when a partner’s capacity, availability, or priorities have changed.
Memorandum of Understandings (MOU’s) are a great way to make sure your key partnerships are relevant and timely. The project design/grant writing process is simplified when an organization already has a current outline of ways they are willing and able to share resources. Be sure to check out sample MOU’s under the free stuff tab on Funding for Good’s website!
If you want to learn more about how to share your sandbox and create effective partnerships, join us for our free webinar on 12/6.