Grant Writing = Remodeling: Not A Linear Process
Although there is a sequential process per se, remodeling is not a linear process. Yes we developed our master plan to guide us. However, before and during the master plan development and remodeling, we were doing lots of research and decision making. What is the best way to make the kitchen/dining area larger? What are the best materials that fit the budget? What is trending? What permits and/or licenses are required? How are we going to fund the project? What have others done? What is the best method to install plumbing, wiring, windows, etc. We had stacks of magazines with dog-eared pages, and folders of pages torn from magazines. We also conducted research on the Internet. During the remodeling, there were a few change orders as some things that we thought would work, would not. Sometimes there were a few surprises along the way as we started tearing down sheet rock, moving walls, installing wiring, and more. But, we always kept our mission, vision and goals in the forefront whenever we made the change orders.
Grant writing is not a linear process either. Generally, grants are assembled in the same order: Summary, Introduction, Problem Statement/Needs Assessment, Goals and Objectives, Methods, Work Plan, Timeline, Evaluation, Budget. However, that does not mean that is the order in which you construct the grant. As in remodeling, start with a master plan – your strategic plan. Within that strategic plan is the project/program on which you focusing for the grant application. As you are developing the program you are doing research – Are there model programs? What are the statistics? What does current research say? What are the funding options? What staffing is needed? As the project/program plan develops, there will be many options and possibilities from which to choose. You will have a folder (or two or more) “stacked” with information. The components of the program may change from your original thoughts or ideas of how to address goals as you answer the questions and do research. Just remember, your mission vision and goals should always be in the forefront when making decisions specific to the program.