Six questions to ask before applying for a grant


Is the amount of effort required to complete the application, reporting, and program delivery something you want to invest in, given your current staffing levels and other resources and priorities?

If you have a small grants office, looking at these areas is of critical importance.  Federal grants, for example, typically take quite a bit of time to apply for and to manage. Although winning a grant is exciting, not being able to manage a grant-funded project can be a horrible experience. Also, do not be swayed solely by the dollar amount being awarded. Sometimes even small grants have extraordinary program delivery and reporting requirements that are out of proportion with the amount of money they bestow.

Who at the funding organization is available to answer your questions? If no one is available, is it worth applying?

It is can be very hard to apply for a grant when you have questions and there is either no one available to answer them or no system in place to ask questions and receive responses. If you do apply for a grant with several questions looming, keep in mind that your chances of being funded might be compromised, because you will be applying based on your best guesses. However, you might be able to get some of your questions answered if you contact former and/or current grantees.

I think a similar question that goes hand in hand with this one is, “Is it worth reapplying if you do not receive reviewers’ comments?” Again, if you do not receive any feedback regarding your proposal, you have no idea why you were not chosen for funding, and you’ll be unsure how to make your proposal stronger when reapplying. For me, this is a particularly frustrating aspect of being a grant writer.

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