Advancing Nonprofit Capacity

Check. Double check.

Thanks to JWS Consultant Lora Ollom for today’s blog.

I recently learned from a client that a proposal letter I thought they mailed was never submitted. It turns out the client thought I was handling the mailing, which typically is something I do not do. The client was not new, but the person I was working with was new in their position at the nonprofit. When I sent the final edits of the proposal, I assumed the client would then put it in the mail to the funder, as they had always done in the past. It did not occur to either one of us to check that the other person had actually mailed the proposal.

Although I am in the habit of following-up with clients when they are responsible for the final submission, I did not follow-up this time. My work with this client had become routine and I did not check to see if they actually mailed the proposal. Taking the time to double check that all steps of a grant submission are complete avoids potential mistakes that could lead to lost grants. Be clear on who is responsible for each task from start to final submission. Of course this isn’t a new idea, but it is something you might skip when working in a situation you are familiar with like with an old client or a funder you’ve applied to often.

We have all seen grant guidelines that give specific directions for proposals like font size, number of copies, and required attachments for submission. These are easy to track, but be sure all team members or clients are aware of these guidelines, too. A last minute addition to a proposal letter by someone unaware of the guidelines could send it over the page limit making it ineligible.

Double-checking that each task is complete helps identify mistakes or overlooked items that can jeopardize a grant. From reviewing a funder’s grant guidelines to ensuring all parties involved with grant preparation are on the same page, double-checking your work will help to ensure a grant is the best it can be.

What steps do you take to make sure all the elements of grant preparation are completed?

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