Advancing Nonprofit Capacity

The One Leadership Trait That Will Help Your Organization Get Grant Funding

Today’s blog is by JWS Associate Micki Vandeloo, GPC.

Think about the grant writing process for a minute.  Once your organization identifies an opportunity to get grant funding, what happens?  In all likelihood, someone (the development director or grant writer) reviews it to make sure it with a current or future program.  If this is the case, the next step is to compile a team to work on completing the grant application.

Who does this team include? Does it include the leader of your organization? If so, hooray for you!

If you don’t include your leader, why is this the case? Is your leader too busy?  o you not want to bother him or her with these “minor details”?  s your leader frequently out of the office in meetings or travelling?  Have you had a bad experience including your leader in this type of endeavor?

When I work with clients, I expect a member of the leadership team to be on the team that is writing the grant application. I do this because there is one extremely important trait good leaders bring to the grant writing process…


A good leader will make sure the team focuses on getting the application done. This can be done in a number of ways:

  • Removing barriers to completing the application (time, information)
  • Providing key information and approvals to facilitate completion of the application
  • Helping the team remember the “why” of the project (“Why are we even doing this??”)
  • Ensuring alignment with other organizational activities and objectives

A good leader takes people or conversations that go astray and brings them back into the fold. Much like the picture above, a good leader will make sure everyone is swimming in unison and focused on getting the application done.

So, the next time you find the perfect grant opportunity and start putting together your awesome team, ask your leader to participate.  If he needs to join you by conference call, or videoconference due to a busy schedule or travel, that is easy to do. If the meetings need to happen early in the day or over lunch to make sure he is available, so be it.  If you have had a bad experience including him in the past, sit down with him prior to the first meeting to make sure he understands his role is to keep everyone focused on getting the application done.  Feel free to use the list above to help you in this conversation!

Leaders provide focus, and focus helps grant teams get the job done! If you are struggling with the grant application process, let the team at JustWrite Solutions help you!

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