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GRANTEGY: Don’t Leave Your Grants to Chance Series

PART I: The Feasibility Study

We’ve all experienced the triumphs and struggles that come with seeking grants. That’s why we’ve created a platform that’s more than just lessons; it’s a journey to transform your grant strategy and unlock new possibilities. Grantegy: Don’t Leave Your Grants To Chance is a transformative journey designed to help you reach your grant program’s full potential. With Grantegy’s unique blend of courses, coaching, and a supportive community, you’ll confidently learn how to create a step-by-step roadmap to strategically navigate the grant funding landscape. 

Each aspect of our process is critical to becoming grant optimized. This platform was created with you in mind to allow you to utilize this strategy as a “Do-It-Yourself” solution to strengthen your organization’s grant funding capabilities. Several milestones are developed, worked on, and completed throughout the course. We are sharing our proprietary assessment tool that is designed to help you take a deep look at your organization to determine your grant readiness and ability to take on the arduous process of applying for grant funding. The Feasibility study analyzes the potential for your organization to successfully secure grant funding. 

Conducting the Feasibility Study

We know from decades of experience that research is fundamental to all aspects of the grant development process.  So, you start the process of the feasibility study by researching your organization and its programs in depth. For example, do you have all of the basic documents that funders often require? Some of these documents include:

  • 501(c) 3 letter (if you fall under another organization’s status, you’ll also need a letter from that organization authorizing you to use their letter) 
  • Copy of State Articles of Incorporation document  
  • Audited or unaudited financial statements for the last calendar year (P&L and Balance sheet)    
  • Most recent IRS Form 990 or 990 EZ (if available)   
  • Annual operating budget (current) 
  • Program/Project budgets
  • Year-end financial statement from the most recently completed fiscal year- P&L, and Balance sheet   
  • Proof of DEI training for the Board, staff and volunteers
  • Program Evaluation Documents  

Documentation

Documents help grantmakers decide if your organization will be a good partner or if there is too much risk to provide grant funding. Remember that grants are very competitive so you want to make sure you have all of your documentation. The financial information is crucial to your grant application. Without a solid program, organization budget, and strong financial statements or audited financials, grantmakers will not take the organization seriously. The audited financial statements are critical to help communicate to a grantmaker that a third party has evaluated and validated your financial information. When considering how the budget affects the overall program, consider the following:

  1. Make sure the budget is aligned with your narrative in the application. 
  2. Ensure the overall grant budget is aligned with the organization’s strategic objectives. 
  3. Make sure your 990’s are filed on time and you have a copy available to share with funders. 

Framework

The next step in the Feasibility study is to evaluate the internal and external workings of your organization. The framework uses what we call the foundational elements of: Who, what, where, why, when, and how. And then sometimes we add “who cares” because you want to really understand why your organization is doing what they do. So as you’re looking at this framework for the feasibility study, you are also documenting the following:  

Who: leadership, the board of directors, the executive staff, the people being served or clients in the community, community partners, funders and other stakeholders. 

What: What do you do? What programs and activities do you conduct to help people meet their needs? What is your impact? Can you qualify it, can you quantify it? Can you share the success of the organization or the programming?

Where: The geographic location is super important to target potential grantmakers in the right areas.  

Why: Why is what your organization does important? 

When: When does your program take place? Is it seasonal? Is it year-round? Do you have multiple cohorts throughout the year? 

How: Look at the mission goals, objectives, activities, and outputs. 

Who cares: What difference does your organization make in the community? If your organization did not exist, would it matter?

Assessment

Now you are asking – what will be done with ALL of this information? We’ll tell you! With all of the required documentation and follow-up research, it’s now time to work on the assessment. You will assess all of the data obtained using a scoring rubric to help you know how well you are positioned to start grantseeking.

There are 9 sections in our proprietary scoring rubric that will be evaluated: BOD Engagement, Executive Leadership & Staff, Documentation, Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Partnerships, Objectives, Programming, Evaluation Methods, and Effectiveness. Each section will receive a score between 1 and 4 for a total of up to 36 points. 1 means there is insufficient evidence, 2 means it needs improvement, 3 means adequate, and 4 is exemplary. Once each category is complete, you add them together to get the total score. If you have a score of 30 to 36, you are looking really good to move forward in the grant development process. This doesn’t mean you are not going to have areas that need improvement. At the other end of the spectrum, if your organization scores less than 19, you’re just not ready to start the grant application process. Don’t worry about that! The next course in our series will discuss grant optimization strategies to help increase your score and potential for receiving grant funds.  

Grant Consulting Services, LLC has 24-plus years of experience and millions of dollars acquired in grant funding supporting organizations, schools and communities. Our vision is to fight against systemic giants of injustice while we give a voice to the unheard. Our written words allow us to make a difference in the lives of many through the Grantegy process. It’s important to humanize your organization in your grant application. This is where your unique brand voice and goals can really shine. Each funder will have its own values that they are trying to promote, so it’s important to clarify how you will exemplify those values and carry on their mission. We have an exceptional understanding of what grantmakers are looking for, and we’re here to help you get the funding you need to best serve your community!

Click here to get started and stay tuned for the next part in our series!