Hello, and welcome to the second installment of the Grantology Blog!
The first installment offers a quick overview of the desire to assist in learning and celebrating the world of grants together. If you missed it, please check it out, as the first installment refers to the required teamwork that goes into successful grant writing and management. Grants are a team sport, and we have a great team here at VWCC!
Spring was a whirlwind and just after emerging from the Spring Grant Season cocoon, it is time for the Fall Grant Season. Grant Season? Is that a thing? Trust me my friends, it is true and can be reminiscent of the focus of the one Elmer J. Fudd. Remember that guy? The one that is so intent on hunting that he can’t recall if it’s duck season or wabbit season?
Spring is a time of great activity in the grant’s world (followed by Fall) and can be especially busy with many application deadlines occurring in the January to May timeframe. “Grant Season” can be particularly busy, fielding and assessing grant prospects for a fit to our mission and moving forward with project plans and applications to secure resources. Now that I am about to reenter this hectic time, I am reflecting back and asking …how do we continue to maximize these opportunities and NOT emulate what I am enjoying calling “The Fudd Strategy”. The answer is planning.
A key focus on planning occurs during the “Pre-Award” phase of a grant lifecycle. According to Asana, (a software platform designed for team collaboration and work management), planning and collecting internal information is important as “the objective is to collect information and disseminate it to grantmakers.”
Important questions to ask during the planning process include:
• Is there a clear funding objective?
• Who will be involved and why?
• What are the intended outcomes?
• How will outcomes be measured?
• Are revenue needs and projections known?
This initial planning work should inform the next steps of the Pre-award phase, in which an overall plan helps to:
• identify grant opportunities that are appropriate and a good fit for your project
• complete and submit a grant application.
This makes sense, right? Often, however, organizations fall into a jumble of these steps, in more of a reactionary mode, where a grant opportunity becomes available, then a plan is created in order to apply. (Duck Season/Wabbit Season) While some planning to meet the requirements of a grant will always need to occur, overall planning, partnerships and strategic efforts should be thought through well in advance. These steps ensure a general focus and understanding of purpose. The goal is clear, you just need additional resources to achieve your objectives.
I can get caught in this cycle by virtue of the timeliness of discovered opportunities, or the number of other projects on the front burner. Yet, I am trying to resist this mode, as it often might not produce our best work, and leads to implementation difficulties down the grant road. So, it’s perfect timing that I am reading a book recommended by a former colleague by Dan Heath, “Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen”. More on upstream thinking and how we can apply it to the planning and the pre-award phase of grants to come in a future post.
Cheers to the coming grant season and all the opportunities we can seek together!
Administrative Officer for Grants Administration
Fishburn Hall, F204
Early Alert: If you wish to submit an Innovation Grant LOI for 23/24, the deadline will be 11/1/23. Bright Ideas Innovation Grants – Educational Foundation – Virginia Western Community College