If you’re going to go after a significant amount of grant money, you’ll likely need the resources and support of your local community.
Grant money is expected to benefit many people, so your project will probably require a fairly large operation, with office space, workers, utility bills, and a multitude of other resources and costs.
Grants are generally not provided if you cannot show that the program will continue to function and flourish after the grant money has been exhausted. In the long run, the government agency providing the grant likes to see plans for your project to ultimately reach a state of self-sufficiency.
This usually means volunteers, fundraising efforts and support from the local government.
Follow these steps to get the community involved so you can get that grant:
1. Consider who will benefit from your grant. Make a list of everyone that will be likely to benefit from your program. These are the same organizations and people that will want to help you. Will your proposal help local businesses? Minorities? The economically challenged? College students?
2. Who can provide help? Consider which people have influence and power over the population that will benefit from your proposal. Is there a non-profit that services the same population? Are there local government programs that would be interested in helping?
* Consider all the people that would be interested in helping that are also in a good position to help.
3. Contact the people from your list. You don’t need to have a ton of details about your proposal at this point, but the more the better. Call, mail, email, and do whatever you have to do to be heard. Let them know how you’re going to help the population of people that is near and dear to them. You don’t need a commitment at this point, just some encouragement.
* Ask them for referrals and suggestions. Your first contact with an organization might not be the right person, but they might know exactly to whom you should speak.
* Contact local governmental agencies as well. Having the government on your side is a huge advantage. Don’t be afraid to go to the top.
4. Garner the support of community members. Ask the average member of your target population if they think the program would be beneficial. One of the advantages of this is that you can go to your local politicians and say, “Hey, 73% of the people I spoke to think that this is a great idea. Would you like to support it?”
5. Fill in the details. Assuming you got some enthusiastic encouragement, you’re can go ahead and really dig into the details. Develop your budget and the list of resource that you’re going to need.
6. Present the final version. Get your final proposal into everyone’s hands. Expect that some changes will be suggested and plan for some give and take. Keep going until everyone, including you, is willing to agree to it.
7. Gather your letters of support. Most applications for large grants require letters of support for your grant proposal. Obtain as many letters as you can.
Getting support for your grant proposal is critical. The grant-providing agency will doubt your ability to succeed without the support of your community. If you follow the general method in this article, you’ll be on the right track. Find influential people in your target community and pitch your heart out. That grant is as good as yours.