As the DC area (where Altum is headquartered) prepares for what could be one of the worst snowstorms in the region's history, here are four ways that grants are like blizzards:
- They benefit greatly from preparation. Everyone in the mid-Atlantic and beyond has spent the past several days buying groceries, snow shovels, ensuring that flashlights have batteries, and, if they're like me, ensuring that there's enough ground coffee in the house to be able to use a French press for the requisite caffeine fix if the power goes out. While preparing to write grant proposals and manage the grant once it's awarded involves different components, preparation is equally important. Proposals require thought, time, and attention, and it helps to have all of the components lined up well before the deadline to be able to write a compelling proposal. And what happens if your organization gets the grant? Are you prepared to execute the programs you proposed? Do you have the right resources lined up/available to run the project? Preparation is key.
- Timelines are beyond your control and can't be changed. While there's more predictability to grant deadlines than to when blizzards will hit, the timelines are beyond your control. Grant applications will have deadlines set by the funders, as will any post-grant reports. And those deadlines can't be changed, even if they don't fit well with your schedule. Just like an impending storm. It's undoubtedly inconvenient for many people that this blizzard will hit starting this afternoon. They had other things planned. They don't want to rearrange their schedules to accommodate this one big thing. But rearrange their schedules they must. And with grant deadlines, grantwriters and others involved in the process must accommodate the funder's schedule, not the other way around.
- They can cost more than you anticipate. Bad winter storms can cause some damage, and cleanup can be costly. While grants help the organizations to which they are awarded, sometimes they cost more than the organization anticipates. That's why it's important to evaluate the net grant - how much a grant is really worth - before applying for a new grant opportunity.
- They involve piles of white stuff. Forecasters are predicting at least 2 feet of snow in the greater DC area. But even two feet of snow doesn't stack up to the piles of paper that can be involved in the grantwriting process. And that's where grants software, like PhilanTrack, comes into play.
And stay safe!
Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/foox404/8367145381