It pays to be ready. It’s too easy for a funder to refuse your grant application if your ducks aren’t in a row.
So what is ‘organizational readiness?’ In short, it’s when an organization has the capacity to get the work done, the credibility that they are the best ones to do the work, and is in good financial standing.
Here are some questions to help your organization assess whether a funder will find you ready:
Have you done your homework? Do your organization’s vision and mission align with the funder’s vision and mission? Are you eligible and a good match with the funder’s guidelines? Do you have charitable status, if that’s required?
Does your organization have credibility? Are you well-positioned in your sector to best provide this project or service? Do you have good leadership and a good reputation? Do you collaborate with the other major players in your sector?
Does your organization have the capacity for the project? Do you have the right people—and enough people—in place to get the job done?
Does your organization have diversified revenue? One rule of thumb says an organization shouldn’t rely on grants for more than 20-25% of its funding.
Does your organization have a relationship with the funder? Could you start investing in that relationship in order to lay a foundation for a later grant cycle?
Once you receive the grant, do you have the capacity to foster your relationship with the funder over the course of the grant? Do you have a system in place to report on the grant as required?
Do you have a strong, involved board of directors?
Have you taken the time to evaluate your organization’s programs and your long-term goals? Are you effective, efficient, and agile?
There will, of course, be a different assessment of the need and impact of your campaign or project. But even the perfect project will have a hard time getting funding if your organization is ill-prepared.