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No Grants Out There For You? What To Do During Grant Writing Downtime

Dec 14

Written by: Grants Office, LLC
Friday, December 14, 2012  RssIcon

By Ali Palmieri

Are you having a difficult time trying to find active grants for which you can apply? Depending on the time of the year, there may not be any current deadlines for grants programs in which you are interested.  Don't let this discourage you. By taking a proactive approach, it can mean you have plenty of time to prepare for deadlines that may be coming down the road.

Research and program development are critical when you have downtime in between grant applications.  Take this time to delve into your project and find the key points that you think may be the most fundable. Hash them out and come up with project details and action items. These are the types of things that stand out to reviewers. Good project development and definition will give you a solid base when reading grant applications from different programs. 

Another step you can take is to look into state, federal and foundation sources. You can gather contact information and find out where you have the best chance of finding grants. If there are local foundations that accept applications at certain times, you may want to look at who they have funded in the past. A program's funding history may help inform your proposal or it may cause you to set that particular foundation aside and continue your search for a better fit. History of funding information is invaluable for your future proposals.  Also try to take this time to gather match funds. Not all programs require a match but if they do, it is usually a crucial piece of eligibility. You don't want to rule out programs because you don't have the matching funds.

While you are looking into history of funding, take the time to comb through old RFPs if they are available. Some programs may not change much from year to year and if they do, the main concept and focus of the program will be similar to the previous year's. When the new RFP is released, you will already have a grasp on the priorities and focus of the program. This preparation can be crucial to your success when you only have a month or less to prepare and submit a grant proposal after the guidance is published.

Try to take a broad perspective on the project and see where you might be able to partner with other local organizations. Developing key partnerships may open up a whole new world of grants for which you can apply. If you are not directly eligible to apply to a program, you may be able to find a lead applicant and partner with them to apply for grants you never looked into before. For example, a school may partner with a local law enforcement agency for a safety program. Take this time to reach out to organizations whose participation could benefit certain projects. It may take time to build these relationships, but since you have no impending deadlines the timing is perfect.

So if you are at a loss for current grant programs, take a step back, look at the bigger picture surrounding your project and do research. There are many little steps you can take to get an application started so that, when an RFP is released, you are much closer to submission than waiting until the last minute.  There may not always be open grant solicitations out there for your organization, but that doesn't mean you can't be prepared when they are released!

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