Internal Roadmap of Grant Program Policies and Procedures to Help Organizations Become Grant Ready – By Kari Cronbaugh-Auld, MSW, GPC

There are lots of activities that can help a nonprofit organization become grant ready, and one of them is their internal roadmap of tasks that define their grants program.

The purpose of these practices is to help ensure staff have a documented process that covers the A to Zs of a comprehensive grant program. There are two phases of activities: pre-award and post-award. Below is a list of specific activities organizations should be doing during these phases. Some organizations may add more, but the following list is a basic start.

Pre-Award Phase:

  1. Prospect research
  2. Funder Relationships
  3. Grant Planning, Calendar Development, & Tracking
  4. Grant Writing

Post-Award Phase:

  1. Grants Received
  2. Grant Implementation
  3. Grant Reporting
  4. Grant Strategy
  5. Funder Relationships

For each of the phases, representatives from at least development, finance, and programs should be involved. Its important to note that the activities under each phase might need to be rearranged sometimes to fit the needs of a particular organization. The grant professional should walk the staff through the who, what, when, where, and how for each activity that needs to be completed. This can be done sitting around a table and taking notes or using a flip chart to help staff visualize their current practices and brainstorm new ones. You will notice funder relationships occur in both phases, because it is that important.

The most helpful thing a grant professional can do is ask lots of questions. To understand processes already in place or help create new ones, those questions might look like this:

  • Who – “Who performs the prospect research?” (Hint: Use titles instead of names so when staff changes occur, the document isn’t obsolete.)
  • What – “What results does the agency expect from the research being performed?” (Hint: This may include the type of information or the format of the results)
  • When – “When should the research be performed and how often?”
  • Where – “Where will the results of the research be stored so others can access it?”
  • How – “How will the research be done and how will it be used so it is efficient and effective?”

After all these questions have been answered about the tasks that make up the activities above, the information can be recorded into a written internal roadmap of policies and procedures for the grants program. The roadmap should include a table of contents and the date the document was created. This allows for ease of use and also creates a record of when the roadmap was created to track the need for future revisions and updates.

GPC Competency #2: Knowledge of organizational development as it pertains to grant seeking.

Skill #1-Identify methods for assisting organizations to implement practices that advance grant readiness.