I honestly can't say that Solomon lied when he penned this wise saying. He did write all hard work, not some or a little. He was sure to write it in such a way that even King James Version translators were able to see it as: In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury. Work, labour or labor mean rolling up your sleeves, digging in and breaking a sweat. It brings to mind words like intensity, endurance, strength, and ability.
As a consultant to small businesses, nonprofits and churches of varying sizes, I see a lot of people who are in need of funding. Most of these folks are without any clue of how to get from where they are today to where they need to be in the future without bringing on a grant writer or consulting team. The truth is that some of the homework should have been done before seeking out outsiders. Additionally, you need to have some other options than simply going Reaganomics with the old adage of spending money to make money as bring on consultants to find funding.
Solomon was absolutely right. All hard work eventually leads to a profit. The problem is that we see the word profit and overlook the phrase hard work. We need the tenacity and inner strength to do the hard work that leads to a profit. We have to dedicate time and energy to doing the work in order to arrive at a new place in the life of our organization.
What You Need in Place
- Marketable Programs
- Intake Data
- Available Staff and Volunteers
The grant writer or consultant you bring on will need to know what type of programs you run and how they have been running so far. He or she will need to know who your programs have served and currently serve. This is the demographic data that tells about the percentages of your clientele who live below the poverty level or who reside in federal empowerment zones. Such data tells the story of who your programs reach and help. Staff and volunteers will need to be available via email, phone or an occasional interview or group session to share some personal insights that speak beyond the data and help tell the story.
What You Should Do
Do your homework. Find out about grants and other fund-raising options. Let's be fair. You are not in a position for your grant-writing consultant to rewrite your program design. That adds to the costs. Find out all that you can so that you can maximize your options and minimize your consulting costs.
- Research grants that fit your current programs
- Investigate grants that will enhance and expand your organizational capactity
- Identify grant-making organizations that fund similar organizations like you
- See who has supported similar programs in your local community and/ or region
Compile your list with your reasoning and rationale. Call a few of the program officers and discuss what you currently offer. Email program officers a short list of questions about their process if the online information is unclear. Take notes on all of this and sit down with potential consultants and see if they can offer services that will get the grant written so that you can continue the work.
Grant Research Resources (Some That I Like)
- www.rfpdb.com [contract opportunities with colleges, government, and others]