Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
This old proverb recommends an investment in training, rather than a single spoonfed solution, but are there other ways to help a hungry man? How about providing him with an upgraded fishing pole or better bait? What about providing directions to a spot on the lake where the fish are biting?
Help comes in a variety of forms, and while it is easy to jump to what seems the quickest and easiest, there may be better long-term solutions.
There are many ways a grantmaker can support and sustain their grantees impact. The most obvious is to provide funding. However, rather than throwing your grantees a “fish,” what if you taught them techniques for catching their own? Here are a few ideas and resources to strengthen your grantseeker’s resilience and long-term success:
1. Make sure your instructions are clear and concise. This allows grantseekers to quickly tell if they are eligible and a good fit with your funding initiatives.
- Example: The Minneapolis Jewish Federation does a good job giving simple, but clear guidelines for grant funding expectations across their different funds.
- Example: The Gifford Foundation provides grantseekers with detailed instructions on getting started in their online grants management system, managing their account, and helpful tips to help them through.
- Idea: Include a survey question at the end of your application to ask for input to improve your application and grant process. Consider linking to www.grantadvisor.org to encourage even anonymous feedback on your application process.
2. Tune your grant application process so it is as brief as possible, right-size your grant process and follow-up requirements, and consider integrating GuideStar for Grant Applications (G4G) into your application process.
3. Provide grantseekers with educational opportunities to improve their grant writing skills, such as links to free educational webinars and other resources for grantseekers that teach grant fundraising skills.
4. Arm your grantees with grant management resources they can use to increase their effectiveness at getting grants from other funding sources.
- If your funding priorities allow, encourage your applicants to identify any needs they have as part of their grant requests. Help them build resilience by strengthening their ability to raise funds from multiple sources.
- Award grantees a grant management software, like GrantHub, that helps them find new funders, track their deadlines, report due dates, and streamline their proposal creation. To help with this course of action, we’ve created a handy resource you can share with your grantees to help them when applying for solution funding. Or, you might find it helpful in building your application for online management software funding. Gearing up for capacity is a resilient strategy that benefits the entire philanthropic community.
Imagine a future where you hang up your “Gone Fishing” sign as you help your grantees feed their growth, capacity, and achieve your missions together!
Working with grantmakers to help manage their grant applications and processes, as well as grantseekers to help them find and manage their funders, deadlines, grant tasks, and applications allows us to be centrally involved in the granting process. This integral role allows us to share best practices between audiences, which can ultimately improve the funding process.
To learn more, visit www.foundant.com.
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