Skip to main content

How to Build a Winning Grants Team Part 3: Post & Off Season

Are you ready to ‘Go the distance’? After wrapping up Spring Training and having a successful Regular Season you’re more than ready to enter Post Season and eventually transition into the Off Season. 

First, you need to win the playoffs. So how does a grant professional define winning at this point in the process? Winning the playoffs can mean that you’ve successfully garnered buy-in from all the stakeholders involved as well as commitment from team members to implement the proposed project activities. 

The next step? World Series! Winning here can be represented by submitting a well-crafted grant proposal on time – preferably even early – with minimal stress or last-minute changes to the line-up or game plan.

Note that in all this winning, I haven’t once mentioned that the proposal was selected for funding! Baseball BallThis may seem a bit odd, since we (or other team members or upper management) often assume that winning equates to getting a grant. However, as grant professionals, we need to have a deeper understanding and longer view of the overall process and recognize that building a winning team is about the journey and less about the destination. As coaches and managers, we will need to remind others on the team about this strategic approach.

That leads me to the next phase of the Post Season, celebrating the team for an awesome season and proposal development process. No matter the outcome, be sure to take time to acknowledge each player’s efforts and contributions so they feel valued and ready to jump in for another game.

You may feel as though you’re entering the Off Season, but in the grant world, you still need to be actively engaged with your team. As you face the waiting game until receiving notification from the funder, you need to take on the role of coach and scout, keeping management informed of any updates, communicating back to the project team about any site visits or requests for additional information, and responding to the funder as necessary to keep the lines of communication open.

When all your efforts do pay off with a successful funding notification, you’ll be able to share the success with your team! Your final task is to clarify your role in overseeing implementation of project activities and reporting of accomplishments to the funder and to upper management. As the coach, it’s in your best interest to highlight both individual and overall achievements of the team so that you’re ready to embrace the next round of Spring Training when another grant opportunity comes your way.

By taking this strategic approach to building a winning grants team, you’ll be able to create your very own “Field of Dreams” and perhaps even be recognized for your skill and leadership with induction into the [Grant Professional] Hall of Fame! Well, perhaps such an institution doesn’t exist, but it should… and certainly among your peers you’ll be appreciated and acknowledged as a successful grant professional.


Have you read part 1 and part 2 from Jodi? 

“Field of Dreams” or How to Build a Winning Grants Team How to Build a Winning Grants Team Part 2: Regular Season

This blog is an original work of the attributed author and is shared with permission via Foundant Technologies' website for informative purposes only as part of our educational content in the philanthropic sector. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this text belong solely to the author and do not necessarily reflect Foundant's stance on this topic. If you have questions or comments, please reach out to our team.

About the Author

A devoted Red Sox fan, Jodi is the Director of Strategic Support for Colleges & Scholars at the Foundation for California Community Colleges. Jodi has worked with health and education non-profits since 1997, including as Deputy Director of Development & Training at the California Primary Care Association (CPCA); Director of Grants, Data, & Research at Planned Parenthood Mar Monte; as a teacher and trainer for Kaplan Test Prep; and as a Foreign Language Technologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. During her 17+ years as a grant professional, she raised nearly $40 million from public and private entities, including awards for core operating support, special projects and programs, and event sponsorship. Jodi holds a PhD in French Literature from the UW-Madison, an MA in French from Middlebury College, and a BA in French & Theatre from Wesleyan University.

Profile Photo of Jodi Samuels