Monday, December 1, 2014

Happy New (giving) Year!

If you waited too long to maximize the holiday giving season, your appeal just isn't  generating enough funding, or grants are a significant part of your revenue planning, it's time to start your planning for next year.

If you're reading this you might be saying "Aaagh!!  I'm not up for another big campaign right now!"

You and your staff may still be in the middle of all the seasonal charity events, Twitter and Facebook campaigns, and endless envelope stuffing. Sleep might be the only thing on your wish list.

That's known as the post-Christmas burn-out effect. Since the holiday season is often the highest point in most organization's revenue cycle, it's natural to go all out at the end of the year.

That doesn't really matter to grantors. Grants  are awarded at set intervals, and they can take a very long time to produce funds.

A webpage on the site of the  W.M. Keck Foundation perfectly illustrates why you need to be transitioning into next year's grant planning NOW.

Notice that next December's awards are in the planning stages right now. Applications to be awarded June 2016 open up in July 2015. In other words, the grantor is planning a full year ahead. That means you should be too.

To compete effectively for grants you need to have a forward-looking plan, meaning that you should be defining your needs well in advance of needing the funds.

You can't wait until two weeks before an application is due to start planning for it. A perfect example of that can be found on a National Institutes of Health (NIH) webpage: 

If you clicked on the link, you might notice that the suggested lead time to preparing to submit the application for funding is two months, and the award review could take "…days, weeks, or months."

That assumes that you have all your data ducks in a row. Your budget is complete, your procedures are in order, and your actual or projected results are verified, or will be by the time you actually begin the application.

Only then should you start researching possible donor matches.

If you don't have good data at your fingertips, now would definitely be the time to compile and organize it.

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