It seems like every week I say, "This is the most asked question I receive." This week is no exception because I am constantly asked, "How do I know if I'm ready to seek grants?" The answer is rooted in an organization's grant readiness. (Then I'm asked what is grant readiness.)
Grant readiness is an organization’s capacity to find, apply, win, and manage grant applications successfully.
Although most organizations think they’re grant ready, the reality is that many aren’t, especially if they’re a new organization. On the other hand, there are many organizations who think that they aren't grant ready, but they really are. So how are you to know? A quick Google search yields 111 million results, and many of those links are to hundreds of blog posts with XX steps to take.
I know that I don't have the time to read a dozen+ articles, and I don't spend my time saving the world by feeding hungry babies like many of you.
In the countless blog posts I've seen about grant readiness, they all say something along the lines of: "if your organization checks every single box, you're ready!" But grant readiness is not a one size fits all. Some nonprofit organizations because of their budget size or structure, do not have to complete an annual audit. If that applies to you, how are you supposed to know that you ARE grant ready if every single article out there says that you're not?
It's a headache. I know.
When I get those phone calls about grant readiness, many nonprofit leaders have expressed their frustration with information overload, conflicting articles and still not being sure. So after 30 years of working with nonprofits and answering their grant readiness questions, I decided to come up with an easy, online tool for nonprofit leaders to use: The Grant Readiness Assessment.
What I love about Sharpshooter's Grant Readiness Assessment is that it asks all the questions we typically need to know for grant readiness, such as independent audits and current strategies of fundraising. But it also takes into consideration your specific organization and your needs.
As an example, I have a client who has never completed an independent audit but has been awarded grants for nearly 50 years. They are part of a larger, government organization, so that particular "grant readiness check box" doesn't apply. I have another client who is not even a year old yet, but they have been awarded grants already, even though according to those checklists they aren't three+ years old.
Grant seeking is both an art and a science. An organization's readiness can be determined by a common list of check boxes and also by looking at the specific and unique qualities of the organization.
The Grant Readiness Assessment is not a guarantee, much like everything in fundraising. However, it provides a detailed road map and assessment to help you decide if your organization is grant-seeking ready. I also offer a free, 30 minute consultation to go over your compounded grant readiness score.
There's no other resource like this one that is free and available online. What are you waiting for?