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Planning for success in the post-grant period: some thoughts for applicants.

You want to apply for funding for a project! We are delighted for you – and hope you are successful.  We’ve worked with funders for many years, and have some ideas on what helps a successful grantee manage the post-grant period.

Before you even submit your grant application, make sure you thoroughly research the funder’s mission and priorities. Does your project align closely with their goals and values? Can you tweak it to deliver more closely against their stated objectives? This not only increases your chances of getting the grant but also sets the foundation for successful post-grant management.

Plan ahead, and develop a preliminary plan for how you will manage the grant if it’s awarded. Consider budgetary needs, staffing requirements, and a general timeline for project implementation. Having this plan in place will help you hit the ground running if you’re selected. Within this, when you set out your plan in your application. be realistic about what you can measure. How will you capture the data you require for the mandatory reports – and what systems do you need to implement? Do you have the tools you require, and if not, how will you get them in place if you are successful in your application?

Along the same lines, do you have the capacity to manage the grant properly? There may be some areas where additional training or resources are required to meet the grant-giver’s expectations.  Plan for how you will increase capacity if you are successful.

One way to do this is by building relationships with key stakeholders before you even submit your application. This could include community members, partners, and beneficiaries. If you are able, gather their input and support before finalising your proposal. Their involvement can make a big difference in your project’s success.

Aspects of your application

  • Risk assessment: Identify potential risks and challenges your project may face if awarded the grant. Develop a preliminary risk management plan to address these issues proactively. It’s always better to have a plan in place from the beginning.
  • Performance metrics: Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) and baseline data that will help you measure the success and impact of your project. This will make post-grant evaluation much more manageable.
  • Communication strategy: Develop a communication strategy that outlines how you will keep the grantor informed about project milestones and challenges. Plan for regular updates and reports.
  • Post-grant transition plan: Finally, consider the end of the grant period even before it begins. How will you transition out of the grant and do you need ensure the sustainability of your project beyond that timeframe?

One last point: we know – and we know that funders also know this – a project may differ greatly from its intended purpose and still be successful, particularly when delivery is good. Don’t be afraid to talk to your grant-giver about your concerns and challenges.

The more you consider how you will manage the grant before you even get it, the easier the admin around your grant-maker-relationship will be, and the more likely you are to be successful.

Good luck!

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