I’m excited to bring Lesa-kaye in today as our guest blogger. Lesa-kaye trains and coaches nonprofits and community-based organizations on how to win their first or next grant. With her winning grant strategies, she has helped nonprofits win more than $15 million in grants including funding from the federal government. She shares winning grant strategies on her blog: fromlesakaye.com.
Winning grant funding can feel as competitive and rigorous as competing for the Superbowl, the Olympics, or at Wimbledon. Many will try but few will succeed. The path to winning grants for your nonprofit is similar to becoming a champion athlete. From swimming Olympian Michael Phelps to any of the Super Bowl Champion Football teams, the breakthrough to their success included mastering the fundamentals, preparation, and teamwork. In this post, we’ll break down how you can incorporate similar steps to make 2019 the breakthrough year for your nonprofit’s grants success.
1.Focus on Mastering the Fundamentals
Whether it is the backstroke for swimming, serving for tennis, or simply running a mile, athletes first learn and then master the fundamentals in order to become champions. Similarly, to be successful at winning grants, you must first master nonprofit fundamentals, which some in the nonprofit world refer to as grant readiness. Funders are more likely to award grants to nonprofits who are registered as 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt charities, demonstrated financial stability, a track record and history of success, clear mission, planned programs/services, capable leadership, and community support. As you enter 2019, consider whether your nonprofit has truly mastered these fundamentals. What areas should your nonprofit focus on improving in 2019?
Poor planning leads to poor performance. Waiting until you find a grant to get started is a costly mistake. Champions ensure they have the essentials they need to compete by preparing as early as possible. Michael Phelps packs his swimming gear in this gym bag ahead of time. Serena Williams has the rackets and tennis balls for an upcoming tennis match long before she steps on the court. Similar to these champion athletes, you can prepare your nonprofit to successfully compete for a grant. To prepare for 2019, gather and organize the essential documents and information needed for proposal development, such as your nonprofit’s 501c3 certificate, list of board members, key staff resumes. I usually save these documents in electronic folders (either on my computer or cloud-based drives such Dropbox or Google Drive) so that I can easily retrieve them when it is time to submit grant application/s.
Additionally, you can prepare your nonprofit for successful 2019 grant year by starting to writing common proposal sections now, such as your organization’s background as well as a description of your nonprofit’s program/s and/or services. Preparing these documents before finding a grant will save you time and make for a more seamless as well as less stressful grant writing and submission.
3. Teamwork Makes the Dreamwork
Champion athletes, even the ones in solo sports, rely on the support and guidance of a team and/or coach.
None of these steps can be accomplished by one person alone. Similar to champion athletes, the most successful nonprofits use a team approach that can include a seasoned grant professional who will help lead or coach them through the grants process. A team can either be two people or consist of a range of individuals at your nonprofit, such as Executive Director, Chief Financial Officer, Grant Writer, Program Manager, Board Members, and other volunteers. Everyone has a key role in the process. Start considering who will be a part of your team in helping win and manage grants.
Where Do You Go From Here
Winning takes more than writing a grant proposal. By focus on mastering the fundamentals, planning, strategy, and preparation, I’ve won more than $1 million in grant funding in a year. I’ve detailed my steps in the FREE Million Dollar Grants Checklist so that you can make 2019 your breakthrough year. How will you position your nonprofit to be a grant champion?
Where people can find me: The FREE Million Dollar Grants Checklist. The five (5) steps I took to win more than $1 million dollars in a year: http://fromlesakaye.com/million-dollar-checklist/
Lesa-kaye has more than a decade of experience as a grant professional. She helps nonprofits develop and implement strategies, systems, and processes to position their organization to win their first or next grant. She has led cross-department and multi-stakeholder teams at nonprofits to win more than $15 million in grants and contracts from Foundations, Corporations, and Federal Government Agencies.
She holds a master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Virginia and has worked for public health and health service organizations including the American Diabetes Association, Susan G. Komen Greater New York Affiliate, and a network of federally-qualified health centers in the District of Columbia (DC). Lesa-kaye currently serves as the National Kidney Foundation’s Government Grants Director, where she works with executive leadership to develop and implement a government grants strategy that fosters collaboration with kidney patients and their families, policy makers, healthcare professionals, academic research institutions and other stakeholders.
Her goal is to help 1,000 community-based organizations and service nonprofits win grants to collectively impact one million people. She shares winning grants strategies on her blog: fromlesakaye.com.