I recently sat down with a new nonprofit founder and we talked about grants as part of their fundraising plan. The Founder wanted to know how to get ready for grants and be competitive. The answer: everything needs a plan.


Today, I am walking you through putting a Grant Readiness Plan together.


What is a Grant Readiness Plan?


A Grant Readiness Plan is a written document that lays out the strategies needed to write a competitive Grant with milestones and activities.


Who are Grant Readiness Plans for?

Grant Readiness Plans are for any organization that wants to write grants but haven’t done it before. They’re also good if you’ve attempted grants with limited success. Grant Readiness Plans can help you identify weaknesses and create steps to remedy your weaknesses.


Who are Grant Readiness plans not for?


Great Readiness plans are not for organizations that already have a successful program and are fairly successful.


How do I use a Grant Readiness Plan?


Grant Readiness Plans should be used to:

  • Figure out where you are and being able to apply for Grants
  •  Layout your action steps to bridge the gap from where you are to apply for Grants
What goes into a Grant Readiness Plan?


Grant Readiness Plans have five parts to them; smart goals, current situation, where you want to go, identify what needs funding, and strategies. The outline is below.


Grant Readiness Plan


I.  Goals

Use SMART goals here to define what you want this plan to accomplish. An example:

To become ready to write competitive grants by (date).


II.  Current Situation

This is where you will have a SWOT analysis.


Strengths Weaknesses
Opportunities Threats


III. Where do we want to go?

This section will include the number of grants that you want to be awarded, and the number of grants you will be required to apply for to get the number of grants awarded. Remember the benchmark for a grant awarded is that you will be awarded 1 grant for every 10 that you write. You will also need to include the amount of money that you want to raise through grants. This amount should be in your fundraising plan and available to you.


IV.  Identify what needs funding

In this section, you will make a list of the projects that need funding and the amounts.


V.   Strategies

Strategies are what action steps and milestones you need to take to get to your goals. Common strategies are listed below.

          A.  Collect information

 If you find that you are missing some information while you’re thinking through your grant process, then you will want to list the information and/or the statistics that are needed here.

          B.  Documents needed to be created or located

 There are some common documents that grantmakers ask for. You should make sure that you have all of these documents before you begin writing grants. Creating a list here of what you need will help you       create an action plan to get those documents.

     C.  Training needed

You will probably find that you need some training to help you be more competitive in writing grants. In this section, list out the training that you need or would like to take. I recommend GrantsMagic U’s free one-pager course, and GrantMagic U’s Ultimate Grant Proposal Blueprint course. Also, Chapter 4: Step Four- Signature Program Development of the book I HAVE MY 501(C)3! NOW WHAT?!? Your Blueprint to Starting Your Nonprofit Without Being the Sole Funder is about programs and actually builds a program that is ready for grant funding.

     D.  Communication Plan for Foundations

This will be a list of foundations that you’ve identified you would like to start a relationship with and some key action steps for creating that relationship.

     E.  Program action steps

What do we need to do program wise to be ready for grants? This section might include what we need either as far as deliverables or new measurement systems in order to be grant competitive.

     F.  Budget

No plan is complete without a budget. In this section create your income plan using the grant foundations that you have identified and your expenses using any section that required expenses.

If you aren’t grant ready and need further help getting there, go to GrantsMagic U. Sign up for the free one-page proposal course or you can sign up for the Ultimate Grant Proposal Blueprint course. You can save $100 off* the Ultimate Grant Proposal Blueprint course with code 320AM at checkout.

*Affiliate link – you get $100 off the course price and I get a commission. I would promote this course even without the commission though.

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