These are some BASICS which may be worth remembering ………….
Everyone’s time is valuable—yours included. Why waste time on an application that is not competitive with others? Planning is always wise. With a grant you need to know what you need or want and your current resources, if any. You also need to locate funders, learn application deadlines, gather materials and much more!
Don’t make the mistake of applying for a grant at the last minute.
One way to help with planning in fundraising is to keep a FUNDING CALENDAR. Whether or not you intermingle it with your personal planner (or put it on your iphone), you may find a tickler type calendar system is helpful.
Start with the basics in your funding calendar and fill in your calendar with deadline dates for the various work stages. Selecting work dates is a process of moving backwards from deadlines. Use pencil since changes do happen! You may also find that you develop your own shorthand for calendar entries. (My own calendar entries are more cryptic-and messy–than in examples shown below!).
Provide time in your schedule to work on the items in your calendar.
Schedule and honor the work on your calendar (an appointment with yourself) as you would an appointment with a person!
A Municipal Calendar Example
- What is the date of the Commissioner’s budget hearings? October 10
Entry for Oct 10 date on calendar shows: 9-12 Com meeting
- How much time prior to those hearings must you submit the budget to them? 1 month plus mailing time of 1 week (or you could walk it over)
Entry for September 03 date on calendar shows: Mail budget to Com
- How much time does your Board need to approve the budget? And how does this time requirement fit in with your Board meetings? 1 month to review but Board does not meet in August. Board President could call a special board meeting or you could send out budget in June (with time for mailing if using snail mail) for approval at July 15th meeting.
June 10 calendar entry shows: email Brd budget
July 15 calendar entry shows: 3pm: Brd meet, budget approved? no? schdl new date before Com deadline
- How much time do you need to work on the budget? Who all else is involved in the process? Your work calendar may look like this:
April 5 calendar entry shows: 10am meet with bookkeeper, review for budget
April 9 calendar entry shows: 9am department heads meet re budget
May 9 calendar entry shows: did all dept heads submit for budget?
May 14 calendar entry shows: 9-12 work on budget
May 16 calendar entry shows: 2-4 work on budget
May 18 calendar entry shows: meet with Brd Treas review proposed budget
- Then of course, you want to put down a date for the outcome!
December 15 calendar entry shows: receive Com approval on budget?
- And if the outcome is not what you needed, you would start planning for other ways to meet needs or to reduce expenses December 18 calendar entry shows: meet w/department heads
…..and the tickler calendar continues!
Grants and the Calendar
The various stages of grant writing can also be entered in your calendar but grants may not be as predictable. It may be that you only hear of a grant after reading about another library’s successful application. Or, perhaps your search of a funding database shows that you just missed a generous foundation’s deadline. Don’t forget about that grant! Many grants are offered every year, with only slight changes.
If the grant application was due March 1 in 2010, check back at that foundation’s site three months prior to March 1, 2011!
December 1, 2010 calendar entry shows: chk www.librarybillions.com for grant?
If your search finds that the grant is again offered, look at the deadline and select work dates by moving back from the deadline.
Be aware that awarded grants also expect you to follow a timeline. Use the tickler calendar system so you can keep in compliance with their deadlines. An added benefit is less stress (and no terse phone calls asking for that late Quarterly report!)
Here are some grants you may want to put on a calendar!
Available to Chester and Philadelphia Counties for capital campaigns, general operating support, endowment and special projects. (Other locations may be invited by a foundation trustee)
AMOUNT: $2,000 to $50,000
DEADLINE: October 1 and March 1 (mark your fundraising calendar)