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As a grantmaker, funding the right applicants is crucial to the long-term success of your program. But this goes far beyond simply checking off grant requirements. It’s about choosing grantees with the greatest potential of fulfilling your organization’s mission.
To accomplish this, let’s take a step back. We’ll look at the key tasks of the grantmaking process, helping you build in best practices and efficiencies that culminate in a well-informed, unbiased selection of top candidates.
Your grant guidelines are the foundation of a strong grantmaking process. When these terms are comprehensive and clear, you’ll ensure that applicants, staff, reviewers, and other stakeholders are fully informed and on the same page.
So, what should you include in your grant guidelines? Here’s a list of recommended elements.
In addition to the above, it’s also helpful to have staff and the reviewers read the guidelines and suggest a set of frequently asked questions with a fresh pair of eyes. You may also want to include some examples of projects you’ve funded in the past if that would clarify what you’re funding in this cycle.
Now that you’ve clearly defined your grant program, let’s turn our attention to building a qualified, engaged committee of grant reviewers. Here are a few ways you can improve your selection and management of these important individuals.
These best practices will strengthen the grant review process, resulting in better decisions that align with your grant program’s goals.
While clarifying your grant program requirements is critical, it’s equally important to ask the right grant application questions and build a relationship with applicants. You want staff and reviewers to get a full picture of their enthusiasm, potential, and talents.
So, what questions should you ask? Go back to your grant guidelines and work backwards.
Here are a few tips to draw out the best answers from your applicants.
You’ve defined the grant guidelines, prepped your review team, and created an application that’s easy to use and captures the data you need. You’re on your way to a great grant awarding decision. But there are still a few more ways you can improve your grant review process.
The above suggestions will improve the quality of your review, but it’s also helpful to think about efficiency. How can you make it easier for reviewers to do their job?
The grant review process wouldn’t be complete without looking back to constantly improve. How did your past grantees perform? Did they meet the goals set out in their application? Did their work move your organization toward its grantmaking vision?
A well-designed grant report will give you the information necessary to make even stronger award decisions in the future. While documenting quantitative goals is important, it’s easy to get stuck there and miss greater insights. Here are some outside-the-box ideas for digging deeper.
As a grantmaker, you want to be sure your funding goes as far as possible and makes the most impact. By incorporating these best practices, your organization can feel confident that they’ve fulfilled their promise to continuously strive toward this goal.