Do you know enough about your organization?

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Developing winning grant proposals requires a deep understanding of your organization. You’ve got to understand the organization’s capacity, expertise, and place in the community. You must be able to provide a concise, thorough overview of the organization, highlighting its fit with the proposed program. 

Can you answer the following 12 questions? If not, you’ll need to do some homework.

  • What’s your organization’s mission? What’s the specific reason it exists?
  • What’s its history? When was it founded? By whom? Have there been major milestones such as mergers, changes in direction, etc.?
  • Who’s on the board of directors? How many board members are there? From what backgrounds? In what ways do board members contribute?
  • How big is your organization? How many employees? How many locations? What’s the annual budget?
  • What’s the service area? What are the specific demographics of the area?
  • Who benefits from the organization’s work? What are the demographics by age? economic status? health? education levels? other relevant details?
  • What programs and services does it provide? Can you summarize each program?
  • What quantity of services does it deliver? How many and how much?
  • Do services produce results? How do you know?
  • With whom does it collaborate? Can you list collaborators and describe what they do?
  • Has the organization won awards? Been recognized for expertise?
  • What’s the organizational structure? Who reports to whom?
A comprehensive understanding of your organization will increase your effectiveness in countless ways. You’ll be a prepared, credible representative, plan better programs, collaborate more effectively–and write more successful grant proposals.

— Barbara Floersch, Executive Director, The Grantsmanship Center


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