Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Make Your New Year’s Resolutions – and Keep Them!

While I know that many people don’t follow through on their New Year’s resolutions, I still think they are important to make at this time of year because they help to give us focus. Since most of you reading this article are not full-time grant writers, writing down your school's grant goals for the year can be extremely helpful.

Following are a handful of sample resolutions that you might adapt in order to create your own:

1) I will write three grants for my school this year.

2) I will write grants until I get $100,000 for my school during 2010.

3) I will subscribe to a good grant database so I can spend more time completing grant applications and less time looking for grants.

4) This year, I will establish a grant committee that will be charged with finding and writing more grants.

5) I will establish one new program in my school this year and write grants to finance it.

6) I will thoroughly evaluate current programs at least twice during the year to determine which ones need to be fixed and which need to be expanded.

7) I will take a course in grant writing this year to ensure that I am submitting the best possible grant applications.

This is not a comprehensive list of grant-writing New Year’s resolutions. It might, however, help you to think about and plan a course of action for the new year. If you don’t have a plan, you are likely to end this year with the same sad results you had last year -- few grants written and few grant dollars received.

Of course any planning and any resolutions you make are better than none, but I encourage you to focus on the first three resolutions I listed above. The first two relate to the number and value of grants you plan to write. I’ve always said that writing grants is a game of numbers. The more quality applications you submit, the more grant money you will receive. You might want to set a goal to write a specific number of grants so you won’t falter after writing just one or two.

Similarly, it is always good to determine the amount of money you will need from grants and go after that amount regardless of the number of grant applications you need to complete. You might go after one or two large federal or state grants, or you might decide to write more foundation grants for smaller amounts of money. Either will work because your goal is to receive a certain amount of grant money.

My third resolution above -- investing in a subscription to a grant database -- is directly tied to the other two. A good grant database will enable you to quickly and easily pinpoint the federal, state, and foundation grants for which you are eligible. Without a comprehensive, up-to-date grant database, you will spend a huge amount of time scouring the Internet looking for possible grants when, instead, you could have been completing grant applications.

Because I’m a firm believer in planning, I’m a firm believer in making well-documented New Year’s resolutions. Make one, two, or even three this week. Write them down and put them in an accessible place so you will review them at least once each month. Doing this will make you a better, more efficient grant writer in the new year. It will get your school the grant money it needs. And the programs you offer students will be better because of the resolutions you made as you planned for this promising new year.