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Unlocking Grant Funding: Moving Beyond Ideas and Building Impactful Programs
As summer winds down, I’m seeing renewed energy in the world of fundraising and grants. With this transition, a common question is echoing through conversations—both in my inbox and across online forums. It goes something like this, “I’ve got an amazing idea. Can I get a grant to fund it?” Or others ask, “Why aren’t funders supporting my groundbreaking idea?”
Let’s dig into this topic and shed light on why grantmakers seek more than just brilliant ideas. We’ll explore the art of turning ideas into impactful programs, a journey that requires Relevance, Optimization, and Interaction.
The Power of Moving Beyond Ideas
Remembering my TEDx talk and our recent episodes, you might remember the three pillars of building your ROI: Relevant, Optimize, and Interact. These pillars pave the way for a tangible Return on Impact. Ideas, while important sparks, are only the beginning. The question is: Is your idea Relevant, is it Optimized for action, and are you actively Interacting with others in authentic ways to gather their input?
Ideas: The Starting Point
Ideas are like stars in the sky—plentiful and enchanting. We all have them, and they’re often fleeting. Just as you might contemplate getting ice cream after dinner, ideas come and go. But securing grant funding requires more than fleeting notions. It necessitates a solid, active program in motion.
From Ideas to Relevance: The Story of Dooshima
Let’s rewind a bit to a strategy call I had with Dooshima. She had an incredible idea—a passion born from personal experience, a desire to transform maternal healthcare in rural communities. However, she faced the challenge of translating that passion into a program that grantmakers could champion. The story resonates because countless people are brimming with such stories of need and possibility.
The Essence of Relevance and Interaction
Grant funders are akin to investors seeking returns, not just monetary but in terms of impact. This is where programs come into play. While ideas are the initial spark, funders gravitate towards programs that are already breathing life into communities. Tangibility matters. This is about being more than a visionary; it’s about being an executor.
Your Program: The Heart of the Matter
Think of grant funding as an investment, and the program is your pitch. Grantmakers want to know their dollars will create ripples of change. They’re looking for programs that are running, effective, and impactful. Ideas alone, however brilliant, aren’t enough to garner their support. A well-structured program with a clear mission, execution plan, and proven impact is what catches their attention.
Why Programs Outshine Ideas in Grant Writing
Imagine the business world—investors want ROI, a Return on Investment. Similarly, grantmakers are in pursuit of ROIs (Return on Impact). This means they seek programs that already demonstrate their potential to make a difference. Programs that have evolved from mere ideas into action embody the promise of substantial impact.
Building Credibility and Impact
Dooshima’s story illustrates a key lesson: building a solid program is the bridge between innovation and impact. It’s more than just an idea; it’s a journey of testing, refining, and proving the concept. Ideas are like seeds, but programs are the gardens that bloom and flourish.
Elevating Your Impact with Strategy Calls
Don’t stress if you’re at the idea stage—that’s an exciting beginning. All good programs start with ideas. If you’re seeking direction, strategy calls can be your guiding light. In these sessions we’ll map out a clear roadmap, transforming your ideas into actionable steps. Whether you’re starting from scratch or amplifying an existing program, strategy calls provide the momentum you need to make a real difference.
Embrace Change and Spark Transformation
As you navigate the world of grants and funding, remember that your idea is just the start. Embrace the journey of turning that idea into a program that’s rooted in Relevance, Optimized for success, and backed by meaningful Interactions. Grant funding isn’t just about receiving financial support—it’s about igniting change, improving lives, and leaving a lasting impact. So, let’s roll up our sleeves, build those impactful programs, and together, let’s change the world for the better.
What’s one idea where you need to take action? Let me know and we’ll brainstorm together!
And if you need extra support, book a call at www.teresahuff.com/mentor.
- Episode 96 – Nonprofit Strategy Call: Gaining Clarity for a Nonprofit’s Next Steps
- Go to MyEasyGrant.com to find, cultivate, and apply to relevant foundations using Easy Grant by Sparrow Nonprofit Solutions.
- Watch and share my TEDx Talk: The Real ROI of Grant Writing
Find out about how to give nonprofits the ROI they are looking for in my TEDx Talk on YouTube and share it with your colleagues.
If you need help, book a 1:1 strategy session with me at teresahuff.com/mentor. The world needs you out there making a difference!
Connect with me over on LinkedIn or send me a message. And if you need more support, join me on the Fast Track to Grant Writer already and let’s get you moving!
Are you feeling overwhelmed with trying to help your nonprofit apply for grants? Go through the free audit and I’ll help you sort out the next steps for your organization.
Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Grant Writer? Take the Quiz:
If you’re ready to explore a career in grant writing, take my free quiz, “Do you have what it takes to be a grant writer?” People are always surprised at how many skills they already have. The distance isn’t as far as they thought. Let’s figure out how you can use your skills to help change your world.
If you’re ready to step up your nonprofit game in 2023, join me on the Fast Track to Grant Writer. The world needs you.