Updated: Aug 19
In the past two years, MAPA Collaborative has secured close to $400,000 for area organizations. Although we’ve been able to guide organizations in identifying and securing funding and have written successful grant applications for state and foundation funds, we find a few essential pieces that make organizations ready to apply.
Our most successful grant applications are from organizations that can show:
A track record of successful initiatives with proven outcomes.
Documentation of budgets that show accountable and fiscally responsible financial practices.
A network of partners willing to write letters of support or enter into Memorandums of Understanding.
A well-written program designed with SMART goals and objectives that support the mission of the organization. (SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound)
A well-thought-out program and agency-wide budget with reasonable General Administrative cost allocations.
An understanding of the needs of the community, with equity-centered practices.
All these pieces are essential, with some of them requiring periodic updates to reflect changing demographics, revisions to agency-wide infrastructure, and shifting priorities due to community needs. If there is a weakness in one area, it can potentially impact the result of a grant application, including but not limited to the organization’s reputation.
We know from years of experience that organizations that are well-positioned to apply for grants have these elements:
Committed, knowledgeable, and dedicated professional staff who fully understand the organization’s mission and values and that, as a practice, only pursue grants that align with the agency’s short and long-term strategic plan.
They are registered as a 501C-3 organization and able to provide all business documentation such as proof of IRS tax-exempt status
Able to show fiscal responsibility via audits and be able to provide financial documents;
Most recent audited financial statements
Organization’s operating budget for current fiscal year
Individual program budgets for the program
Offer mission-centric programs that create a long-term impact in their communities.
An active Board of Trustees.
A centralized way or a system to collect and analyze data to generate periodic evaluation reports that show measurable outcomes and the efficacy of their services.
Unfortunately, not all the organizations that have reached out to MAPA Collaborative are ready to apply for grants. They may find themselves at a crossroads between great initiatives started to address a community problem and no real infrastructure to navigate the ever-changing landscape of nonprofits. Others may be struggling with staff retention, leadership changes, or the recent shift of funding priorities at a local, state, national and philanthropic level. To successfully increase their chances of securing funds, they may be in better positions to apply for future grant opportunities by creating a strategy to get these items and practices in place. Investing in developing a strategy for the organization for a successful grant application is worth considering.
We can guide you through that process. We teach, coach, and mentor key staff on how to approach grant writing in a way that aligns with the organization’s overall goals. You may want to consider one or all of the following individualized services:
Executive coaching for management staff, including rising young professionals.
Community field scan or needs assessment to determine funding priorities.
Professional development training in the areas of grant writing, program design, and outcomes measurement.
Specific strategic planning sessions to stabilize a program or to expand or shift a program.
Our vision at MAPA Collaborative is to generate momentum and creativity so leaders can confidently navigate their professional and personal lives. Position your organization to pull the best resources.