A Blog series to help small and medium-sized nonprofits win and grow grants

Who Are You, and What’s Your Number?

Moneyballing philanthropy is a process of continuous improvement. It’s about getting better than you were before, not being perfect. If you are an organization that is well-run and grant-ready, a solidly mediocre grant writer (maybe you! maybe me!) will be successful at getting grants. But, on the flip side, if you aren’t grant ready, then the greatest grant writer in the world isn’t going to be successful for you.

Are you worthy?

A well-structured grant application is going to lay you bare. At its most basic point, you must break into essential inputs and outputs—a budget and your outcomes. Some more statistics–Your program budget is $100,000, and you serve 50 people yearly. 

$100,000/50=$2,000 per person for what you are doing. So, the fundamental question is, “Is what I’m doing worth $2,000 per person?” And then your whole grant is about proving that it is, in fact, worth it.

You can be crappy if…

That’s why a crappy grant writer can still succeed—your program is doing the work! Good outcomes and good value speak for themselves. That’s why a great grant writer can’t do much for you if your program doesn’t show a great return on investment. There isn’t a thing they can do to fix that. Sure, they can round the edges of your sharp disappointment, but they can’t hide that $2,000 per person is quite a bit for a week’s work of classes and no measurable outcomes. You’re either good at what you do or you aren’t.

The Basic Questions on every grant

Most of these questions are self-explanatory, but I plan to write more on each of these topics since there are many ways to answer them well and more ways to answer them badly. 

  • Mission
  • Vision
  • History
  • Statement of Need
  • Target Population
  • Program Description
  • Goals and Objectives
  • Evaluation/Measurement
  • Collaboration
  • Sustainability
  • Budget

My next post will discuss the basics of getting your organization grant ready.

Matt Leighty
2920 W. Broad Street Ste 17
Richmond, Virginia 23230
6 Centerpointe Drive
La Palma, California 90623
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