Grants Calendar: A Must-Have Tool for Non-Profits and Community Groups
As we approach the new year with financial uncertainty rising, nonprofits and community groups face the ongoing challenge of securing funding. A strategic approach to this is developing a grants calendar – an essential tool that can significantly enhance your grant-seeking efficiency and success.
Why a Grants Calendar is Crucial:
- Streamlines Planning: A grants calendar helps you visualise the entire year’s grant opportunities, allowing for better planning and resource allocation.
- Prevents Missed Deadlines: Keeping track of submission dates ensures that you never miss a deadline, maximising your chances for success.
- Facilitates Strategic Timing: Understanding the grants landscape over the year helps you strategically time applications when your capacity is highest.
- Ensures Continuity: A calendar aids in maintaining a consistent flow of grant applications, essential for sustained funding.
How to Develop a Grants Calendar:
- Research Upcoming Grants: Start by identifying all the potential grants available to your organisation for the next year. Use grant databases, government websites, and other resources specific to your sector.
- Record Key Details: For each grant, note down the opening and closing dates, grant purpose, eligibility criteria, and application requirements. This information is crucial for quick reference.
- Prioritise Opportunities: Not all grants will align perfectly with your organization’s goals or capacity. Prioritize the grants based on their relevance, potential value, and your likelihood of success.
- Plan for Preparations: Include in your calendar the preparation start dates for each grant. This should be well in advance of the submission deadline, giving ample time for crafting a strong application.
- Use Digital Tools: Leverage digital calendar tools that allow for reminders and sharing among team members. This keeps everyone in the loop and accountable.
- Regular Updates: The grants landscape can change, with new opportunities emerging and deadlines shifting. Regularly update your calendar to reflect these changes.
- Review Past Applications: If you’ve applied for recurring grants in the past, review your previous applications and outcomes. Use these insights to refine your approach.
Top tip: Not all grants will be visible at the time of making the calendar so spend some time listing all the grants you have applied for this year, and add them to the calendar with a note to check dates closer to the open dates.
In conclusion, a well-maintained grants calendar is more than just a scheduling tool; it’s a strategic asset. It helps your non-profit or community group approach grant seeking methodically, ensuring you’re always prepared, never miss an opportunity, and ultimately, stand a better chance of securing the funds you need to make a difference in the community.
As you gear up for the new year, take the time to develop your grants calendar. It could be the key to unlocking a year of successful funding and impactful work.
By Janine Owen, Grant’d: Impact storytellers and experts in grants management and strategy