Applying for grants is a huge endeavor. Here are four factors to watch for if you want to win.
• Short deadline date. By the time an organization finds out about a grant opportunity, it may already be halfway through the grant cycle, explains John Porter, executive director of the American Grant Writers’ Association (AGWA), Largo, Fla. Don't delay!
• Financial match. Often, funders require organizations to match a certain amount of money toward the project. Unfortunately, organizations will often apply for grants without the budgeted money available to match the money for the project, making them ineligible for the grant. Don't waste your time applying for grants you may not be able to accept -- get buy-in up front.
Speaking of which:
• Eligibility. People often apply for grants for which they're not eligible, Porter explains. Ask yourself these questions before the funders do:
Are you for-profit or non-profit? Non-profit hospitals have more funding avenues open to them, Porter says. But sometimes for-profit hospitals have non-profit branches that can apply for additional grant money. Make sure you're clear on your status.
How will you spend the grant money? Grants are generally very specific in how you can spend the money. If it's a grant for a particular type of MRI machine, you won't be allowed to spend it on a different type of equipment.
• Focus on innovation. A big buzzword with funders is "innovation." But what does it mean?
While you may not think something that’s essential for your hospital can be innovative, a large part of the story is how you phrase your project, Porter says. Innovative could mean something that’s less costly, for example, or something that reduces carbon emissions.
Example: If you’re looking for a grant for lighting, a funder will ask whether you’re going to put in fluorescent lights again, or perhaps remodel part of your building to allow natural light flow. Go with the "innovative" choice. It could make a difference.