Grants are often applied for to renovate a program or to implement a new and shiny program model. Sometimes grants are submitted by an agency with a faulty foundation; perhaps the agency’s accounting is poor, their administration is weak, or their program leadership is unskilled. Grant writers need to highlight the organizational strength of an agency to give reassurance to the grant maker that the proposed program can and will be implemented properly.
There’s a house in midtown nearby that has undergone a major renovation recently. An investor bought it and for a number of months the place was surrounded by a chain link fence as construction took place. New windows were installed and a new front porch was constructed. Lots of work went on within the house too. After all the inner improvements were made, the fence was removed and the landscaping was redone.
I noticed that there were the remnants of an old Bermuda lawn which had been worn to stubs by all of the construction traffic. I assumed that before a new lawn was laid the investor would roto-till the soil and get all the Bermuda out. I was shocked one day to go by and see workers unrolling the new sod right on top of the unprepared yard. I knew that within two or three years, the Bermuda would overtake and ruin the beautiful-looking lawn.
The foundation of the new landscaping is corrupted and faulty. Seeing how the landscaper lay the new lawn made me wonder what other shortcuts the investor had taken in the renovation. Where else would the eventual home owner be surprised as hidden faults emerged and revealed themselves?
A grant writer’s job is not to write as if to lay sod over a faulty landscape. A grant writer’s job is to describe the strengths of the agency which illustrate how the grant will properly implemented. A strong agency will have data that supports the implementation of new programs.
Grant makers seek applicants that bring strength to the process of grant implementation. A strong organizational foundation positively demonstrates capacity to implement and assures grant makers that the new program won’t be corrupted by concealed flaws.