Funding Development Team
“It is the tragedy of the world that no one knows what they do not know—and the less a person knows, the more sure they are that they knows everything.” Adapted from Cary, J. (1958). Art and reality (Vol. 20). Cambridge, U. P.
Writing a funding proposal is extremely resource intensive. The time taken to complete an "average" sized submission is approximately 105 hours, with smaller organisations taking more time than larger organisations (Australian National Council on Drugs, 2009).
Smaller organisations may require more time in writing funding proposals due to:
- Insufficient data collection and reporting systems in smaller organisations
- Lack of staff involvement and experience in funding strategies and activities, and application writing.
Complete the activities in About Your Organisation to start a database that will assist you to write future funding applications more efficiently.
To reduce the stress of writing grant applications involve a team to assist in the process.
A team can:
- Share the workload and reduce stress
- Enhance your organisation's profile
- Pool experience and build capacity in identifying and achieving organisational objectives
- Increase your organisation's ability to write and submit quality funding applications.
Prioritising Fund Development Activities
Fund development activities are often not highly valued or prioritised in non-government organisations. Front-line staff infrequently view organisational development as a core activity and focus on more immediate issues (Hopkins and Hyde, 2002).
The challenge for leaders in non-goverment organisations is to ensure that staff members:
- Understand the importance of continuously fostering the organisation's relationships with funding bodies, local businesses and government, and other community groups
- Are involved in developing and writing funding proposals.
To increase the prominence of fund development activities in your organisation:
- Schedule a meeting/s with your Board, staff, and volunteers to develop a funding strategy
- Establish a clear reporting role by allocating responsibility for overseeing the fund development strategy to one person
- Incorporate funding development activities into employees' position descriptions and key performance indicators
- Review and evaluate your success in implementing your fund development strategy.
The funding development team should be involved in finding and securing support from potential new funders.
Successful funding development teams should:
- Be proficient in gathering and analysing information about:
- Your community's need
- Solutions which meet the community's need
- The funder's objectives
- Make decisions about viable funding and collaboration prospects
- Have strong communication and negotiating skills
- Be flexible and creative in their responses to changing priorities and identify alternative options
- Have strong leadership skills, influence organisational change, and inform community priorities
- Stay calm under pressure, and meet tight deadlines
- Keep objectives and goals firmly in sight
- Be able to write well.
How to Build a Fund Development Team
The figure below demonstrates the steps involved in building a fund development team.
A good team is made up of individuals with diverse personalities, skills, and knowledge who are committed to achieving uniform goals.
Fund development teams should involve people who:
- Possess leadership skills
- Exhibit goodwill
- Have the necessary skills, or are interested in broadening their skill sets
- Have defined tasks.
Tasks should be allocated according to the abilities and personal characteristics of the team members. Allocate tasks based upon team members' natural attributes and skills to avoid burnout and/or stress.
Include people on your team who are:
- Creators: Generate new ideas, concepts and solutions
- Advancers: See great ideas, solutions, or approaches and new ways to promote them
- Facilitators: Manage other members, monitor proposal development, and work task distribution
- Refiners: Challenge, analyse, and use a methodical process to detect and resolve process issues
- Executors: Develop orderly processes and execute detail once funding is received.
When you establish your team:
- Identify and allocate key writing tasks
- Assign a key person to coordinate the development of the funding application
- Schedule regular meetings to review and discuss progress on the funding application
- Assign overall responsibility to one person to submit the funding application.
Engaging External Writers
External paid writers can help reduce the time you spend writing funding applications.
Consider using an external writer to:
- Write your funding proposal
- Assist your funding development team
- Review your funding proposal.
If you use an external writer make sure that:
- They clearly understand your organisation's structure, functions and funding strategy
- You brief them about your proposal
- They understand and address all the funder's requirements
- You retain control and ownership of the funding proposal
- You carefully proof-read their work before submitting the application
- You can afford them.
For more infomation about engaging external writers see Wombat Creative's article, Using Professional Grant Writers.
- Leave personal needs and egos at the door of each group meeting.
- Group success requires people to act responsibly, recognise and appreciate the strengths of each team member, and be themselves.
- Improve your data collation and assign tasks to staff and volunteers to reduce the time and stress involved in writing funding applications.
- If you or other team members are experiencing difficulty in writing a particular section, approach a colleague for support and advice.
Complete the activities below by entering text into the fields provided and/or completing the attached documents. If you download and complete an attached document, you will have to save this to your personal file.
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