The best way to begin a government grant proposal is with a great kick-off meeting. If the meeting goes well, you will inform, motivate, and focus the grant proposal team on the task ahead.
The proposal team is comprised of the people who will be working on the grant application. They should include the Proposal Manager, the grant writers, the subject matter experts, the accountant or Chief Financial Officer, and anyone who will be actively involved in putting together the grant proposal.
The Kick-Off Meeting is the first step in the process of developing your proposal. The best kick-off meetings involve the entire proposal team sitting face-to-face around a conference table. For efforts that involve partners around the country, a conference call will be more cost-effective and less time-consuming.
The Proposal Manager should run the kick-off meeting. Thorough preparation for that meeting includes:
• Creating a complete agenda for distribution at the meeting.
• Inviting the entire proposal team.
• Inviting senior management – the President, Vice President, and Chief
Operating Officer. They should attend for two important reasons – to learn
more about the proposal effort and to support the team.
• Arranging a comfortable setting, and, if the meeting is long, provide
refreshments or a meal.
• Providing relevant materials in advance – such as the grant guidelines and
the Application Instructions.
• Providing contact information about the proposal team.
• Describing the process and schedule. The schedule is very important
because most proposal efforts operate on tight deadlines.
• Explaining why your effort is important is important to the NPO.
• Explaining how the proposal team will work together and in what roles.
Desired Outcomes of the Meeting
• Attendees should leave the room confident in your ability to steer the
proposal effort as the Proposal Manager.
• They need to believe that the grant proposal has a good chance of being
• Management should be committed to providing strong support and advice
• The proposal team should have a clear understanding of their individual roles.
• The proposal team should be committed to adhering to the schedule.
If you can accomplish these goals, you are off to a great start!
Dr. Jayme Sokolow, founder and president of The Development Source, Inc.,
helps nonprofit organizations develop successful proposals to government agencies. Contact Jayme Sokolow.
From this posting, until after Labor Day, the Fundraising Blog will post only once each week. We will resume the twice weekly postings in September. Enjoy your summer. ….Hank, Natalie, Jayme, Lynn, Rick & Bill