Minimize your Government-Grant-Proposal Risks!

Sections of this topic

    Developing a grant proposal to a government agency is a risky undertaking. However, there are predictable risks that you should anticipate and address. If you do not address them at the beginning of your effort, your may have trouble submitting a competitive grant proposal by the deadline.

    Risks and How to Address Them
    Below are the four most common risks and strategies for addressing them.

    1. Insufficient Information about the Government Agency
    •  Conduct electronic research about the government agency
    •  Engage the government agency outside the office at professional meetings, conferences,
    and other venues
    •  Use ethical and reliable people and legitimate sources to provide more information and
    insight about the government agency

    2. Tight Schedule
    •  Create a schedule that works backward from the deadline to the kick-off meeting
    •  Build time into the schedule for delays and other problems
    •  Get the resources you need to meet the deadline

    3. Scarce Resources
    •  Establish a realistic proposal development budget
    •  Identify and secure needed resources to do the proposal well, from equipment to people
    •  Use consultants when necessary to bolster your proposal team

    4. Incompetent and/or Delusional Senior Management and Colleagues
    •  Use a solid bid/no bid process to reject grant opportunities that you have little or no
    chance of winning
    •  Create a plan to address major risks
    •  Provide sufficient time within your schedule to resolve difficulties and bottlenecks
    •  Maintain a good sense of humor and a stoical attitude about the proposal effort

    Risks are common and predictable when you develop government grant proposals. Anticipate them and you will be more successful.


    Dr. Jayme Sokolow, founder and president of The Development Source, Inc.,
    helps nonprofit organizations develop successful proposals to government agencies. Contact Jayme Sokolow.