Until recently, most government grant proposals were developed in a defined physical space. The proposal team worked near each other, had frequent face-to-face contact, and used conference rooms in their work.
The New Virtual World of Grant Proposal Construction
Today, however, this traditional model of proposal development is rapidly changing. An increasing number of government grant proposals are virtual efforts – they involve a geographically dispersed proposal team that works and communicates (for the most part) electronically, rather than on a face-to-face basis.
Virtual proposal managers must ask themselves (and answer) four basic questions:
1. How can I provide support to a geographically dispersed team?
2. How can I distribute information, documents, and tools?
3. How can I provide training and support to people whom I have not met?
4. How do I produce and submit the proposal?
How can I provide support to a geographically dispersed team?
Besides plenty of e-mails, telephone calls, and conference calls, a proposal manager should establish an electronic site where proposal team members can upload, download, and review proposal documents. Many organizations have SharePoint already in place, which is easy to use, access, and administer. It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It also provides the security you need to work remotely.
How can I distribute information, documents, and tools?
As the proposal manager, you can use SharePoint to post documents such as resumes, past performance write-ups, drafts, and templates to team members.
How can I provide training and support to people whom I have not met?
Using SharePoint, you can post training videos, instructional materials, your organization’s style manual, and other documents.
How do I produce and submit the proposal?
Nowadays, most government grant proposals are submitted electronically. At the very beginning of the proposal effort, you should arrange to produce and upload your final proposal. If you wait until the last minute, you risk torpedoing the entire proposal because there are often problems uploading proposals, especially to government agencies using their own Web sites.
Answer these four questions before the proposal effort begins, and you will avoid a great deal of unproductive, low-level administrative and repetitive work in the expanding world of virtual grant proposals.
Dr. Jayme Sokolow, founder, and president of The Development Source, Inc.,
helps nonprofit organizations develop successful proposals to government agencies. Contact Jayme Sokolow.
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