The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

How to Create a Grantseeking Calendar

Content calendars are all the rage. They’re an effective way to track your content production and marketing efforts, but have you ever thought about making a grantseeking calendar? Building a grantseeking strategy around a thoughtful, strategic approach will save you the time and heartache of applying for grants that aren’t a good fit for your nonprofit and help you identify the best grants for your organization.

Sample Grants Calendar
Credit: Cynthia M. Adams/GrantStation

Cynthia M. Adams of GrantStation.com recommends creating a true grantseeking strategy that culminates in a master calendar. So how do you make your calendar, and what should inform your strategy? Your secret weapon is a grant decision matrix.

How to build a grant decision matrix.

  • Use a spreadsheet tool, such as Excel or Google Docs, to score each potential grant on your own universal criteria.
  • Focus on the aspects that are important to you, such as a grant’s timing, credibility, your relationship with the parent organization, and the work required for submission. The weight you assign will probably depend on the size of your organization and how long writing a grant will take you. Do you have dedicated grant writers, or just volunteers?
  • Think about creating criteria such as, “Each grant must take less than 10 hours to write,” and then question how much weight they should have.

Once you’ve developed your criteria and weights, run a few test cases against it to determine which scores signal “go apply” and which mean “stop and rethink.” You can also start with a preliminary, no-score matrix of yes and no questions. It will take some time and discussion to create a scoring system that works for you, but creating a grant decision matrix is an important step for identifying the right grantmakers for your projects.

Creating your calendar.

You’ve created a matrix, thought about which projects need grants, and researched potential funding sources. The key to following through on all of your hard work is to create a calendar of grant tasks. These tasks can include completing forms, securing a match, writing a proposal, writing a cover letter, or getting board approval. Once you’ve set all your deadlines on a calendar, you’ll be able to see what will work and what time periods may be a challenge.

Creating a grant decision matrix and a master calendar are important steps to getting the best grants for your organization, but they’re just a one piece of your grants strategy. To learn more about grantseeking and to see planning examples, access the archived presentation: Building a Powerful Grants Strategy.

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About This Blog

Linda Lombardi

We’re here to help you win hearts and minds—and donations.

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