Client Data Collection for Grant Writing

When I agree to work with a nonprofit client to develop a grant, whether I’m writing it, or I am helping them to write it, there is a lot of information that must be shared in order to present the strongest and most appealing case to the funder.

When I used to work for a consulting firm, early in the process of developing a project, there was an activity called “data collection”.

Data collection consisted of visiting the client site with a team assigned to collect data from different parts of the operation, including management, training, safety, operations, and maintenance. Each data collector was tasked to collect data specific to that division and bring it back to their home office to analyze and use to develop the project.

When a project ended, all the data in the hands of the consultant company was collected and destroyed to protect corporate privacy.

Fortunately, I no longer work in private industry. I like working to help people helping other people. But I must ask for information necessary to develop the request.

A similar process of transferring information must occur with grant writing. This, of course requires a level of trust. This is why I prefer to meet my clients in person before they sign a contract with me.

This is information basic to what funders request in their applications.

Things like:

  • Mission
  • History
  • Who you are and who is on your board?
  • Name and detailed description of your project
  • Why this project?
  • Goals and expected outcomes
  • Funding sources
  • Budgets and financials
  • Evaluations

Some of this is often easily available from the internet, brochures, social media, etc. But much of it lives within the organization. Like the two nonprofits I volunteer for, we don’t have separate departments, so the information is less likely to be siloed. If an organization has two or more different departments, it is best to engage people in those departments who know.

Also, as I have discovered, looking into my own documents can be a lesson in keeping stuff up to date and orderly. This can be very useful and time saving when you apply for different grants and serial grants. If it makes my job easier, that’s less time I must charge for.

Ed Hanson, Grant Writing Consultant

Grant Writing 4 Good

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