Throughout both the grant process and our personal experiences we have learned of a few helpful processes we would like to share with you. We have noticed that time and time again, the big dreams of organizations may become either too overwhelming or become roadblocks instead of building blocks.
Simplifying your message
We all get excited to do more and make more of a difference, but in this sound bite society it is even more important than ever to streamline and simplify your vision and messaging to your audience. When working with granting organizations it is best to try to keep your "ask" as simple as possible - remember have an exact outcome that can be measured or accomplished, we all realize that you change the world one small step or stroke at a time, don't try to do it all at once.
When writing your mission try to think of it as describing 'who we are'. We suggest you use all encompassing words, as the specifics may change over time. This needs to be one sentence (Is it catchy? Could you tweet it? Does it fit on the back of your business card?).
When writing your vision, dream a little, this is a lofty large goal if your solution was to be fully realized.
Communicating with Donors
Whether you are seeking funding through a grant or a face to face it is all about building a relationship with your donor. You are explaining what 'problem' you want to solve, you are not just asking for money but offering the donor the opportunity to be part of the solution. You are not just 'asking' someone for money, you want them to know you (who), what your organization does (what) and you want to clarify why their involvement is so vital to solving 'the problem'.
Communicating your 'ask'
Your should be able to describe your Who, What, Why, Where and by When in 1-2 pages
Who you are, Why you matter, What you are doing and trying to do, Where you are working, and When you plan to do what you are trying to do by.
So to help you and your grant awards understand your goals, clearly define what the problem you are seeking to fix is, what the longterm solution is and how what you are doing fits in to this. We know this all seems simple and old hat - but sticking to the premiss of KISS (Keep It Simple - (stupid)) - can be difficult.