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As a consultant, determining whether a client should pursue a competitive grant is not always easy.


At times, all signs are that a client is ready to compete. The leadership’s go-ahead decision is unequivocal and has broad-based support. All of the organization’s assets necessary to prepare a proposal are committed to the task.


At other times, the signs are more uncertain. Some outspoken leaders or stakeholders may be anxious about subsequent commitments if a proposal is funded. Internal or external critics may question the wisdom of pursuing a particular grant. And the organization as a whole may be reluctant or unable to commit significant time and money to developing a proposal that may or may not yield funding.


The more of the list-items below that a client can mark as present, the more likely it is to be ready to pursue a specific grant opportunity.


Organizational Readiness:

As an applicant organization, a client is probably ready to pursue a specific grant opportunity if it can:

  • Supply adequate proofs of its legal status and eligibility
  • Provide sufficient data to substantiate need
  • Propose creative and innovative yet realistic and practical solutions to problems
  • Anchor its choice of key strategies in the scientific research literature
  • Identify and describe appropriately qualified key personnel
  • Bring other agencies on board in a partnership, if required
  • Track and report on its funding and expenditures
  • Adopt and execute a sufficiently rigorous evaluation design
  • Measure and report on interim and final outputs and outcomes
  • Commit enough matching funds or other cost sharing
  • Monitor and protect confidentiality and privacy, as needed
  • Enact and enforce human subjects research protocols, if needed
  • Commit to continuing its initiative after initial funding ends


Leadership Readiness:

As an applicant, a client is probably ready to seek a grant if its leadership has:

  • Completed its process of selecting priority grant opportunities
  • Validated a specific grant opportunity as a viable option
  • Firmly decided to pursue a particular grant opportunity
  • Adopted a proposal submission approval process
  • A shared awareness of the commitments that a funded proposal will entail
  • Sufficient human and financial resources to dedicate to developing a proposal
  • Policies in place for ensuring fiscal and programmatic accountability
  • Sufficient technologies available to create and submit an application


This post has focused on organizational and leadership readiness. A later post will address strategic and development readiness.


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