Grant Writing Calendar

How To Finally Bring Order To Your Grant Writing Chaos

I loved calendars when I was a kid. It wasn’t unusual for me to have a Toronto Blue Jays calendar on one side of my room and a Toronto Maple Leafs (yes, I know they haven’t won a Stanley Cup since 1967…insert your joke here) calendar on the other side.

As I’ve gotten older, and life has handed me just a little bit more responsibility, the idea of a calendar has changed drastically.  No longer are calendars just about pictures of sports stars or scenic Canadian landscapes. They have become an important tool to help with setting and accomplishing goals, staying organized and focused, and reminding me about the importance of each day.

In our blog post, Make 2017 Your Best Grant Writing Year Yet, we wrote about two specific actions that will make grant writing much easier. The third action, which we share in this blog, is developing and implementing a grant calendar.

So, what is a grant calendar and how does it work?

What Is A Grant Calendar?

A grant calendar is a document that allows you to vet new grant opportunities while also highlighting upcoming tasks, responsibilities, and deadlines for all members of the team.  Accessible to everyone, the lead person should use technology such as Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook, or a shared Excel file to ensure everyone has access and the ability to follow along with their part of the project.

The calendar includes application deadlines, highlights key dates, outlines important tasks, and identifies webinar or information sessions. A grant calendar also becomes a guide for your pursuit of funding opportunities. It helps you stay focused on what needs to be accomplished now and helps relieve the stress of last minute applications in the future.

Here is a list of some of the initial categories, with examples of the type of information you may wish to include:

  • Month: October
  • Funder: Billy McGee Foundation (not a real foundation, by the way)
  • Focus area: Literacy Program
  • Request amount: $25,000
  • Deadline: October 15th at 5 PM
  • Actions: Contact funder to ask questions related to application
  • 2016 Award: Did not apply

How To Use A Grant Calendar

There are a few ways you can use a grant calendar. You may wish to use a grant calendar as an easy way to see all of the grants you plan to write over the year. This can help you plan your deadlines effectively, and may even help you make the decision to say “no” to writing a grant because the timing conflicts with other more important priorities. Having a one-page document that everyone can see at a glance will be helpful to provide a high-level overview of what proposals are being written and when, while also providing a stronger sense for how much more money you may need to have awarded to meet your goals. You may get part of the way into your fiscal year and need to re-evaluate your plan and look for additional opportunities to secure funding.

Others may wish to use their calendar more closely to keep track of the status and individual tasks related to each application. Whether you use the calendar specifically for this or not, it will be incredibly helpful to build a full work plan for each part of the process. Building your work plan and outlining specific tasks that need to be completed for each individual application should be done in a separate part of your calendar (in a separate tab in Excel, for example).

Don’t Forget

Remember to also consider your organizational calendar when developing your grant writing plan. Do you have a large fundraiser in the summer that takes a lot of your time? Do you have an integral staff member going on vacation for an extended period of time in March? How might those events impact your ability to write grants during those seasons? Also, be mindful of the overall commitments to grant writing on a month-to-month basis and try not to overwhelm yourself or your team with more than you can handle in any given month.

Get Started

Don’t procrastinate. Begin to work with the calendar as soon as possible so you can begin 2017 organized, focused, and aiming for incredible grant writing success.

A grant writing calendar helps decrease your level of stress and keep you (and your team, if you have one) focused and organized as you work toward generating financial security for your organization. Doing the work at the front end of the grant writing process can save many headaches later and help create an even greater level of success.

Want to see how a grant calendar works? Download the Grant Calendar Template so you can quickly and easily begin to implement this idea in your grant writing process.

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