Grant Tip #48: We Wish to Thank You for Applying by Gary Carnow

A letter will eventually arrive. It may be good news, and it may be bad news. In either case, you have won. You have challenged your colleagues and community to look critically at your needs and have proposed methods and activities with which to close a gap that you have uncovered. You have brainstormed and debated and thought through your particular set of circumstances. You have developed a program of actions that will meet your particular wants. You have constructed a plan for evaluating what you will do and have set up mechanisms that will ensure your project’s success. You may now have a new set of problems: You may actually have to do what you said you would do!Preparing to Implement and Share Your Success
Whether or not your proposal is funded, share the vision of your proposal work with a wider audience. You have involved stakeholders in the preparation of the proposal, but by sharing the vision whether you are funded or not, you will reap benefits, some of them surprising.

If you are funded, great. If not, your proposal may still have serious merit and others may want to step in and help. Either way, you will want to put together a communication plan. Most educators have not gone to business school and are not marketing specialists; call on friends, colleagues, and parents who know exactly how to do this. Consult with a professional to write a killer press release, prepare a Web site, and supply articles for local newsletters. As you move through the process, you will need assistance in getting media coverage and preparing informational materials.

If You Are a Go
Thank your funders by phone and letter. Your funders are your ultimate partners in this proposal, and you want to nourish a great relationship that will benefit your organization and them. Your proposal states what you are going to do, and their request for proposal spells out what they expect. Gather your implementation committee to reread the RFP and your proposal’s narrative. Look at your project timelines, create your action lists, roll up your sleeves, and get started. Plan a celebration. Celebrating your achievement builds community and launches your project toward a successful implementation. Begin documenting all your grant activities, starting with the celebration. Take lots of pictures as you begin the process of meeting your obligations and requirements.

If You Are a No-Go
If they’re available, read the grant reviewers’ comments and study the scoring rubrics. See if you can speak with a reviewer to discuss how to improve your proposal. How might you revise your application? What would strengthen it? What might you do differently next time?