For Everything, There is a Season

Here in Alaska, autumn comes too quickly. As I write this from Interior Alaska, the birch and alder leaves are already beginning to turn yellow and the fall rains have set in. While the rest of the nation is suffering from the heat, we Alaskans are feverishly finishing up any outdoor projects that must be completed before ‘freeze-up’, which will be here shortly. We live by the seasons.

Grant writing is seasonal too, and depends on the funding cycle of the grantmaking organization:

Federal government’s budget cycle is October 1 to September 30 each year. Once the federal budget is approved, departments know what their budget for the next year will be. Only then can they begin to implement their planned programs. Typically, department staff finalize federal grant announcements between October 1 and the end of the year and release their grant announcements after January 1. That means the bulk of federal grants become due some time between January and May – which we refer to as the federal grant season. The whole cycle can be delayed if the federal budget isn’t approved on time.

State government budget cycles vary. Alaska’s budget cycle is July 1 to June 30 each year. So new money is typically available in the fall.

Private grantmakers are also governed by their budget cycle. Most foundations operate on a January 1 – December 31 cycle (but not all, so check their website), so their money becomes available immediately after the first of the year. Their process differs a little from government, however: While most foundations disperse grant funds from the beginning of their grant cycle until the funds are gone, some foundations divide their funds into quarters and make a percentage available in each quarter. So be sure to check how the foundation makes their funds available if you’re considering an application in the last half of the year (when some foundations will have already spent their money for the year).

We have two face-to-face trainings coming up to help you prepare for the upcoming grant season: a Grantwriting Intensive in Fairbanks, Alaska on September 17-21, and a Grantwriting intensive in Anchorage, Alaska on October 1-5. We’re also scheduling training in other states for 2013 now — so if you’d like to bring grant writing, grant management, or fundraising planning training to your community, be sure to Contact Us soon!

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