The Bite of the Elephant, Part 2

How can you increase the likelihood for your long-term project to be successfully grant funded on a repeated basis?

One way to do it is to think of your long-term project as being built with project “bricks”. In other words, construct it from compact packages of mini-projects that can be funded by individual grants. Here’s an example of a nonprofit that has a long-term goal of creating a national association supporting local groups serving the elders in their community. Here’s how they might work toward their goal:

1. Design a plan and program curriculum for a local outreach group to elders (Grant #1)

2. Create a one-year pilot project utilizing that curriculum in their local area and analyze the results (Grant #2)

3. Make changes in the program based on Grant #2’s evaluation results, redesign the curriculum (if needed), and expand the elder outreach program to three additional communities in different parts of the state (Grant #3)

4. Create a meals program for the elder groups to offer (Grant #4)

5. Create a handbook for elder group coordinators and distribute it to the four existing elder group coordinators (Grant #5)

6. Continue to expand the elder group program to three additional communities per year (Grant #6)

See how it works? Each step is a small but complete project funded by a single grant. Then each small project builds on the last project to build a bigger, better, stronger project. The grants may all come from different funders, or perhaps two or three funders will fund various parts of the project that most closely match their mission.

Have you funded a long-term project with grants in this way? If you have, we’d like to hear how you did it.


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