Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words…..Today’s blog is a great visual regarding the steps you should follow before you begin writing a specific grant application.

“Is there a Local Contribution?”  

This is the question that every missionary should ask her or himself when completing an application for a project grant.   If there is not a specific line on the application itself for this information, be sure to announce your “local contribution” as early in the application as appropriate.

Welcome to 2018!  Ever wonder what’s really on the mind of funders? Check out the interview we did recently with the Raskob Foundation, a US funder dedicated to supporting all kinds of Catholic missionary projects!

I am in the middle of an experience that causes me to risk your seeing me and MPS as a broken record. What do I mean?

This past summer I have worked with missionaries in Zambia and Mexico to submit applications to a US foundation. The proposals are compelling, reasonable and promise high impact for the foundation. For one of these, however, we forgot to include an important requirement of the application: “Endorsement of the Local Ordinary (bishop).”

All that work and it may fail because of just one detail, but an important one for this foundation.

I had a meeting recently at a large funding organization that makes grants by committees that are dedicated to various parts of the world, such as an Africa Committee, a Latin America Committee, et cetera.

At one point in our meeting, one of the committee directors, without any prompting from me, simply stated that “I wish more applications would give me a feeling for the needs and challenges they confront in their ministry, I want to understand what it is really like where they are working.”

The funder’s desire, for us to “give them a feeling” concerns how we describe the SETTING of our Project Application.   It is quite understandable for each of you to take this for granted, because it is something that you live each day, BUT do not underestimate the need, even for sophisticated funders such as I was meeting with, for an informative description of the setting in which you work.

  1. Thou shalt never miss an application deadline because it will cause automatic disqualification of your application
  2.  Thou shalt not apply for a project that the foundation does not fund because this would be wasting your time (and theirs)
  3.  Honor the foundation and learn as much as you can about them from their website before beginning an application
  4.  Thou shalt not ask for more money than the foundation guidelines suggest
  5.  Honor the community the project supports by including their “local contribution” in the grant application

The Unmet Need

I spoke recently with a foundation director who returned from a visit to India, where he spent time at several locations, visiting with a variety of missionaries. One can only imagine that his head was/is spinning, but not from the noise and crush of people in India. Rather, it was the enormous number and variety of project needs that were voiced to him that was at once encouraging and discouraging: encouraging to see all the good work being proposed, discouraging to know that his foundation could only fund a small fraction of the total number of projects.

What to do? How to decide as a grant maker?   How to distinguish yourself as a grant seeker?

BEING OF TWO MINDS

“If only the foundation knew how valuable this work we are doing is OR how much of a different even a small grant would make for our work!”

I have heard this or similar statements many times by missionaries and they always make an impression on me- BECAUSE THEY ARE ABSOLUTELY TRUE!

I would advise all grant writers to try and make the same impression with each foundation, but to be of two minds:

With one mind, be factual and detail oriented, providing all the information and documentation that the foundation asks for, by no later than the foundation requires, hopefully earlier.