The Deadliest Grant Writing Mistakes Made by Christian Ministries and Churches
By: Dr. Jeffrey J. Rodman
Many Christian ministries and churches decide they will give grant writing a shot and see what happens. Their approach is not planned or deliberate but rather a haphazard approach that does not account for the complexities and specificity of grant development. Grant writing is not hard, but it is very specific.
When beginning a grant development strategy, it is important to plan, invest, and have leadership support. It is best to have a grant writing consultant help you to at least develop the initial strategy and advise you on how to resource a grant writing office for success.
Here are some major mistakes made by many Christian ministries when starting grant writing, along with a biblical reference of the items importance.
Not Planning and Developing a Grant Writing Strategy Before Getting Started
"The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty." - Proverbs 21:5
A Lack of Adequate Resources Needed for Successful Grant Development
"For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.'" - Luke 14:28-30
Not Enough Human Resources
"Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed." - Proverbs 15:22
Not Using the Experience of Others to Your Advantage
Lack of Board Buy In and Financial Support
"Yes, time and talent are important…but "where your money is your heart shall be also." - Luke 12:34
Lack of a Diversified Funding Base
"Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth." - Ecclesiastes 11:2
Poor Documentation of Success
"Test all things; hold fast what is good." - I Thessalonians 5:21
Making Assumptions that Grant Makers Already Know Who You Are and What You Do
"For we are but of yesterday and know nothing, for our days on earth are a shadow." - Job 8:9
Not Being Specific About What You Are Requesting
"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent?" Matthew 7:7-10
Quitting Before You Start to See Results
"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." - Galatians 6:9
Small mistakes cost big in grant development. Most grant makers are not as forgiving as individual donors and the expectation can be much different. Grant writing requires a consistent, persistent, and organized approach. If you are lacking in any of these areas, you are likely to struggle, flounder, and ultimately fail. A wise ministry will get their house in order and make sure they are adequately prepared before starting to implement a grant writing strategy.
Dr. Jeffrey J. Rodman is the president and chief executive officer of Here-4-You Consulting and Grant Writing, www.npfunds.com.