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So, you want to apply for grants?

By Karrin Huhmann

Research + Grants Coordinator

Determine your organization’s “grant readiness” before finalizing that contract with a grant professional.

The prospect of grant funding for your organization is enticing! You have a great program, project, or idea. You think it’s going to make an impact and merits the support of foundations looking to “give” money to worthy causes.

However, grants are anything but “free” money. They require a lot of work! Receiving a grant obligates your staff to perform the work and spend the funds as you proposed in that winning application. That means building or improving your program, tracking spending, capturing and analyzing data against proposed outcomes, and preparing required reports to the funder.

But the real work begins long before you celebrate that award – work that can’t be entirely outsourced to a grant writer (though they offer tremendous value in facilitating it). Every organization with a healthy mix of grant funding has put in time-consuming preparation and planning, including diligent work by everyone from board members, to program staff, to the accounting department.

Many organizations hire a grant professional because, like many nonprofits, they are operating close to the limits of their human resource capacity. But merely contracting for grant writing, then hoping it’ll quickly pay off in big awards, is a recipe for frustration and disappointment if your organization hasn’t already done that work.


What you think you are paying for: Someone to hit the ground running, immediately turning out application after application.

What you are actually going to pay for: A grant professional who will first spend hours and hours helping your organization become “grant ready” – before one application goes out the door.

Your grant professional is providing a valuable service in both of these scenarios. The key to avoiding frustration and disappointment is to make sure you both have a clear picture of how grant ready your organization is – before entering into any sort of work agreement. Perhaps what you really need is to hire a grant professional to help your nonprofit do the hard work that starts long before the funds roll in.

Byrne Pelofsky can help you determine your organization’s grant readiness. And no matter what it tells you about where your organization is today, our consultants and experienced grant professionals can help you meet your funding goals, starting from where you are now. 

To learn more about a grant-readiness consultation or grant research + writing services with Byrne Pelofsky, give us a call at 816.237.1999 or email us at

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