Non-profit volunteers are busy people. They are always giving of their time and talents to support the cause that they value.

Volunteers often are asked to raise funds to support their non-profit mission.

One way is to “just get a grant,” but what is a grant? How do I go about getting a grant? Do I need a grant writer?

I am often asked these questions.

What is a grant?

A grant is a conditional gift with strings attached. The funding source identifies the problem they want addressed, but no outcome is known. So the idea originates with the applicant.

A grant is not an idea, it is a plan that outlines every detail of your problem and solution.

How do I get a grant?

Each grant is different based on the requirements of the funder. However, in general you will describe the problem you want to solve, identify the goals and objectives of your solution, provide an evaluation plan and develop an itemized project budget.

The grant process includes:

• A good idea – The project is an idea that only exists in your mind. Your task is to present the idea in a fundable proposal.

• A good fit with the identified funder.

• Assembling a winning team to work closely on the problem and solution.

• Reading the guidelines so you understand what information the funder needs in the application.

• Reading the guidelines again, so you can create a successful grant application .

• A detailed plan of all aspects of the project.

• Developing the budget after you have the detailed plan.

• Reading the guidelines again.

• Being persistent – proofread, edit and submit Writing a grant is like playing a game – you have to play by the rules.

You have to get the guidelines, read the guidelines and follow the guidelines.

Why use a grant writer?

A grant writer provides assistance with the grants process, so that you will have less to do.

Your grant will be more competitive and common technical errors may be avoided.

Grant writers can conduct research, facilitate, plan, create work plans, draft budgets, write proposals clearly and concisely, communicate with funders, provide project administration and complete grant reports.

Before you start your next project, contact the Redwood Area Development Corporation (RADC) to find out how we can assist you.

– Pat Dingels serves as the executive director of the Redwood Area Development Corporation (RADC)