Timing is everything

2 Oct

So a friend of mine asks me–When submitting a grant to a current funder, exactly when do you do that? You want to time the thing so that there isn’t a gap between when the current grant ends and the new one begins. Which means that you have to submit the new proposal before the current 12-month cycle is completed and possibly before you have turned in your final report. Just exactly how does that work?

With most everything in grant writing, the answer is: it depends.

Everything is dependent on the funder–whatever the funder says, that’s what you do. This can vary from funder to funder, so don’t make assumptions just because the last guy wanted it done a certain way. We can look at a few scenarios, but always defer to the preferences of the funder.

For foundations with hard deadlines, the answer is easy: follow their deadlines, submitting annually from the date of your original submission. Yes, you will be applying before the end of the grant period, but chances are you will have at least submitted a six-month report and have had some opportunity to communicate your fantastic results to the funder.

For funders without specific deadlines, you will resubmit on or around the date you originally applied. Again, this means that you will be submitting before your first grant cycle is completed. As with the previous example, it is likely you will have reported to your funder at least once at this point.

In either case, you may or may not have expended all of the money when you reapply. Which is fine. Actually, if your grant is relatively small or doesn’t completely cover your program’s entire budget, you will likely have expended the entire grant before the end of the year. If the grant is for something specific, like purchasing program materials or equipment, you will probably spend the entire grant long before the end of the cyle. Most of the time you’ll buy all of those items at the beginning of the grant, not as you go along. In which case you will have completed the terms of the grant early on.

Conversely, some grants may be for ongoing expenses that you will incur as you go. Like salary. So you won’t have spent all of the money before you reapply. Which again is fine, this happens all the time.

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