mothers collaborating to enhance education

Partnerships Can Help You Get Your Proposal Funded

PartnershipsandProposalsFrom a funder’s perspective, partnerships are particularly important these days. Why? Because partnerships can often mean stronger proposals, better utilization of resources, and less duplication of services. Some funders even mandate that partnerships exist before they will even consider funding a proposal.

In reality, most organizations collaborate with other groups. So forming partnerships is often easier than you think it might be.

Below are five building blocks to creating and sustaining effective partnerships that will help you strengthen your proposal, serve your target audience, and reach your objectives.

Building Block #1: More and more, funders want to give money to organizations that show they have a strong collaborative partnership with one or more existing programs in their communities. If your school doesn’t already have community partners, find existing programs in your community that have a similar mission as your proposed program. By doing so, you may be able to share resources, expertise, and even infrastructure (e.g., office space, facilities, etc.).

Building Block #2: As you write your grant proposal, identify community stakeholders who should be included in your proposed activities and invite them to participate at the very beginning of your grant writing process. Solicit their input for proposal content, include them at each step of your proposal development (as their schedules permit), and consider them as highly valuable members of your grant writing team.

Building Block #3:   As you collaborate with partners from community organizations, keep in mind ways your collaboration can help with project sustainability. In some instances, other organizations that have ongoing grants or services may be able and willing to serve your target audience in some capacity once your grant has ended. If they are contributing money or in-kind resources (e.g., staff time, office space, transportation, etc.), be sure to include their contributions in your budget.

Building Block #4:   Be sure to specify in your proposal what resources, staff, expertise, etc. each partner will provide to help ensure your proposed project’s success. Discuss how their contributions will strengthen your ability to serve your target audience and reach your project objectives.

Building Block #5:   Document the way in which each partner will play a role in the proposed project or contribute to its success. This means getting a letter of commitment or Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) from each partner and including these in your proposal – unless, of course, the funder clearly states it does not want you to include attachments in your proposal.

Quality collaborations will, in almost every instance, add credibility to your grant proposals. Even if a funder doesn’t mandate partnerships, you should consider how collaborating with other individuals or organizations will strengthen your ability to serve your target audience.

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