Get information on every U.S. Foundation with one search in FDO Quick Start. It’s free to register!  
Featured Jobs



What Does it Mean to be Grant Ready?

By: Smartegrants, Diane H. Leonard, GPC and Jo Miller, GPC, CSMS


Grants are a competitive process. Ask any serious competitor about the keys to their success and you will hear the same answer over and over: preparation!


Organizations that successfully get grants approach grant development as a competition.


A Grant Ready Organization (GRO) is an organization that is prepared to apply for grant opportunities. GROs have all of their records, registrations and audits in place, accessible, and up-to-date. GROs have engaged and gained support from leadership, policy-makers, and stakeholders. GROs align their mission, vision, and capacity with their understanding of community needs to build the foundation of their grant seeking strategy.

Mission and Strategy Alignment


When you're focused on a competition, your mission is to win! Sometimes, when we are too focused on winning, we can forget our purpose and lose track of the bigger picture.


Before you set your sights on winning a grant, review your mission statement and your organization's or program's strategic plans. Documenting your mission and goals before you look for grants to target your grant application research and find your best opportunities to compete for grants.


Build a Team


Whether the winning competitor is a racecar driver, gymnast, golfer or any other individual competitor, there is a team that worked to get them to that winner's platform. Creating a successful grant application is a team effort. A grant team will often include project managers, program/department directors, financial managers, legal advisors, community partners and, of course, a grant professional.


Tedium - It is all in the Details


Analysis, repetition, and practice are essential elements in becoming a strong competitor. In competing for grants, continual analysis of grant eligibility, applicable policies and procedures, grant management capacity, partnership outputs, best practices, and community needs are critical elements in an organization's grant readiness.


Beyond these essential components, there are other required steps, depending upon the type(s) of grants being sought, including, but certainly not limited to, completing and updating online registrations, IRS determination documents, trained or certified staff, audits, and budgets.


One of the best ways to prepare for a particular grant far in advance of the grant application announcement is to review the previous grant announcement (RFA/NOFA) and any recent related grant opportunities from the same grant maker. You can create checklists based on previous announcements to prepare for the next round of funding. A word of caution, grant requirements change with each announcement, and you will need to update your checklist and strategy with each new opportunity.


The Path to Grant Readiness


The Grant Readiness infographic can help guide you on your path to being a Grant Ready Organization. Use this infographic to navigate the three phases to becoming grant ready.


Phase One:   Check to make sure that you are a grant eligible organization or develop a partnership with a grant eligible organization to collaborate on grant applications.


Phase Two: Use the Key Elements for Grant Readiness checklist to identify the common grant readiness requirements.


Phase Three: Follow the path to Grant Readiness by type of grantmaker

  • Foundation Grant

  • Local or State Government Grant

  • Federal Grant