DoorDash. GrubHub. Uber.
We live in a world of instant gratification. That’s why I am not terribly surprised when I get the question, “If you find us a grant opportunity, will we be able to apply and get the money right away?” And, the answer is yes…and no.
When our grant professionals do research into potential sources of funding for our clients, we find several opportunities at the state, federal and local level. However, we also know that some opportunities may provide more bang for their buck than others at the present time. That is why we have developed a priority rating system for our grant research summary, which is the document presented to the client at the end of the research project.
We use a traffic light rating system to prioritize. If the opportunity is highlighted in green, that opportunity is ripe for the picking, so to speak. The next step for a green opportunity is usually to either contact the funder to get their help completing an application or completing the application themselves (with our help, of course, if that is desired!). The green opportunities will be able to be acted upon immediately or very quickly.
However, that does not mean that the money will be in their hands in a quick manner. If, for example, a company is doing training, and the state has a training grant, they would likely be able to apply quickly to get funding. Once the application is submitted, however, they often have a review process that takes anywhere from a week to a month (or longer). And, you can’t do the training until you have been notified of an award and won’t receive the grant until the training is completed. So, yes, you can apply for many opportunities quickly, but the money won’t land in your hands quickly, in most cases.
We also have yellow and red designations for our research results. Yellow opportunities may require more work, either to partner with another organization, or may have a deadline that is 6 months or more away. Red opportunities are those that don’t fit the client’s situation now, but, if things change, it could quickly move up to a yellow or green. Many times, these opportunities are related to job creation, and, while the client is not adding jobs now, there certainly could be a time when this may be the case (at least, we hope so!).
We do everything we can to encourage the grant process to continue after our research, such as identifying next steps and following up with clients to make sure they are taking those steps. That provides the best chance of “instant gratification” as it pertains to the grant process.