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Grant Intermission: Managing the Summer Slowdown

Grant Intermission: Managing the Summer Slowdown
Grant Intermission: Managing the Summer Slowdown

As summer arrives, so too does a wave of out-of-office notifications that can present an abrupt intermission to the grant process. We’re all too familiar with the summer slowdown that briefly plateaus funding, causing stress and anxiety to nonprofit executives and board members. With the summer slowdown on the horizon, we will help you to navigate pending grant applications and out-of-office notifications with preparation and patience. 

Preparation Strategies to Set the Stage for Success

Preparation is key to managing your organization’s grant applications. 

Develop a Grant Calendar 

Plan ahead by creating or updating your grant calendar. This will help you to stay ahead of proposal deadlines, track progress, and share meaningful grant data with organizational leadership. A grant calendar will help your organization to confidently navigate the application process and remain accountable to deadlines and stakeholders. In addition, if you have long-standing relationships with funders, a grant calendar can provide historical insights helping you to plan more effectively. 

Learn more about key stages in the grant funding timeline to inform your grant calendar. 

We support nonprofit organizations in developing tailored grant calendars. Our grant calendar uses existing grant data or a prospect list to keep you organized with monthly tasks to help you reach your goals, combining:

  • Grant history

  • Upcoming proposals and reports

  • Relationship-building tasks

  • Progress toward fiscal year goals

  • Custom dashboards.

  • Anticipated deadlines

  • Detailed and customized notes to help you make the right move

In the summer months, we recommend cross referencing your grant calendar with your organization’s out-of-office calendar to ensure your team has capacity to meet grant deadlines, while managing organizational programming. 

Stay ahead of grant deadlines

With many people on vacation during the summer, it can be difficult to receive answers quickly. 

Staying ahead of proposal deadlines ensures that if any questions arise about the application, you’ll be able to reach funders and make adjustments to your proposal before the application deadline. 

Likewise, if you work closely with partner organizations on proposals to further your collective impact, you may need additional time for collaboration and board approvals. 

Approach funders ahead of time 

Get ahead of the summer slowdown by approaching funders ahead of time or simply schedule time to follow up with funders. Communicate your organization’s intent to request funding and ask questions. 

Communicate with stakeholders 

It’s important to communicate regularly with organizational stakeholders. Your grant calendar provides a jumping off point for key status updates with board members and partners. We recommend sharing consistent, transparent updates with stakeholders to build trust and confidence in your leadership. 

Practice Patience

Once you hit the submit button, it’s time to practice patience, as you have fulfilled your role in the grant application process. Trust the process.

Maintain a positive attitude 

It’s sometimes simpler said than done, but maintaining a positive attitude is very important! Maintaining a positive outlook will help you and your team to stay motivated. 

Maintain team morale by helping everyone understand that your organization has done the work to set up for success with a grant strategy and strong prospect list.

Focus on the big picture and your organization’s mission and long-term strategic goals to help guide you forward during lags in the grant process. 

Plan to follow up with funders

It’s okay to follow up with funders that you haven’t heard from in 2-3 months. Be sure to schedule funder follow ups before you head out-of-office to make sure there isn’t a potential lapse in positive communication. 

Schedule time for rest

Summer is an important time for you to rest, as well! Dive into a book, take a hike, or hit the beach! Whatever it is that helps you to relax and rest. Allow yourself time to recharge and return to your work with a fresh perspective and appreciation. 

Jacquee Kurdas stands smiling on a green mountain peak on a cloudy day.
Hiking helps me to rest and restore.

In conclusion, preparation and patience are essential to the grant application process, especially during the summer months. Plan ahead by establishing a grant calendar, staying ahead of deadlines, and communicating with stakeholders. Practice patience by maintaining a positive attitude and taking time for rest. Most importantly, enjoy your summer! 

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