The Worst Grant Writing Mistakes Made by Christian Ministries and Churches

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By Jeffrey J. Rodman

Many Christian ministries and churches decide they will give grant writing a shot and see what happens. There approach is not planned or deliberate but rather a haphazard approach that does not account for the complexities and specificity of grant development. Grant writing is not hard, but it is very specific.

When beginning a grant development strategy is important to plan, invest, and have leadership support. It is best to have a grant writing consultant help you to at least develop the initial strategy and advise you on how to resource a grant writing office for success.

Here is a list of major mistakes made by many Christian ministries when starting grant writing along with a biblical reference of the items importance:

Not Planning and developing a Grant Writing Strategy Before Getting Started: Most organizations don’t plan to fail… they just fail to plan. Having an organized grant development strategy is critical to the success of your grant writing efforts. If you don’t know where you are going… you will never get to where you need to be. “The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.” – Proverbs 21:5

A Lack of Adequate Resources Needed for Successful Grant development: Grant writing is a long-term investment strategy. If you invest very little you will get very little in return. Grant writing will certainly take an initial investment of resources or efforts will be anemic and fail. “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’” – Luke 14:28-30

Not Enough Human Resources: Many smaller nonprofits try to develop grants with only volunteer support. While this is possible with dedicated, educated, and committed staff, it is more likely that the effort will suffer from a lack consistency, persistency, and organization. When you can’t afford to hire paid staff it is often cost effective to work with a grant writing consultant. “Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed.” – Proverbs 15:22

Not Using the Experience of Others to your Advantage: There’s no need to start your efforts as if you are the first organization ever to implement a grant development strategy. Use the experience of successful grant writers to model your strategy. “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” – 1 Peter 4:10

Lack of Board Buy in and Financial Support: Your board of directors should be making financial contributions to your organization. Every board member should be giving. No foundation is going to want to invest in your ministry if you can’t convince the people closest to your ministry to give. Yes, time and talent are important…but “where your money is your heart shall be also.” – Luke 12:34

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