Step 1 in the grant development process involves creating your team and defining the roles.
The process of creating a grants team and defining roles fosters collaboration in grant development. Since the grant proposal is essentially a workplan for the project, it’s important to incorporate the expertise of people working in multiple disciplines, including those from grant development, finance, and those responsible for implementing the project if funded.
First, you’ll need to identify the grants team — the people with responsibilities for vetting and preparing grant applications and that have oversight of grant management. An individual can have more than one role (e.g., the grant writer can also be involved in implementing the project), and roles can be fulfilled by paid staff, contractors, and/or volunteers. The grants team could include roles such as the following:
- Grant writer: An individual who is primarily responsible for writing the grant application. The grant writer:
- Gathers information and has knowledge of the entity seeking funding.
- Researches grant-makers.
- Compiles, writes, and edits grant applications.
- Ensures that the city maintains relationships with grant funders.
- Ensures stewardship with the funder, including managing the process of preparing progress reports.
- Implementers: One or more individuals who are responsible for implementing the grant funded project. This may be your city clerk, public works director, or city engineer.
- Finance: One or more individuals in the accounting or finance function who are responsible for providing financial attachments for the proposal and ensuring proper stewardship of the grant funds if awarded.
- Authorizing agent: The member (usually a staff member) of the city/organization who is authorized to 1) submit grant applications on behalf of the city/organization and 2) sign agreements/contracts with the funder on behalf of the city/organization.
View the model resolution “Authorizing Grant Application,” which includes appointing an authorizing agent (doc).
Once you have identified the members of the grants team, you’ll need to define their roles and responsibilities. Grants team roles and responsibilities are unique to each grant applicant (city/organization). When defining roles and responsibilities of each individual on the grants team, consider factors such as their capacity (time and expertise), interest, skill, and connection with the project.
As you’re creating your team, you may need to train existing staff members or hire new ones. Sources to find contract grant writing support and post positions include the Association of Fundraising Professionals Minnesota Chapter, Northstar Chapter of Grant Professionals Association, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Career Center, and League of Minnesota Cities.
Several of these organization also provide training and professional development in grant development, including the Association of Fundraising Professionals Minnesota Chapter, Northstar Chapter of Grant Professionals Association, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. Another resource for grant training and professional development is The Grantsmanship Center.