Who is around your table?
It starts with the people around the table. This is where grant development decisions are made. The players include executive director or key stakeholder, foundations director, advancement professional, finance, program manager, data manager, and you — the grant professional.
Of course, everyone has their own perspective and ideas, which can compound the complexity of the process. Having multiple people on the project inserts some checks and balances, but that is still not a guarantee. There is no easy way out for something as important as grant funding.
Here are some situations that I have seen develop as a result of multiple perspectives overwhelming the process.
- An inexperienced, newly formed team over-reaching as they try to solve a very complicated, multifaceted, high-risk program.
- A team that did not focus on a business problem at all, but were lured into data mining by the promises of cool technology and wizardry.
- A team that set about searching for “nuggets of knowledge” within a vast mountain of data amassed over years.
This is where a data analytics consultant (such as yours truly) can help. We bring an objective perspective, and use past experience to offer a solution. We can also redirect the conversation in a more constructive direction, without worrying about the consequences of offending your boss or co-workers.
Harness the power of data
If you are considering how a data analysis project can strengthen your grant proposal or solve other problems, you need to define your focus, intent and purpose. Data can also help you with this first step.
I walk my clients through a series of questions that determine if they have clearly defined each step for a successful data analysis project.
- Can you frame up the problem you’d like to solve or the business need that you want to address?
- What kind of data you need? Is it available or do you need to collect it?
- What is the unit of analysis, population, time frame and desired outcome?
- How will you measure success?
- How do you test the survey tools to see if you are getting the right response?
After you have answered these questions, you are ready to begin your project. But don’t forget the important step of turning the data you collect into actions, with specific strategies and tactics. Decide how can you use your results to create compelling arguments for grant support.
If you need help creating a comprehensive, structured analysis of the data you collect or already have, contact me. I can show you how you can move ahead in a more organized, strategic fashion, using the power of data.