Cultivating Successful Grant Leaders

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Grant writing for success

Cultivating Successful Grant Leades

Cultivating Successful Grant leaders was presented on Wake Tech’s Main campus in Raleigh NC. The presenters Kate Pattison and Kat Ngaruiya’s goals were clearly set at the beginning: Foster ideas, identify planners and help provide support, and encourage others to become grant leaders.

From idea to planning to Primary investigator
The team wanted us focus on the difference between an idea and a grantable, actionable idea.

Three key areas: An overview of Grants, Leadership, Collaboration

An Overview of Grants

We had tomake small groups and define what we thought a “Grant” was. My groups definition: A grant is money set aside to sponsor/implement ideas or projects that are actionable and real with a tangible, final product within a schedule of activity (achievable within a specific timeframe). Their definition “A sum of money given by an organization, for a particular purpose.”
A grant proposal is defined as “A response to a funders request for proposals”.

So, what is it that funders like to see?
INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS. “IF necessitiy is the mother of invention, vision is the father of innovation”

Funders like to see innovation and vision. They like to see long term goals, or a step on a long-term goal. To drive this home: THis is what you are doing, this is where you’re going, and this is what you’re going to do too get there.
Solid Blueprints. Here are the courses we’ll teach, here’s the clarity of the outcome. Here’s what you’re “building” with the grant and the funds. It might be one shot, or it might be one shot, mutliple kills, and they want to know. This will help put you in course with others.
Sustainable Ideas. They don’t want your idea to die once funding runs out. what is the future of the project? if the grant is a pilot project, how will this be grown, nurtured and sustained? Where do you see funding coming from? will you train employees or train the trainers once completed? As a press release shows that the grant was completed x years ago, but they have served xx students. They want to see the idea sustained over time.
The budget. Show where the money will go, and how it will be used. What is the scope of the proposal and how will the monies be used? What does the grant specifically fund, and how can you show them what you’re using. If the funds are used for only equipment, Show equipment. If you’re making new roads in the school, show marketing, scholarships, tables and reception items relating to locations. You want if possible, the institution to take over the funding or the grant monies and foster the project.
Finally, never underpromise and overask for money. Similarly, NEVER ever overpromise and overdelivery
Evaluation: Measuring Success and Failure. Its a good idea to include the success and failure criteria. Will the evaluator be internal or external? Look in the RFP to see the evaluation criteria if it exists. Its a good idea to keep a log. Failure is not always a negative, because innovation might be so difficult to create. If you are evaluating your project, you can create lessons learned and self-evaluate. Track what you can do, and not do. Can you find new strategies? and solve differently? can you make adjustments or do you need to cut and return the unused portions of funding.

Hands-on activities at this point included a grants checklist and revisiting a successful grant. Did it align? Mostly it did.


  • Leaders have goals.
  • They think about the big picture and the little details.
  • They have strong project management skills.
  • Check on specifics outlined.
  • Are amenable to following rules and regulations.
  • Are comfortable taking risks and okay with failure
    • cover the 3C’s

    • curious
    • collaborative
    • communicative


Make sure that the college, key stakeholders, psychology, college mission, are covered and represented in the grant. It is important to have a collaborative spirit when working on grants. Grant development ultimately implementation is a team effort. Know the strengths and weaknesses of the team members.

Having the right team members, and recruiting the right team members for the job is critical. Make sure you have informed them and gained consent prior to publishing your document. You don’t want to surprise them! You wouldn’t want to be surprised and committed to work on materials without your previous knowledge.

Another hand-on activity here focused on who the individuals named in the project, or who should have been identified

Grant resources can be found at the sponsored projects and federal relationships page of the Wake Tech Website