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Grant Application Timeframe

Hi,

For those with annual grant cycles, how long do you keep your grant application open? I've played around with 2, 3 or 4 weeks and it seems like most organizations will wait until the last minute to submit regardless of how long the application timeframe is. Curious what others do and if you see the same thing?

Thanks!

Johnna Martinez

GiveWell Community Foundation

KaraAdams

Comments

  • edited August 4

    A couple of factors would guide my answer to your question. First - is the award for an individual or an organization?

    The second - how complex is the application - and does it have attachments or board authorization for applying? These things take time for an applicant to secure.

    Consider hosting a contractors conference - inviting applicants to a meeting prior to opening the grant. Use this format to answers questions and guide them through the application - you'll be amazed as to how many questions, and how helpful this approach is for the orgs applying.

    Lastly, Dont be discouraged about last-minute applications - as a non-profit manager for 15 years - I wrote my organization grants after hours. The org didn't have funding for a grant writer - which meant fund development was on my shoulders and the focus was often later toward the deadline - it's just reality.

    TomWickershamKaraAdamsJamesPatterson
  • @JohnnaMartinez,

    We try to have the application open a minimum of 8 weeks. Yes, most submit within the last week (or days), but we believe that a larger window of opportunity to submit is more equitable.

    Cheers!

    Tom

    KaraAdamsJohnnaMartinez
  • edited August 4

    Hi @JohnnaMartinez,

    We have one grant cycle annually and open it sometime between mid-June and July 1 with a deadline of August 1 - so generally 4-6 weeks of open application time. As you indicated, the vast majority of the applications are submitted the last two days. For example, When I left work last week Friday (July 30), there were 16 submitted, when I came in Monday (August 2) there were 33 more!

    KaraAdamsJohnnaMartinezDaynaBrady
  • @Daniellewhitmore thank you for your response. We've held grant orientations in the past and I agree, we can get many questions.

  • @TomWickersham thank you!

  • We keep ours open for 7-8 weeks, and like the others have shared, we also get most of our submissions in the last couple of days. With that said, I still think having it open for a 1-2 month window is helpful. The same is true for our scholarship applications.

    Laurie Abildso

    Vice President

    Your Community Foundation of North Central West Virginia, Inc.

    JohnnaMartinezKaraAdamsjessicamace
  • edited August 4

    I found the same to be true - it didn't matter how long I kept the cycle open, a majority always submitted within a day or two of the deadline. I used to have the grant cycles opened for about four weeks. Now, they are open for about two weeks. However, most of our applicants are repeats so they have access to the previous year's application so they have most of the questions ahead of time. When I've posed that question to some of our local npos, there were two responses - some said they work on their application in Word, and then copy/paste a day or two before the deadline. The others said they like to work under pressure so they procrastinate until the last minute.


    Michelle Eberly

    Director, Grants & Donor Engagement

    Community Foundation Serving Western Virginia

    JohnnaMartinezKaraAdams
  • We have two grant cycles per year and they are open for 7-8 weeks. As others have said, most applicants submit their applications in the last week and even on the day the cycle closes, but we field a lot of questions via phone and email while the cycle is open.

    JohnnaMartinezKaraAdams
  • Hi Johnna,


    We shoot for 4 - 6 weeks. For us, any less seems like we're not responsive and flexible for our applicants, and any more doesn't seem to garner additional applications. I agree with @Daniellewhitmore. Last-minute application submissions are an eternal reality, and our applicants seem to find our annual "Grantseekers Meeting," during which we explain the grant guidelines and application process, beneficial.

    JohnnaMartinezKaraAdams
  • We are the same - we give a 4-6 week application window. With a shorter window of application time, it allows us to turn funding around faster, mind you, our applications are not very detailed or time consuming. Charities appreciate knowing that from the application deadline to actual funding approval, is around 4-5 weeks which makes planning easier for them.

    RhondaReichertKaraAdams
  • Our grant cycle opens on November 1st and closes on January 31st. I've been doing this for 13 years and I don't care how long the cycle is open, I get about 10% of my application early, 20% about 1-2 days before the deadline, and the other 70% on the deadline date.

    JohnnaMartinez
  • @jessbarrie ,

    I agree that having a quick turnaround on decisions is important, and I applaud your 4-5 week timeline. That's awesome! However, that timeline will be the same if your window of application time is 2 weeks or 20. We need to be careful not to think the turnaround time includes the apply window -- if so, we might end up with an apply window of only 1 or 2 days in our quest to minimize the turnaround time! 😉

    KaraAdams
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