Too short to make a difference

The government seems to enjoy stressing out nonprofits, community groups and municipalities. It seems that the normal timeline for a one-off grant is about one month. That is not enough time to read the grant application, decide if you have an existing program that would work or if there is something that would be beneficial to add, let alone apply.

Often, especially with community groups, the job of applying falls to volunteers.

One month from news release to application deadline is ridiculous. Especially, if you consider the news cycle.

Those small communities lucky enough to have newspaper usually only have a weekly one, such as the Lakeside Leader of the South Peace News. Depending on when the news release comes out, it could be a week or week and a half before the article is published.

Then in the very unusual case where the minister decides to communicate directly with rural newspapers, that takes about a week, with another week to get published. The four weeks are now down to two.

That is nowhere near enough time to have an emergency board meeting and for a group of volunteers to wrap their heads around a grant.

Half the time, The Leader just forwards the news release to any group which might be interested and doesn’t bother writing an article. It’s not really local news until a local group gets approved and uses the funds.

People might hear about it from the bigger news agencies, but it seems like the government doesn’t actually want people to apply. It seems like the whole grant announcement schedule is a PR gimmick to make the government look good rather than a way to get funding into communities.

This is especially difficult for one-off grants which may be within the scope of work of a group, but are unlikely to be able to fund their day-to-day operations. For recurring operational grants, which are pretty much guaranteed, a short window isn’t quite as frustrating, but even then the cycle of grant applications, reporting, and applying is exhausting.

Community groups are struggling and most don’t have someone who enjoys writing grants. Anything grant funders like the government can do to make their life easier is worth it.

Giving groups more time between announcement and application deadline could make a world of difference to small groups looking to fund the good work that they do in their communities. At the same time, the organization will likely not hear for months after they apply. If there’s a month for groups to apply, the funder should respond in a month.

The same goes for municipal and nonprofit employees. They are already working very hard. Adding a grant application to their workload on a very short turn around isn’t realistic. Very few groups have a dedicated grant writer, so this work is done on the side of their desks.

Share this post

Post Comment