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Grants Acquisition is a Journey - Did you Bring Your Map?

You're going to need a map to get where you're going!

Grants Journey Mapping, Grants Discovery, Grants Acquisition, Grants Compliance, Grants Readiness

I'm not sure if you're like me but I love to travel. I had reached 115 countries before the pandemic brought travel to a standstill. Travel is my passport to understanding peace and diversity - and my main reward in travel is 'discovery!' Believe it or not - I came to learn that Grants Acquisition is about discovery too because there is no single straight line to success. Your organization's unique grants goal and route needs to be discovered!

Grant writing, Grants Journey Mapping, Grants Discovery, Grants Acquisition, Grants Compliance, Grants Readiness

The Grants House provides organizations and individuals with the right skills, tools and knowledge to manage this grants discovery process - themselves. And the Grants Journey Mapping method is one of those important tools. It is intended to help your organization prepare the groundwork for your Grants Strategy, get the buy-in and commitment from your teams and, to set you on a course for revenue growth over the next 3-5 years. You can do this – on your own - by following the steps described (in detail) in our proprietary Grants Journey Mapping Lessons!

Grants acquisition is a Journey

If grants acquisition is a journey, then that means that you’re taking different types of people on your journey– people with different expectations, personalities and characteristics. You’re packing certain items and necessary gear for your journey, and you’re preparing yourself for any possible challenges or risks that might be along that journey. And like any group excursion for which you might prepare – you want to ensure that all of the participants that are coming with you are engaged in developing the travel itinerary and plan, as well as having a say in terms of where you’re going to go - and what you’re going to see or do. The last thing you want is to have some of your travelling companions disagree on where they want to end up or what you’ll be visiting and doing along the way.

Acquiring grants is not a fixed point in time

Acquiring grants is not a fixed point in time for an organization - and an agency can move forward very quickly – but it can also move backwards in a short period of time as well – particularly if you lose key staff and institutional memory. I’ve seen really effective grant-seeking agencies suddenly go down hill just as fast - once their projects start to close.


If you had guessed that Journey Mapping comes from the commercial sales sector - you’d be right! That’s exactly where it came from. Because journey mapping is about creating a ‘visual representation of the experience that your customers go through with your brand or product – end to end. And I’m going to give you an example of that mapping in a moment, when I share a glimpse into a coffee retailers own journey with their product.

Grants Journey Mapping.  Grants Journey Map.  Product tracking for grants.

Journey mapping helps you in understanding how a customer will see your brand, interact with your products and it will direct you towards the ‘pain points’ that customers are facing that prevents them from purchasing your products and services. It uncovers where the frustrations arise in interactions between groups in relation to a product or service. And after all – you want a smooth experience for all of your customers – and that includes your ambassadors, your staff, your constituents, those benefitting from your services & products, and other stakeholders – and of course - your donors!


A Grant is a Product?

Journey mapping is about tracking and mapping ‘a product’ with an organization's customers and stakeholders. Of course, a product is a Good, Service, or an Intellectual Property that can be offered to a market to satisfy a want or a need. It’s something that’s produced by labour or effort, as a result of an act or a process. Thus, a Grant is something that your organization designs, produces, sells, and markets to its clients, stakeholders or donors - it's a type of product!

We need our organization's departments to have touch-points on our products in a clear and consistent manner. However, goals and activities in organizations are often siloed and very specific to a particular department or team. This can severely limit your overall success. Does that sound familiar?


For Grants acquisition to succeed, you need to find ways of bringing all of your staff into cross-functional teams, together on the same page - or on the same journey - towards a set of common grants objectives in relation to the grant product. I'm sure many can identify at least one person in an organization who is the proverbial boulder in the river that you have to navigate around? The person that just isn't onside or at least isn't getting on board the grants journey.

We all want an organization where our teams are working collectively – in harmony - to achieve the common good. Through Grants Journey Mapping, we want to end up with an organizational culture that is suited to grants acquisition and compliance, especially where everyone will realize that they have a role to play in grants acquisition - and each person knows their touch-point with the grant product.

Grants is a journey.

Every organization will have its’ own unique journey story - and that's why it's impossible to have a blue-print for developing a grants strategy. You can’t borrow it – in other words – from another organization that has already done it. Your organization has a unique starting point, it has a unique destination and you’ll certainly have unique driving features of your organization that will help get you to your destination. And you will have a unique group of travelling companions that are accompanying you on your journey. And like any trip you’ve done with other people – you’ll have those that add value to your trip (making it more enjoyable, memorable and successful) and those that don’t.


No journey should start without a cup of coffee!

Let's look at a case-study from a popular coffee retailer, who used 5 Stages to define their customer and product journey. Each of your respective organizations can identify the # of stages that suits its own journey - but in this case, the company chose Consider, Enter, Engage, Exit and Reflect,” as their stage headers. They felt that it adequately described their customer’s personal journey when deciding to pick the company from which to buy a cup of coffee. Watch the video, below.


You don't want grants to replace your regular work

The early discussions and conversations in your organization – around grants and your strategy - are going to be some of the most important ones - and they might be difficult at first. I prefer the Journey Mapping method (as opposed to process mapping) because it takes the ‘human factor’ into account and takes an appreciative approach to how you will start. After all – you want Grants to be layered into your regular work – not replace it! And preferably – you don’t want it upsetting your existing staffing structure and creating a toxic work environment.


So – you want to understand where you are starting from – then, lay out where you’re planning to go as an organization (with everyone involved) – and ultimately, come to a collective understanding as to what is required by everyone in order to shepherd the introduction of grants into your organization successfully.

Grants Journey Mapping is like directing a movie
Elements of a great proposal; grant proposal; writing a grant proposal; grant writer; grants strategy
Philip Tanner, Grants Coach and Trainer. Founder of The Grants House

I'm Dr. Phil Tanner, founder of The Grants House.

We use 7 stages in our Grants Journey Mapping for organizations with whom we work. These stages follow the basic phases of a Grants passage from development to implementation (pre-award, award and post-award).


You can do it internally - without a consultant! It's a bit like being a movie director. You will have your actors, your plot, your scripts and unique ways of doing things – and there’s a lot of off-site drama and emotional energy that affects the direction of the movie production. And if you take our 2 lessons on Grants Journey Mapping in the GH Grants Course #3, we take you step by step through the process and teach you how to do it!


If you would like more blogs like this, don't forget to give us a 'like' and look for our future blogs from The Grants House.

The Grants House, www.thegrantshouse.com

@The Grants House, 2023

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