How Do I Prepare for a Grant Interview?

When you are preparing for a grant interview, it can be nearly impossible for your nonprofit to predict every question that the funding source will ask. Even so, preparation is key to a successful grant interview. While you may never feel fully prepared for a grant interview, with practice, you can be confident enough to clearly answer almost any question thrown your way.

GrantWatch wants your nonprofit to be as successful as it can be, which means making sure your nonprofit has all the resources it needs to win grants. For this reason, GrantWatch is sharing six tips today to help your nonprofit prepare for a grant interview.

1. Know Your Audience

It is imperative that you know who the funder is, inside and out. Knowing who your audience is and how to appeal to them can make or break your grant interview. Do as much research on the organization as you can. By using GrantWatch’s 990 Finder and Foundation Search, you can read the funder’s mission statement and past financial information, including who the funder has donated to before. If you are familiar with the funder’s committee members, prior funding awards, and values, you will feel much more at ease when meeting them in person. Furthermore, when preparing for a grant interview, it is best to review the funder’s guidelines again and read your submitted grant application thoroughly and carefully.

2. Have Accurate Statistics

Philanthropy is changing in a major way. Many grant funders have an investment mindset. They are looking for a return on their investment or ROI from your program. This return can be shown by how much of a community impact your organization is having, but you will still need to professionally explain how you are tracking your results. To prepare for a grant interview, make sure you have accurate statistics on hand for your meeting. Providing clear examples of how an investment in your program will directly multiply your impact will increase your chances of being funded.

3. Always Be Honest

In a grant interview, you will be expected to accurately answer detailed questions about your proposal, your team’s experience, and your funding request. If you do not know the answer to a question, respond appropriately. Don’t make something up, be honest with your answers. The purpose of the meeting is to demonstrate how your project aligns with the potential funder’s goals and objectives. The funder will know if you are faking passion.

4. Give Real-Life Examples

Funders want to see how your program has helped the community. You can show this by providing a clear plan with a positive outcome. If you are a startup provide an outline of how your program will help. If you are an already-existing nonprofit, make sure to share some real-life stories demonstrating the work you do. This will allow the committee to have an understanding of the real-life challenges those you are serving face.

5. Be Ready for Anything

A grant interview is a meeting with a potential funder to discuss your project, idea, organization, or proposal. However, to truly prepare for a grant interview you must be ready for the question you can’t answer. It’s going to happen. Be truthful and let them know that there is someone at your organization better able to answer that question. Write the question down and let them know you will get an answer and respond promptly.

6. Have a Positive Attitude

The most important step you can take in preparing for a grant interview is to remember to have a positive attitude. Funding sources want to talk to someone who is happy and excited about the work they are doing. Keep in mind, that just getting the interview is a big win for your organization! Demonstrate a clear interest in the grant. Stay focused, enthusiastic, and optimistic. You can only prepare for a grant interview so much. At the very least, a grant interview is an opportunity to build a relationship for the future, even if you don’t get funding this time around.

GrantNews Notes

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