Anyone who has applied for government funding knows that the process is complex and frustrating. Everything from understanding the government funding program to grant writing preparation to submission can take a toll on you. This is why hiring a government grant consultant to help you with the process can be highly beneficial. A grant consultant knows all there is to know about government funding. They will help you grasp the funding landscape, use their proven techniques to identify the most suitable program for your projects and optimize your application to give you a better chance at getting funding.
It is, however, essential that you establish a smooth working relationship with your government grant consultant in order to make the most of their expertise and experience. Here are a few tips that can help you do that.
- Communicate Your Needs Earlier On
Before a consultant forges a strategy to try and get you government funding, they must clearly understand your unique needs. You have to explain these as clearly and concisely as you can. Make sure that the grant consultant has your company’s vision and mission statements and other key documents that will help them gain insight into what you are all about. They also need to know about any underlying issues that are not openly discussed and which may have a direct impact on the application. For example, are there any wars in the office that may affect their work? And who are the leaders of the company they should know about?
- Establish A Good Relationship
When you hire a consultant, you are basically laying the foundation for a relationship that could potentially push your organization to the top in years to come. Take your time to lay the right foundation from the get-go. Apart from communicating your needs, seek to answer all the questions the consultant may have.
Also, be sure to lay bare the scope of work you expect from them including clear timelines, specific deliverables, and a set budget. Go over your communication channels. Are you comfortable with communication via email or phone? How about face-to-face meetings at certain project milestones? Provide your grant consultant with all the introductions, background information, and infrastructure support if needed.
- Stay On Top Of The Project
After hiring a grant consultant, most business owners take a step back and leave everything in the hands of the professional. This is especially true if there are other people within the team responsible for handling the funding along with the consultant. Well, this is not a very smart thing to do if you want a smooth and effective working relationship with your consultant. You should realize what you can’t delegate what requires your attention. Build enough time to stay on top of your project by checking in with your consultant from time to time. Go over any concerns, review reports, challenges, and findings.
- Give Feedback
Even the most intelligent and confident grant consultant needs regular feedback from you about their performance. This helps them know what is working and areas they need to improve on. Give your input about any available funding programs, updates, and applications at your earliest to fast track things.
- Set Them Up Fast
Starting a new job is daunting for most people. Grant consultants are no exception. They, too, go through this uncomfortable experience every time they take on a new client. If your consultant will be working closely with a number of your employees, consider helping them ease into their company fast. Help them get acquainted with everyone they’ll be working with and the project they will be handling. This doesn’t only help things move faster, but it also fosters great working relationships from the beginning.
- Keep Your Guard Up
Finally, you need to be vigilant when working with a government grant consultant. Some consultancy firms are notorious for not delivering on every promise they make to their clients. Sure, go ahead and trust them with handling the project to its completion but stay alert in case something goes off. Ideally, a grant consultant should do all they can to optimize your application for government funding programs. However, some do half the job then demand the full payment. This is why you should clearly state your expectations on the contract. If you feel you have been duped or taken advantage of at any point, speak up before proceeding. Don’t relent until you are certain the consultant has done all they said they would do.
Whether you are a novice or expert applicant for a government funding program, a government grant consultant can mean the difference between getting the funding and not getting it. It is, however, important to establish a smooth working relationship to increase your chances of getting your hands on the funding. If you’ve had challenges working with one in the past, consider the tips suggested here.