That question is not asking “are you ready for grant money?”
Everybody needs money, and organizations are no exception, which is why some pursue grant money to assist them to do the work they’re set out to do. More than $700 billion in free government grants are given out to individuals and organizations each year so often new or small organizations, in particular, are eager to get started applying for this free money.
So, you know that your organization needs funding in order to survive, run, and grow. But, if someone offered you $20,000 right now, would you be able to explain exactly where you would spend that money in a compelling and rational way? Do you have your “elevator pitch” ready? No one (well, your parents maybe) will give you money if you cannot explain, convince, and make the case that you need it, and that it will be used for a higher purpose with a successful result.
To be grant ready means that you are 100% ready to submit a grant application with high expected success.
A person does not wake up and spontaneously decide she’s going to compete in a race that day simply because there’s a gold medal prize to be won. She would have to plan and prepare for the race in order to ensure that her body is able to perform in a way that matches her desire and prove to the competition that she is a worthy contender. Many do not realize, or lose sight of the fact, that the grant application process is also a competition.
Successfully obtaining thousands of dollars from one of the hundreds of thousands of grants available takes a great deal of intentional thought and preparedness in order to produce a quality, competitive application. Although many will be taking part in the grant application process and striving for the same goal (funding, not a gold medal), this is a contest of merit which by definition is “the quality of being particularly good or worthy, especially so as to deserve praise or reward.”
If you cannot articulate how you want to use the money you are competing for, and cannot prove that your organization is reward worthy, you are not “grant ready”. Sure, you may be able to participate in the grant application race, but you are not likely to come out the winner. Taking the time to learn not only what being grant ready means but also how to be grant ready is a recommended next step to getting you closer to that finish line with a reward in hand.