The People's Process. It’s term we throw around often. But what is it? By way of Haile Fellow Brad Cooper’s suggestion, it’s time we explain a bit more.
What is it really?
The People’s Process is a nine-step guide to a better grant application. But it’s useful elsewhere, too. We use the same process internally when cooking up new ideas and putting them into practice. In fact, The Haile Foundation built CoSIGN CINCY using this model. If completed in order and in full, we’ve found this roadmap to be a perfect organizer, taking chaotic, unstructured thoughts floating around your personal headspace, and turning them into something meaningful.
What does it do?
The People’s Process helps you start thinking strategically about all aspects of your project idea—many of which you’ll need to have thought out prior to applying for a grant—and helps pave the way for long-term project planning. We challenge everyone applying for a project grant to give it a look as you tackle the application process.
It’s simple. Nine-steps. We’ll detail a few we think are extra special, but suggest downloading the guide—it’s free, and printable—to take full advantage of the process.
IDENTIFY the challenge you wish to solve.
PARTNER with key people to share ownership of the challenge.
RESEARCH other projects and related ideas.
DESIGN your innovative solution.
PLAN for action.
PACKAGE your idea with good design and clear language.
TEST your solution in the field.
DOCUMENT and share your story.
EVALUATE your actions and thank all partners.
Breaking it down
Identify an opportunity or challenge you wish to solve. Anyone can dream up a great idea, but as we all know, getting an idea launched and into the world is much more challenging. What problems do you see in your backyard? What opportunities are Cincinnati missing out on? Discover a project that facilitates the resolution of that problem or sheds a new light. The challenge can be big or small. Remember: Fall in love with the problem, not the solution.
We’re not talking about a logo. We’re talking about smart solutions that are simple and durable. What’s your idea? How will it make an impact? More importantly, what does success look like? Dissect every bit of the project idea. Think about aspects of your idea that could go wrong or aspects that might stir up some chatter. Could those effects be beneficial, or might they provide a roadblock to your success. Stew on your epiphanies; use them to improve your unique solution.
Details. Details. Details. Who is your audience, and how will you connect with them? Start to dissect a budget and timeline (10K, 10 months)—you’ll need to submit both on the application anyway. Planning in detail now will force you to realize your project’s limitations. If it can’t be done for 10K, reevaluate your solution. After all, feasibility is our panel’s #1 priority when selecting grantees.
Craft your application answers carefully and succinctly. These words pitch your project, not you. A great idea can’t be sifted from the crowd if it’s storyline is not clearly, intelligibly and expressively detailed within the application. This is, perhaps, the most important step of your project’s creation. Words matter. Choose them wisely.
Again, we cannot emphasize this enough: test the process. We think it will help you, not only in this application cycle, but in any future grant applications you put together. Know your challenge, know your solution and most importantly, know your story. That is all.