As I mentioned in my last post, my department at work recently completed an audit of our communication strategies and tools. I work for an institution of higher education, and one of the reasons that our team decided to do this audit was to come up with ways to engage a greater number of faculty and staff in grant seeking activities.
We are also hoping to get involved with faculty earlier in the project planning process so that we can help them produce more responsive (and successful) proposals. This desire stems from having just 45 days (or less in some cases) to respond to a federal RFP – although this is a good practice in general. Doing so will also help us in targeting our research for grant opportunities if we know what faculty are looking for funding for.
Completing the audit provided for good discussion and brainstorming for our team, and we came up with some ways for building a more customer-centered service model that we think may help us achieve our overall goals. And while our plan is to engage faculty, I think that you will find that our ideas are applicable for most work place scenarios. Here is a very brief list of what we will be doing over the next few months:
- Publicize “project incubator” services
- Promote grant consultation and project development services as an essential step in the grant development process.
- Pilot new facilitation processes for grant planning and project development meetings.
- Reserve meeting spaces on campus that provide the right environment for creative teams to work on project development: rooms with movable furniture, easy access to technology, white boards, etc.
- Implement the use of targeted communications
- Develop marketing materials and a calendar for targeting specific groups (e.g., first time grant seekers, leadership of departments not historically involved in grant seeking, external partners, etc.).
- Implement new communication tools (e.g., newsletter, personal notes to teams, project specific follow-up communications to funders, etc.).
- Create new & improved resources for grant seekers
- Develop and finalize a menu of core services.
- Create funder-specific tool kits, proposal resource library, etc.
We want to help our faculty and staff take their idea from basic concept to grant fundable project. While most people have a general idea about we offer, most don’t know the extent of the services we can provide. We are hoping that this new approach will help us work toward our goal to engage more grant seekers, while providing the best customer service to meet their needs.
Have you thought about how you might better engage your staff? If so, here is a Communication Audit Template to help you get started. Happy planning!