The Development Source
In proposal development, organizations often confuse win strategies with win themes, to the detriment of their government grant proposals.
As David Browder of the David Browder Group, LLC points out, a win strategy is your company’s plan for how to win a contract opportunity. Win themes are what you use to organize the content of your proposals. They explain to a government agency why you are best qualified to win the contract in response to a Request for Proposals (RFP). The same approach applies to nonprofit organizations and their response to grant guidelines.
Before you can develop your grant win themes, you must have a good win strategy. There are two reasons why this is necessary. First, your win strategy will help determine whether or not you should submit a proposal in response to a grant opportunity. And second, if you decide to bid, the information you gather through your win strategy will help determine your win themes.
Your win strategy is driven by three factors: the grant guidelines, the government agency, and your company. These are the questions you must consider as you consider a bid.
The Grant Guidelines
What is the need?
What is the scope?
Is the scope central to your organization’s mission?
The Government Agency
What is their mission?
How do the grant guidelines fit into their strategic plan?
How will the decision be made?
What relationship do you have with this government agency?
How can you raise your visibility and reputation with this government agency?
Are you exceptionally well qualified to carry out this grant?
Can you differentiate yourself from the competition?
Do you have the resources, time, and commitment to submit a highly competitive grant proposal?
Once you have answered these questions, you will be in a good position to make a bid/no decision. And once you have made a decision to bid, you will be in a good position to develop thoughtful win themes.
Your win strategy and win themes are complimentary, but they are distinct and one follows the other. Do not confuse them. Your win strategy is the responsibility of your organization’s management. Your win themes are the responsibility of your proposal team, and the target audience is the grant proposal evaluation team.