Leading up to our January 6, 2014 grant application deadline, we’re featuring various Innoweave grantees and their experiences getting funding to further their goals. Organizations that have not attended an Innoweave Workshop may submit an Expression of Interest by December 3, 2013. Successful organizations will be invited to apply for a grant. Click here to learn more.
Hamoon Ekhtiari of Cx got an Innoweave grant in a few simple steps.
There’s an ugly truth that people don’t like to talk about: A tool, however sharp and perfectly honed, is only useful if the organization wielding it is ready and able to use it.
Innoweave takes this truth seriously, which is why there’s a simple 5-step process that an organization typically follows. The process is designed to help you focus on what matters and avoid spending precious time on things that aren’t valuable. Typically, you can:
- Learn about new ways to enhance your impact on the web or on webinars
- Take a short self-assessment to determine whether a new approach is worth developing for your organization
- Attend a workshop with your leadership team to figure out how you’ll apply the approach and what you need to do next
- Connect with a coach who can help you answer key questions and get ready to implement (Innoweave has a database of 80+ skilled coaches)
- Access funding to hire a coach
But what if your organization is already really clear about what it wants to do and what questions it still needs to answer to move forward? What if you’re confident that your organization is ready to connect with a coach?
This is exactly what happened with Rolling Horse, a community bike-repair program under ForestView Church who used the Expression of Interest process to apply for a Social Enterprise implementation grant. “I would have loved to have attended a workshop to really learn more about what our options are and the ways to get there,” says Paul Millar, Director of Outreach at ForestView Church. While the timing of the workshops wasn’t right for ForestView, they had already begun developing their social enterprise idea, which provided the foundation for an EOI created in consultation with their coach, Chris Moss.
Here’s how the process works:
Organizations submit an Expression of Interest. Innoweave invites organizations that demonstrate both a clear idea of what they want to do and clear questions that they need to answer to submit a full grant application.
“I found the grant process to be very fair and reasonable,” Millar says. (You can read more about Rolling Horse’s specific challenges here.) “It was a good exercise as it allowed us to review and clearly state our objectives and identify our challenges in achieving our objectives.”
Hamoon Ekhtiari of CATALYSTSx (Cx) had a similar experience submitting an Expression of Interest for a Cloud Computing project. His organization is all about helping remarkable Canadians connect with each other as well as the knowledge, resources and technology to make positive change in the most effective and sustainable ways.
Ehktiari came to Innoweave already clear on his objectives for a Cloud Computing project: “For us, as a lean organization with a national team, it is critical to have a set of tools that allows us to operate as a high-performance team and organization. With Radical Sharing being a core principle in our management philosophy, it was also important to make as much of our work as transparent as possible.”
Once you’ve secured your grant
Of course, the real work begins after you’ve secured your grant and start the coaching process. “There’s lots of homework!” laughs Paul Millar. “We had a great initial meeting in September and got a list of the what skillsets to look for in the volunteers we recruited. Now we’re working on our market analysis and preliminary cashflow statement.”
Hamoon Ekhtiari already has an “AHA!” moment to share about the project they are implementing, “The most significant ‘aha’ moment has been understanding the existing digital footprint of our users and mapping our tools based on that.”
When asked if he had any advice for other organizations considering submitting an Expression of Interest, Ekhtiari smiles. “Just go for it! It’s a great, focused piece of support to help you with the transition to the new world of work and learning!”
Our next Expression of Interest deadline is December 3rd, 2013, with full grant applications due January 6, 2014. To learn more, click here.