What Makes A Great Grant Team?

Vince Lombardi once said that “Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” Coach Lombardi is one of the most famous coaches in football history because of his astounding leadership and teamwork on and off the field.


Vince Lombardi once said that “Individual commitment to a group effort -- that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” Coach Lombardi is one of the most famous coaches in football history because of his astounding leadership and teamwork on and off the field. He led many teams to championships and became a role model of coaches worldwide on how to make gains and advances through his knowledge. Join me off the field as I explore through Vince’s wisdom on what makes a great grant team using individual commitment and group effort. 

Teamwork is as much a science as it is an art in all aspects of life; some teams work extremely well together, while others seem to fall apart and/or hinder progress. Children start learning how to be on a team in kindergarten and adults attend trainings on teamwork and work on teams to complete projects. There are many effective resources on how to be a successful team in business, schools and non-profits that I have used in my life. Through my experiences, I have created a list of different teamwork strategies that I have found to be lucrative.

Here are my Five C’s to a Great Grant Team:

1.    Common Mission: The grant team’s mission is essentially its statement of purpose and serves as a guide for all decision-making. Every team member should share the team's overall goal and direction, regardless of their skill and passion. The mission should also educate clients and potential customers about what the grant team believes in and what makes them successful.

2.    Clear Objectives: Objectives are the signposts that will guide you and your team along the road to writing successful grants. Clear objectives are crucial because they will give your grant team a target to aim for and the drive they need to deliver results. Once you complete your tasks, you will be able to compare your objectives with actual performance, to ensure your progress.

3.    Communication: Effective communication is vital to the success of any grant team; communication must be honest and flow between all team members equally. There are many ways to communicate and it is necessary for teammates to agree on the most efficient forms of open communication, especially when the team is working together remotely. Know which team members respond better to email or phone calls and focus on that method or use both. Email is also a great form of documentation.

4.    Competence: All members of the grant team have a variety of skills and knowledge and it is important to utilize all talents among teammates. When creating your grant team, you must ensure that each team member possesses a unique specialty. This allows team members to trust each other for certain aspects of performance, while fully understanding what their own contribution is expected to be.

5.    Commitment and Trust: As in every relationship, commitment and trust will make or break your grant team. All members of your team must be fully committed and give a reasonable amount of time, effort and energy to help reach the team’s goals and objectives. When team members don’t trust each other, or feel jealous of perceived uneven workloads, the whole team and their work suffers. 

Overall, teamwork is generally understood as the willingness of a group of people to work together to achieve a common goal. It is important to know that there is not a cookie cutter way to be a successful team and that some days may be harder than others. Sometimes you may need to look at yourself in the mirror, rather than critiquing your team mates. In her article, Grant Writing Isn’t a Solo Sport, Nicole Sibilski, grant professional, notes: “Having the self-awareness to realize the limits of your professional and personal capacity is daunting and scary, but it is vital. Couple that wisdom with the practical components of teamwork, and your organization can enjoy grant success.” Always remember that strong teamwork creates synergy – where the collaborative effort of the team is greater than the whole of individual efforts.

Get your team ready for grant success by using my 5 C’s to a Great Grant Team and always remember Lombardi’s advice. “The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual.”

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