Now, let me say this is not always an easy process. It can be quite time consuming considering how the entity. It may be a lonely road, the preparation phase for some organizations may consist of many strategic planning sessions and board meetings. It may consist of formally writing program/project visions down in writing and developing budgets for each. It may consist of forecasting. It may consist of recruiting talented and/or impassioned individuals to assist with development phase. There is work to be done in grant readiness. Hard work. I applaud your efforts and due diligence in seeking to attain knowledge and supports enabling your charity and its efforts to be successful. No one wants to work with anything dead, people love lively vibrant things that work well. You being here is a sign that you are ready for change, and ready for success.
My final thought is this. You can measure success, but you can't compare success. Your small nonprofit, or newly formed nonprofit, may not have the same success (financial success) as some of the older and larger nonprofits in your area. Every nonprofit organization had to "start" from the beginning in the same manner. They may have different causes, different, missions, different focuses, different financial needs, different supports, different advisers, but the one thing that is certain is that they all started from the same place. No one ever talks about the ugly, hard, frustrating beginning. People tend to jump right to the middle, where the evidence of the tangibles are present. Missing are the blood, sweat, and tears conjured up to get to the middle and the NOW. With that said, don't look at your financial situation and another older, more established and financial stable charity/nonprofit.
Use this grant readiness to checklist to assess your organization's readiness. Feel free to post questions. I promise to respond. It doesn't have to be a lonely road. You'll never be successful in securing grants if you haven't done the work. Grant Readiness is as important as your nonprofit's bylaws and incorporation documentation. It illustrates to funders, you're compliant. It tells them that you know the rules of engagement, and you are serious and capable of managing their gift in a manner that is pleasing to them and the target audience for which you exist to serve. Again, congratulations on your endeavors, and I look forward to sharing ways to make your grant writing and grant seeking efforts more fruitful.
Kirk's Consulting Services Grant Readiness Checklist: