Archive | October 2012

Submitting a Proposal

Greetings from GrantLessons we have 53 followers. Over the last couple of weeks, we have been focusing on the writing of our first proposal. We are ready to submit our proposal. Now is when we sit back for a few minutes and why we want to complete the proposal well before the deadline. First, go back and reread the requirements of the funder. Now, look at your proposal and determine that you have included everything that the funder requested. The writer needs to use an active voice in their writing. A passive voice signals sloppy or lazy thinking. The writer must examine their writing to make sure they are not saying the same thing twice or being redundant. Lastly, it is important to have one of your fellow grant committee members read your proposal looking for grammar and spelling errors.

The writer will submit the proposal either by paper or online. The requirements are different. In submitting a paper proposal, it is important to make sure the required documents arrive at their destination. The submitter should send the package with a post office confirmation form. The submitter who completes their proposal online will eventually hit the submit button and generally will receive confirmation by email that the proposal has been submitted. The submitter needs to complete the grants committee requirements for their files. It is important to place the folder in the filing cabinet and place an electronic copy of the file into Dropbox so that the Treasurer and others can find the documentation.

At our local chapter, we are working at completing our GuideStar profile. Two members from our Grants Committee determined working on gathering the information and entering the data together would make the process go faster. Additionally, the members provide a double check to make sure that the members enter the information correctly. GuideStar has completed YouTube videos to help the learner in the process. The following link provides a 36 minute video on the process and is worth watching if you want more detail about completing your chapter’s GuideStar profile . We expect it will take a few more weeks before we have the time and information to finish our profile.

Catch me when you can and I will catch up with you soon. Sandie

This entry was posted on October 31, 2012. 1 Comment

Narrative and Budget

Greetings from GrantLessons, we continue at 50 followers.

Last week we got started with writing the proposal. When we write a narrative, we are providing information to the funder about our program and how we would plan to spend the money should the funder decide to approve our request. It is important that the budget we plan demonstrate the expenses that we plan to spend. Prior to submitting the final proposal be sure to put the narrative and the budget together on the table at the same time. Look at what you are writing in the narrative and make sure that the expenses are reflected in the budget and vice versa. Be sure that both are consistent.

For example, if your narrative mentions purchasing clothes for Operation School Bell but the cost of the clothes are not accounted for in the budget, something is wrong. Similarly, if you add a budget line item for grooming kits but don’t mention that you are giving them out at your Operation School Bell event, in your narrative, there is a problem.

In addition, if you should be lucky enough to get a check for more than you requested or a funder comes in and requests that you complete a grant application and you gain more money than you anticipated for your program, then do a budget adjustment reflecting the windfall. Be sure to put the new budget into Dropbox. And, yes, it can happen 😉

Now, here are a few more words on GuideStar. After more discussion our grants committee has decided to use a team approach to complete GuideStar. Therefore we completed screen prints of the GuideStar profile (you will note black lines that defaces the data that was put on the form) so that we could determine which member would be responsible for gathering specific information. You can get a downloadable file of the GuideStar profile by going to the “Resources Tab” on the GrantLessons Blog ( and looking for the Guidestar Profile link.

The document is 24 pages long. Don’t get overwhelmed you will find that you have most of the information and some pages have only one question (screen prints take a lot of space). When there are options for the answers, such as, your state you will not be able to see the answers (the list of the states). You can add a note to any section that you desire to provide additional information. It is important that you “think” like a funder when you complete the profile for your organization.

Almost time to think about the Halloween pumpkin for the front porch, whether the sons are coming for Turkey Day, and starting the Holiday gift list 😉

Catch me when you can and I will catch up with you soon. Sandie

This entry was posted on October 24, 2012. 1 Comment

Writing a Compelling Program Narrative

Greetings from GrantLessons, we continue at 51 followers. From the post last week you may remember we were working together (new grant writer and myself) to find some new grantors. We now have four new  prospects and we need to determine if we want to write a grant for any or all of them. Our chapter’s grant committee will meet today. We will look at what grants have come in over the last month and then collectively determine if we want to write some additional grants. It is important to make sure we balance the ability to bring in money with the chapter’s capacity to handle the responsibilities of spending the money.

Assuming that we want to write a new grant and that we have all our required documents collected (budget, audited financials, etc put into Dropbox) we are now ready to write the document that will be the “heart” of the grant proposal the program narrative. It is important to read over the grantor’s requirement prior to writing the narrative. One also needs to determine if there is a word count requirement for online submissions. In other words, an online submission may limit the number of characters or words that can be used in describing the information being requested in this case the description of the program.

Writing a good program narrative is part art and part science. It helps if the program has been established for a period of time so one has some outputs to use, such as, the number of children clothed in the Operation School Bell program during the last year. In writing a good narrative here are some tips:

1. Put your good writing hat on (know your grammar and spelling issues)

2. Simple is better, be sure to write in the active voice

3. Remember the funder knows nothing about your chapter, paint a picture

4. Support your writing with current data

5. Know what you are asking for and why you are asking, tell a compelling story

6. Tell your story with passion

7. Proofread what you write

8. Ask someone else to critique what you have written

Much of what we have done to date on GrantLessons has had to do with organizing documents in Dropbox and using GrantStation to find a grantor. For many this may be the hardest step writing a winning program narrative. Take your time find some of the English teachers in your chapter and get them to assist you if necessary.

If you want an example, check out the “Downloadable Files” under the “Resource” tab at GrantLessons. Scroll down until you come to the “Writing” section where you will find a sample program narrative. The file is downloadable.

How are you doing with your GuideStar Profile? We are going to discuss this at our grants committee meeting today. First look tells me we have a lot of information to collect and upload. More on that next week.

Hope you are enjoying the cooler weather and the pretty leaves . . .

Catch me when you can and I will catch up with you soon. Sandie

This entry was posted on October 17, 2012. 1 Comment

Searching for Grantor Prospects and Chase Bank Initiative

Greetings from GrantLessons, we continue at 51 followers. Today I am working with a grant committee member to search for new grantors using GrantStation. One of the tools I am using is the Grantor Name Searched form. Under the Example/Funding Sources tab at you can find an example of the form titled, “Grantor Name Searched”. The purpose of the form is to keep track of the grantors one has evaluated so that one does not waste time looking at the grantor a second time. Additionally, for whatever reason if you no longer are the one doing the searching for your committee, the next person will know which grantors you reviewed and why you determined them not worthy of your time to write a grant. Further, if you want to use this file, you can go to the Resources/Downloadable File and download it as an Excel worksheet. The file is called the “Grantor Name Searched” file. We will save our Excel worksheet to the chapter’s Dropbox online file management so anyone on our team has access to it.

Today when I work with the grant member one of us will search GrantStation and another one will keep track of which grantors we have reviewed. We will use two computers to do the process, one with GrantStation open and one with the Excel spreadsheet open. The process will go much faster with two of us working on it and it will be a lot more fun! And, I am about having fun in anything I do 😉

We at GrantLessons are still interested in the Chase Bank initiative which was an experiment in using social media by a grantor to donate to charities. Looks like the winners have been determined. We are unsure if any of Assistance League Chapters who completed the profiles as directed by Chase Bank actually received any funding. Please let us know. We want to learn as much about this initiative in the next few months so that when we get to April/May 2013 we can look at what we can do to maximize our ability to gain some of the Chase funding for our chapter’s programs.

See!/ChaseCommunityGiving/app_162065369655  . Note the top winner got 93, 534 votes and with that a check for $250,000.

It is good to be home from my trip to Illinois where I celebrated Christmas with my big family, all 12 of my brothers and sisters. It was a great week and the weather was nice and warm unlike December in the Windy City.

Catch me when you can and I will catch up with you soon. Sandie

Making a Comment

Greetings from GrantLessons, we have 51 followers. Today I am in Illinois visiting with family and taking a rest from writing grants. This is a good time for you to go into the blog on your computer, if you are reading this by email and poke around to see what we have available for you to use.

Check out the different tabs. There are many resources including videos and downloadable files. You may find something that can help you or you may find that what you are looking for isn’t there. After reviewing let us know what else you would like to see on GrantLessons to make your job easier as a new grant writer and/or how your experience with grant writing is coming along. Then hit the “Leave a  Comment” button below the post and make a comment. Go ahead even if you are just “lurking”. We desire for this to be an interactive process where we can share with each other. Go ahead and try it out. Come on you can do it. 😉

Catch me when you can and I will catch up with you soon. Sandie

This entry was posted on October 3, 2012. 1 Comment