Archive | November 2012

Grant Writing Orientaton

Greetings from GrantLessons, we continue with 55 followers. GrantStation has released their Fall 2012 The State of Grantseeking Report, you can download a copy at http://www.grantstation.com/ . The report is long but there is one strong message for us. The message is “Almost one quarter of respondents told us that their greatest challenge in grantseeking was the lack of time and/or staff”.

Have you given any thought in your chapter about training a new member to assist in your work? Perhaps one of the best ways to do this training is to have the new grant commitee member sit with you as you actually complete a grant. This is particularly important when doing an online grant to show them how the process works.

You can find a downloadable file for an orientation form at Resources/DownloadableFile/Committee Development. You can customize the form to work for your chapter. Next week, I will be orienting two new members to our chapter’s grant writing process and I will be using this form to make sure that I do not miss any important components.

During the process of completing our GuideStar Exchange Seal profile, we learned more about doing reviews so that when funder comes to GuideStar to look at potential organizations, they can see comments made about the organization. Look at our chapter’s reviews by going http://www.guidestar.org/ and searching for the Assistance League of Reno-Sparks. On the right side of the screen, you can see the reviews that our chapter members entered. There will be more to come on this important element.

For now, I am having fun celebrating news about one of our programs that made the news. Take a minute and check out this link http://bit.ly/Tlygjy, it is a great story. There will be more to come on working with your Public Relations Committee as part of your grant writing process.

The leaves are finally off the front lawn and now it is time to get serious about the holiday season. Have fun and stay warm!

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

Writing a Compelling Narrative/Case Statement

Good Morning from GrantLessons, we have 55 followers. Today most of us are traveling or preparing the Turkey feast for our families. Making a good turkey feast requires great recipes. The same goes for writing a good case statement for your grant proposal. GrantLessons has had a request for more information on how to write a compelling case statement.

In our training materials for GrantLessons, we use the term “narrative” which is the same thing as a case statement. Using either term, case statement or narrative, the writer‘s challenge is to craft a compelling argument for their grant proposal. Here are a few tips to consider:

  • Sell the solutions not the problems being addressed;
  • A few statistics are helpful, however, testimonials will often bear more credibility;
  • Use an active voice making positive statements; and
  • Get to the point by editing and avoid redundancy.

Use three committee members to write the case statement. The dialogue between the committee members will flush out extraneous material and make the case statement or narrative concise, to the point and compelling. Be sure the committee members are knowledgeable about the program. A grant member cannot write a compelling case statement without working closely with the staff that is implementing the program.

You can find a downloadable file for a case statement or a narrative on the GrantLessons Blog. The file is located at Resources/Downloadable File/Writing/Program Narrative. Once you have a compelling narrative (case statement), be sure to place it in DropBox so it is available to all committee members.

If you have been reading GrantLessons, you know in my chapter we have been working on gaining our GuideStar Exchange Seal. We hit the “submit” button for our GuideStar profile on Monday. On Tuesday, we received our GuideStar Exchange Seal! Yah! Next, we will be working on learning how to display the seal on our website. More to come . . .

Enjoy your time with family or friends. We will see you next week on GrantLessons.

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

Waiting for the Response to a Grant Proposal

Good Morning from GrantLessons, we have 3 new followers.  A couple of weeks ago we finished up our proposal. We have been waiting for a response. The fastest response I ever got from a grant proposal that I submitted was one month and that is because the grantor asked the chapter to submit the proposal with the intent of funding our program. Most grants that our chapter has completed take anywhere from 2 to 6 months to get a response. It would be easy to forget what grants we have written if we do not keep track of the ones submitted and the decision we received.

We complete a Chronological Grant Binder Worksheet that provides basic information about the grant proposal made. We keep letters received by the grantor in this binder. It is a simpler method where the chairman can check on the status of a grant without having to go into the hard files to find. See Examples/Submission/Chronological Grant Binder Worksheet. A downloadable file is included under the Resources Tab, see Resources/Downloadable Files/Submission/Chronological Grant Binder Worksheet.

We use a process for tracking the status of our grant activity on an Excel spreadsheet. See/Examples/Submission/Monthly Grant Standings Worksheet. A  downloadable file is included under the Resources Tab, see Resources/Downloadable Files/Submission/Monthly Grant Standing Worksheet.

Our chapter’s work on getting our GuideStar profile is almost complete, more on that next week.

We heard of another chapter who has received a check for $335.30 from the Chase Community Bank Challenge.

Leaves have fallen, weather has gotten colder, and I am starting to think about Christmas, but wait Turkey Day is next week. So its first things first 😉

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

This entry was posted on November 14, 2012. 1 Comment

Letter of Inquiry (LOI)

Good Morning from GrantLessons. We are just back from the National Committee meeting in Burbank where we discussed Letters of Inquiry (LOI). Here are a few thoughts on when and how to use LOIs. Funders come in all sizes from local community foundations to large million dollar funders. So how does a nonprofit organization engage a funder or how does a funder desire to be approached?

The best way to engage a funder is through a conversation. However, many funders do not have the time to respond to the hundreds of inquiries that they receive.

In order to many the number of inquiries that a funder can have, they often use a LOI process. A LOI is a condensed summary of the inquirer’s grant proposal. The funder wants to know that the organization is a 501(c)(3) organization. The funder is looking to see that the inquiry for funding matches what they desire to fund. Lastly, they want to get a sense the request for funds is credible or in their opinion worthy of being funded.

The LOI can be completed by online or paper as directed by the funder. In an online LOI, the grant member completes the fields as requested. See Examples/Writing/Letter of Inquiry (Online) under Resources Tab. After the funder receives the LOI the grant member completes the LOI online, an email will be sent to the grant member either telling them to proceed to completing a proposal or there is a denial to proceed.

A paper LOI should be short and to the point. The funder is looking for the same information as described above. Be sure to include your email address and website address in the LOI. See/Examples/Writing/Letter of Inquiry (Paper)).

GrantLessons makes it easy for you to get started.  There is a downloadable file for a LOI. See Resources/Downloadable Files/Writing/ Example – Letter of Inquiry (paper).

We are making good progress on completing our GuideStar Profile for our chapter. It really was not as hard as we originally thought it would be.

Lastly, we have heard of at least one Assistance League chapter who has received a check of $335.30 for completing the Chase Community Bank Challenge. You can see more information at http://tinyurl.com/b53w3f8 . GrantLessons will keep this on our radar screen for next year.

Halloween and the national political races are complete, now we are onto Turkey preparation.

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