Archive | February 2013

Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance

Greetings from GrantLessons! We have 62 followers!

You have found an opportunity to write a grant for your chapter. You should be careful to read every detail on the foundation’s website over at least three times. Go to Guidestar and obtain the funder’s Form 990 and read it. Remember your request for funding needs to meet the criteria for which the funder desires to provide funding. Be very careful never to assume that a funder will continue to want to fund the same programs year after year. They can change their minds. It is good practice to monitor the website of your regular funders (what I call continuing grantors) throughout the year. You want as much notice as possible if there is going to be a change in what they want to fund, that they are going from a paper process to an online process or that their deadline timing is changing as to when they will accept an application. This task can be assigned to one of your Grant Committee members.

Depending on the funder, you may be able to ask questions about the process or the application. If something is not clear, be sure to pick up the phone or send an email to get clarification. Remember it is all about the relationship that you are able to build between the funder and your chapter. It is important to remember when funders put on their website that phone calls or emails are not accepted that you respect their wishes not to contact them. As you evaluate whether you are going to complete an application you want to be sure that the valuable time you spend in writing the application results in funding for your chapter’s program. The beauty of having several members who work on the grant writing process in your chapter is when you do have questions about the process or a question on an application, you have another member who you can ask for assistance. One has to remember no two grant applications are ever the same not even when you are writing to the same funder that you wrote to last year.

Prior planning prevents poor performance! Planning to give yourself time to do the evaluation of a funder’s requirements, time to write the grant way before the deadline and getting someone to read the application prior to final submission will help you gain success in your grant writing activities. There are many more tips on the blog at

It looks pretty cold in some parts of the country. Remember Spring is just around the corner. 😉

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

This entry was posted on February 27, 2013. 1 Comment

Promotion, Searching, Taking GrantStation Survey

Greetings from GrantLessons! We have 62 followers! It appears that we are getting one new follower per week. Please keep spreading the word so that at some point we have someone following GrantLessons from each Assistance League chapter. 😉

Today is our Grants Committee meeting. Once a month we come together as writers and supporters of our chapter’s grant writing activities. We hope that everyone comes today because we are having our picture taken as a group. Why you may ask am I writing about this, the reason is to encourage you to have your public relations chairman get a picture of those that write grants in your chapter. There is nothing like putting a face to the words “grant writers” and then posting the picture on your website, Facebook, or publishin in your annual report. And, yes be sure to smile like you did when you got your last grant check. 😉

We had several requests this week on how to search for potential funders for Operation School Bell. When I am searching, I use the following criteria: poverty, children/youth and program/project. One can search by the nation or state. I always start with the state list when I start my evaluation. If you have done a similar search you find that you have a list of 50 to 100 potential funders. Currently, you have to go to each link to determine if the funder will be a match for your chapter’s funding needs. The only thing you are looking for on this first pass is whether the grantor funds applications in your geographic location. This is cumbersome and disappointing when you go to each link to only find that the funder has a lot of resources but that they are only funding applications for cities on the other side of your state. This task takes time and is more fun if you able to find someone to assist you in the process. Also, start a list of those that will not work, i.e., only fund in another geographic location than the one you are in, so that you do not waste time going into the link a second time. 😉

I had an opportunity to discuss our collective desire to have more options in searching by geographic focus with GrantStation this week. In the process, I met Ellen Mower from GrantStation she asked that I share the following link with you and ask you to participate in the GrantStation Spring survey I completed the survey for my chapter. It took about 10 minutes to do. If you are interested you can find the GrantStation Fall Survey on the front page of the GrantStation website, see

The GrantLessons Blog is located at where you can find many resources that will help in your grantwriting.

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

Orienting New Members

Greetings from GrantLessons! We have 61 followers!

It has been a busy week as we continue to put together a few last grants for the year. We had a denial to one of our applications this week. Writing a grant takes time and it is always a disappointment when we don’t get the funding we hoped to get. But, we have to remember that it is the law of averages the more we write the more chances are that we will be successful. So as my dad use to say, “Don’t Worry Be Happy” that you chose to help your chapter out by writing grants. You are a very valuable asset!

I have to tell you a funny story, our Grants Chairman called me up this week to tell me we have a new member who was starting our new member orientation who has written grants before and she wants to join our committee before she has even been through orientation. Now that is every Grants Chairman’s dream! We are very open to people joining our committee especially those who want to help us write grants. However, it is very important that new members receive the proper orientation to the committee. We have an orientation form located under Resources/Downloadable Files/Committee Development that you can adapt to the needs of your chapter’s committee.

Have a fun week, I am in Portland visiting my son and I will even get to visit Assistance League of Portland while I am there.

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

This entry was posted on February 13, 2013. 3 Comments

Budget Summary, Funder Donations, and Great Article

Greetings from GrantLessons! We added a new follwer, and now are at 60 followers.

Our GrantLessons Team had a lot of fun at the National Committee Meeting. We are taking steps to send out a second invitation to our chapter members to invite them to join both GrantStation and GrantLessons. If you are finding GrantLessons Blog, we invite you to tell your Assistance League colleagues about us.

The GrantLessons Team discussed how to present our chapter budget to a funder. Especially with an online application, the Grant Committee member is uploading a file to the grantor website. Many chapters use QuickBooks to handle their accounting needs, which produces a long detailed budget document. The document can be confusing to a grantor; we suggest summarizing the main categories of the budget. We have added a summarized budget document to the GrantLessons Downloadable Tab to help you get started if you should desire to do.

Do you ever get the question, “Are we going to be able to continue getting grants for our programs?” I find that everyone has an opinion on this topic. The Foundation Center has a succinct answer which is a foundation must distribute “five percent of the average market value of its net investment assets in order to avoid paying excise taxes”. For additional information see, Therefore as the economy gets better (we all hope) grantors will make more money and will therefore need to distribute more monies to nonprofits. And, as long as the tax code does not change, foundations have a “payout requirement” to distribute some of their earnings to nonprofit organizations.

GuideStar has an interesting article for those who like to see what is happening in philanthropy and the social economy. Lucy Bernholz produced a report titled, Philanthropy and the Social Economy, Blueprint 2013: The Annual Industry Forecast, which is a free download at . I just got done reading the document, it is a fascinating summary of where donating is going in the future.

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

This entry was posted on February 7, 2013. 1 Comment