Archive | March 2013

A Meeting with the Funder

Greetings from GrantLessons! Well it was a fun afternoon today. The funder had walked into our Thrift Store a year ago unannounced and left giving our Links to Learning Program a $50,000 grant. Now a year later she wanted to see how the monies her family had donated had been spent. She was looking for the program’s process and outcomes. All year we knew this meeting was coming. The program is called Links to Learning where we invite local teachers from our community to submit requests to help them with their work in the classroom. We had provided 208 local teachers from 18 elementary schools with awards up to $300 each to help them with supplies and other things they needed for their classroom. Additionally, the program had been able to provide 3 middle schools with $15,000 each for a larger project. The chapter had met the challenge and raised another $50,000 and so we had $100,000 to award. Two chairman run the program Annie and Patti and together they had organized a team of chapter members to go out to the schools to explain the program to the teachers. The program requires that an evaluation be completed as to how the teacher used the funding.

Annie did the presentation, she was concise and to the point. She was impressive in that she had a couple of 3 inch binders with everything that was needed, that is, the applications that the funder wanted to see and the evaluations right down to the actual receipt for the expenditure. Further, she had example after example of thank you letters from the teachers and the students. The point made by the funder was that she was impressed by the outcome data that we were able to provide. As we develop our programs, it is essential that we include an evaluation component if we expect to receive funding. Funders are becoming more and more sophisticated in desiring to see how their monies have been used. The days are over when the blank check is filled out without any later accountability. It is essential as grant writers that we work closely with the chairmen of each of our chapter’s programs to make sure that they are putting an evaluation component into their program.

Oh and by the way, the funder left today assuring us that we will get another $50,000 after we fill out what she called, the “Continuing Challenge Grant” paperwork. Yes, we have to find a $50,000 match again this next year. I took great joy in filling out that paperwork. It turns out the paperwork was exactly like the previous year’s application which I had saved (remember Dropbox) and so I just had to update a few fields and resubmit it, so much fun 😉 The only other thing I have to do is keep the name of the anonymous funder a secret, my lips are sealed.

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

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

Grant Calendar and Preparing for New Grant Writers

Greetings from GrantLessons!

I was checking the calendar this morning and see that Easter is coming up real soon, like March 31st. Another important calendar is the Grants Calendar. One thing for sure foundations give out their monies once a year. Each foundation works off their own calendar and they are all different. When you are checking out GrantStation and find a potential grantor, it is disappointing to find out that one has missed the grantor’s deadline. However, it is important to put the information on a long-range calendar. The new Grants Committee Chairman can use the calendar to assist in making assignments (remember one needs to work on building a team of people who will write grants for your Chapter). We have found that it takes a minimum of six weeks from the time one starts an application to its completion. An important element in writing an application is to have a second person read the application looking for errors. It is important to plan to give the second person plenty of time to be able to read and comment on the application.

If you are lucky enough to find some new grant writers that join your Chapter, one of the biggest problems they will have is learning the Chapter’s programs. They know how to write a grant. Now they need to learn about the Chapter’s programs. You can help this process along by developing a Program Information Sheet for each program that your Chapter has that would benefit from grant funding. Many grant applications request the following information: Name of program, year program established, short description of program (150 characters), longer description of program, chairperson for current year, chairperson for next year, number of recipients served during last year, number of recipients projected for next fiscal year, number of volunteers who worked in program during current fiscal year, number of service hours used in current fiscal year, current fiscal year budget, projected fiscal year budget, and public relations received during the last year. Remember, to go to http://www.grantlessons.wordpress.com to find more information about grant writing.

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

This entry was posted on March 20, 2013. 1 Comment

Spring Cleaning and Revitalization

Greetings from GrantLessons!

The weather is turning much warmer here in Reno. Spring is a good time for cleaning and renewal! A couple of weeks ago I told you that our chapter was fortunate to have someone in our orientation class who was going to be interested in writing grants. I met her this week and how lucky we are to have someone with so many skills want to join our team 😉 One of the most important things you can do is to engage several people in the process of making up your chapter’s Grant Committee. As we know with every group there is turnover, one thing we want to do is leave a legacy for those who come after us.

We at GrantLessons believe one of the most difficult tasks a Grants Committee Chairman will need to accomplish is finding and training individuals to work on their team. Whether you have a large or small chapter, check out the skills of the individuals who are members of your chapter and the new members who join, you could be surprised who will be able to help in the chapter’s grant writing activities.

Locally as part of our Spring clean-up, we have been working on reviewing our files to make sure that we have all the information for each of the grants we have written this year put in the proper file in the file cabinet so they will be ready for the auditor’s review later in the year. It is also a good time to start to think about the Chapter’s budget and how much money you want to budget for grants during the next fiscal year. The Grants Chairman and Budget/Finance Committee Chairman need to look at this together to make sure there is agreement and that the expectation is realistically set.

I know that we are well past New Year’s Day, but like everything in life we have to set a goal and then start taking steps to accomplishing the goal. What is your next goal in your grant writing activities? Spring is a revitalizing time. Remember, to go to http://www.grantlessons.wordpress.com to find more information about grant writing.

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

This entry was posted on March 13, 2013. 1 Comment

Smaller Bites for Quicker Writes – Finding a Match

Greetings from GrantLessons!

I was playing around on GrantStation today. I found an interesting fact that relates to finding opportunities for smaller bites of funding that are quicker writes. However, remember it will always take time to sift through the links since GrantStation only sorts by state and not by county. Also, many of these opportunities are corporate contributions. You are not going to find corporations having a Form 990 on Guidestar for obvious reasons they are not a nonprofit. So you are not going to find an easy way to determine how much funding to ask for in your request. So come on get a couple of members even if they never wanted to be on the Grants Committee, I bet a few of the Resource Development folks who are trying to find contributions for their silent auctions or galas or other funding raising events would be interested in this information.

Here is the selection criteria I used, select Geographic Scope (Nevada), select Product Donation. Do not put in any areas of interest, it will narrow the search too much. In other words, do not make any selection in Step 2. For Nevada, there are 8 options. The options listed are frequently corporate sponsors. The amount of money obtained will frequently be much smaller than a $5,000 grant. But finding $500 or a $1,000 for one of your programs is worth it! I can tell you for sure that our chapter has received checks from 2 listed in Nevada and we have been denied by one of the funders. And yes, we would have not known about these opportunities if we had not used GrantStation. Further, I think I even found a new one that we have not applied for yet! The real beauty with our committee is that if I find one there is always someone available to actually make out the application because we have several who work on our team. And you will be able to get more to work on your committee if you give them a simple corporate contribution application to complete as their first adventure.

If you want even more fun do the search using the Geographic Scope (National) and product donation. Do not make any selection under areas of interest. There are 61 options. Looks like there are more than one corporation that we will be successful in getting some funding, if we make an application. I say that because I recognize that these corporations have a presence in our community. This is usually the main criteria that a chapter will need to meet, that is, the corporation will need to have a physical address within the Assistance League’s chapter scope of service. We have 10 chapter programs out of 12 chapter programs that we could accept funding for and I think it will go faster for us to just go through each one of the 61 links to see which ones match.

If you have several people writing and searching on GrantStation, remember always to follow your protocols. For us, no one gets to write a grant or a request for monies without first checking with our Grants Committee Chairman 😉 By the way we soon will be changing our protocol to have all applications for funding to outside organizations go through one person so that we are sure that we are not working at cross-purposes between committees (program funding versus fund raising for events) since most of entities only allow one application per year from an organization.

Okay, enough fun for today. My challenge to you is to go out and have a party and look at some of these options and pass the word about GrantStation and the GrantLessons Blog. Share this information with your own chapter and with other chapters. Remember you can find a lot of helpful tips at http://wwww.grantlessons.wordpress.com .

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

This entry was posted on March 6, 2013. 1 Comment