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


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