Archive | April 2013

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Oh yes, it is Spring! The weather has consistently hit 70 for a few days and may be in the 80s over the next few days. Spring cleaning is in high gear at my home. I am doing a lot of reducing, reusing and recycling. This brings me to thinking about reducing, reusing, and recycling with our grant work.

Reducing the Work Load
Long term grant work for an Assistance League Chapter takes a team of people. Splitting up the work and handing off between members works well in soccer as I have learned watching my three granddaughters play. It works even better in grant writing. Here is the ideal chapter team for a grant writing committee: Chairman, secretary, grant researcher/tracker, and grant writer(s). The Chairman finds others to work on the committee, conducts the meetings, ensures that reports are completed, and keeps everything moving along. The secretary keeps the minutes of the meetings. The researcher/tracker knows GrantStation and is capable of doing searches; keeps the grants calendar; and tracks the progress of grant applications and whether monies are received or denied. Most importantly grant writer(s) complete the actual applications and often times don’t want to worry about all the other activities.

Reusing Narratives or Case Statements/Budgets
A Grants Committee needs to determine which programs they intend to focus on writing grants for during any fiscal year. The Grant Chairman will oversee the writing of a narrative or case statement for each program. Once the narrative about the program is complete it is placed into Dropbox and then can be reused any number of times by different members of the Grant Committee. Once the program budget has been developed it too can be uploaded to Dropbox so that it can be downloaded to funder applications.

Recycling Applications
Once the grant writer has developed one application, they can recycle the information to several funders simultaneously, it is just a matter of cutting and pasting the information into the computer profiles or the Word documents. The more applications completed the more chances a Chapter has for success in obtaining funding.

By the way, GrantLessons started one year ago this week! Be sure to share this opportunity with the new members coming onto your Grant Committee. As part of their orientation, have them sit down with a cup of tea and read the blog from its inception. For now, it is time to get back to Spring cleaning 😉

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

This entry was posted on April 24, 2013. 2 Comments

Another Look at GrantStation

Greetings from GrantLessons!

When was the last time you opened up GrantStation and just played with the program? I decided to take a fresh look to see what I might find if I looked under a different category. I choose “Nevada” and “Product Donations”. I really had never tried this particular combination before and much to my surprise nine options came up. I find there are three options that might fit for smaller grants/donations for our Chapter since we have a food pantry. These options may require phone calls, establishing a relationship, completing a computer profile and/or putting them on our Grants/Donations Calendar.

One thing we are planning to do in our Chapter this next year is broadening the work of the Grants Committee to look at donations that require a computer profile, or letter, or making a contact. We find there are just too many opportunities to not have the committee members explore these opportunities.

Also, remember last year, Chase Bank had a program where several of our Assistance League Chapters filled out a profile and were able to get several hundred dollars. This year will be their second year, I just checked them out on Facebook at!/ChaseCommunityGiving/app_162065369655 there is nothing new but it is time for us to watch to see when this opportunity happens again.

And remember before the holidays, when we were working on doing our Guidestar profiles. Our website administrator has gotten our GuideStar Exchange Seal up on our website. You can see it at 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 .

Today the Assistance League of Reno-Sparks is hosting a Networking Conference here in Reno and so who knows maybe some of our GrantLessons followers might be in attendance, I hope so since it would be fun to meet fellow grant writers;-)

As for my weekly weather report, well yesterday we may have had the last Spring snow storm before it finally turns warm for the rest of the week. I see the trees have the start of leaves and I can hear the birds outside of my window, so time for flower planting is coming soon.

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

This entry was posted on April 17, 2013. 1 Comment

New Approach For Funders

We have 68 followers, welcome to our newbies!

Around the first of the year, the President of our Chapter got a call from one of our funders. We were being invited to participate in a new program they had started. The company is well established in the Reno community and has provided us grants over several years. The Vice-President who called invited us to join with them in a new program. Perhaps this has started in your community as well.

The company plans to provide their employees approximately six hundred people with a gift card on their anniversary dates. The gift card can then be applied to their local favorite charity. Lucky for us we got invited to participate since this opportunity does not appear to be open to everyone who is a nonprofit in our community. The company handling the transactions is called TisBest and can be found at If you look under local charities you will find both Assistance League of Reno-Sparks and Assistance League of Las Vegas.

One has to wonder if we will continue to get the grants that we previously have been able to get or if that money will now be redirected to the employees to vote with their fingers at a computer keyboard for their favorite charity. Lucky for me that I know two employees who work at this place who have been there for 20 years. I sure hope they decide to make their contribution to my favorite nonprofit, Assistance League of Reno- Sparks. Of course, I will be bringing this opportunity to their attention when their anniversary dates come up. So far we have not received any funds and we have no idea how much each employee is being awarded.

The message is a strong public relations effort is needed so that your Thrift Shop is not the best kept secret in your community. Oh and by the way if you don’t like the weather in Reno just stick around we have had everything from snow to sunshine to wind storms all in the last couple of days. So still no planting of flowers here. 😉

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

Finding a Grant Writer

Greetings from GrantLessons!

Not every Chapter can find someone within their membership to write grants for their philanthropic programs. Your Chapter may be looking at hiring an outside grant writer or accepting the help of a non-member volunteer. Here are a few questions to ask potential candidates:

1. What strategies do you use to find a funder for our programs?

2. Do you have access to a funder search database, such as, GrantStation or Foundation Directory Online? How long have you used this search database?

3. Have you written foundation grants?

4. When was the last grant you wrote actually funded?

5. What is the dollar value of the grants you have received over the last two years?

6. Have you obtained any corporate donations in the last two years?

7. Are you familiar with our philanthropic programs?

8. What has been the main focus of your grants, i.e., education, human services, i. e., programs for children?

9. What kind of relationships do you have with funders in our community?

10. Are you able to complete an online application for funding?

11. How long does it take you to complete an application?

12. Do you use an online file management system like Dropbox?

Lastly, how you pay a grant writer should not be based on a commission nor should you pay anyone to find a funder for your Chapter. Additionally, compensation should not be written into a grant.

Trees are starting to bloom in Reno even though the nights are still chilly, hopefully it will be time to plant flowers soon. However, those of us who live here know it will be several more weeks before we can start planting 😉

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

This entry was posted on April 3, 2013. 1 Comment