Archive | May 2013

Writing Goals and Objectives

Greetings from GrantLessons!

More preparation is going on. Besides working on our program fact sheets, we are also looking at our outcome measurements for the next year. This is a tough topic! Most Chapters are not equipped to do research on their work. Yet, as funders become more sophisticated, they want to see value for their dollars spent. Therefore, they ask the applicant to define their expected outcome. First, one must define the goal of the program. For instance, a goal for Operation School Bell® could be, “To clothe children”. The goal does not tell the funder very much. The objective spells out the detail. Objectives should contain the following elements:

• Who – audience
• What – action (verb)
• When – time
• How much – minimum acceptable level of performance
• How measured

Here is an objective for our Operation School Bell goal, “To provide 3,000 elementary students meeting eligibility criteria (as defined by the school system) $70 in apparel from a retail store during September through November by tallying the number of students participating in the shopping events.”

Now, let’s look back at the objective elements. The “who” are elementary students. The “action verb” is to provide which means to give, present or make available. We describe the “when” when we indicate from September through November. The “minimum acceptable level of performance” is 3,000 elementary students each receiving $70 and we demonstrate “how the objective is measured” by tallying the numbers of students participating in the shopping events.

Goals and objectives are set prior to the program starting and help guide the preparation for the program but also give the grant writer needed data for the next grant writing cycle. The grant writer also benefits from having access to historical data from the previous years.

Soon I am going to declare Spring cleaning is done whether it is or not 😉

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


Philanthropic Program Fact Sheets

Greetings from GrantLessons!

Cooler temperatures in store for Reno, not quite time to plant tomatoes yet!

We are lucky in that we have gained two new members who have written grants in the past. So they don’t need a lot of help in how to write a grant or good writing skills but they are new to Assistance League. Our chapter has 12 philanthropic programs. We write grants to help support 7 philanthropic programs. Well it became apparent at the Grants Committee meeting last week that we needed to prepare fact sheets for our new grant writers. We decided on an Excel spreadsheet format as a good tool to prepare this information. In addition we can input the information each year and then we will have a historical perspective. Therefore, we designed an Excel Workbook with 12 worksheets. For those that we attempt to get grants for we plan to collect the following variables:

General Information
• Chairman Name
• Chairman Email Address
• Chairman Phone Number
• Vice-Chairman Name
• Vice-Chairman Email Address
• Vice-Chairman Phone Number
• Short Summary of the Program
• Year Established
• Program Agreement Due
• Recipient Group
• Partner Name
• Partner Email Address
• Partner Phone Number
• Program Runs From/To
• Number of Volunteers
• Number of Non-Volunteers
• Number of Volunteer Hours
• Number of Non-Volunteer Hours
• Value of Service Hour
• Total Value of Volunteer Time
• Philanthropic Program Organization Budget
• Grants Budget

Specific Information (Will Change By Program)
• Number of Schools Served
• Number of Walmart Stores
• Number of Shopping Events
• Year Started by Walmart Store
• Number of Recipients Served by Store
• Total Number of Recipients Served for FYE
• Average Cost by Recipient
• How Recipients are Selected
• Geographic Region Served

We also are planning to place all relative forms used by the philanthropic program in the Dropbox Grants Folder.

Back to Spring cleaning, some things never seem to get done 😉

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

This entry was posted on May 22, 2013. 3 Comments

End of the Fiscal Year

Greetings from GrantLessons!

Today is the last Grants Committee meeting for our Chapter for this fiscal year. Looking at the agenda, the Chairman has a summary of the grants written for the year and the amounts received. It was a good year for our Chapter! She also has the list of grants that need our attention over the first three months of the new fiscal year. The timing is so close, we have not completely compiled all our facts and figures from this fiscal year and yet in just a few weeks we need to be writing grants to meet funder deadlines for the next fiscal year.

Like us, you may find that you want to update your case statements or as we call it our narratives. Case statements/narratives are the “heart” of a grant application since this is where the funder sees what the Chapter will do with monies they receive from the grant application. This is where you “sell” the funder on giving their resources to your Chapter!

Many applications are online and may have limited space and/or restrictions as to the number of characters/words that can be entered. This is your first clue as to how many words you can use, I have seen anything from 150 words to 1,500 words. Here are some thoughts on what I consider important to include:

• The name of the program and the year it began;
• The population being served, unless that has been identified in another question on the application and you need to save words;
• Identify the specific need or issue that the program accomplishes for your community and write a workable solution (spend your words here);
• If you are the only nonprofit with this solution in your community, be sure to tell the funder;
• Quantify what you did last year and what you expect to do this year (be realistic and don’t go overboard with statistics); and
• End with a compelling reason why your Chapter needs the funding.

You must realize that the case statement or narrative may be the only portion of the application that the funder reads. After you have written the case statement/narrative have several other people read it. EDIT! EDIT! EDIT! It is important to be concise, choose your words with care, and lead your reader to fund your Chapter’s program. Have someone who knows nothing about your Chapter’s program read it and see what questions they have.

And about that Spring cleaning, it is still going on. I just hope I get it done before summer is here 😉

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

This entry was posted on May 15, 2013. 1 Comment

The State of Grantseeking Spring 2013 Grant Survey

Greetings from GrantLessons

The State of Grantseeking – Sixth Semi-Annual Survey Results is out. There is good news for us as grant writers. Researched and written by Cindy Adams and the GrantStation team, they conducted the semi-annual informal survey of 1,017 nonprofits of different sizes during February and March 2013. The survey illustrates the current state of grantseeking in the United States. I gleaned some interesting facts from the 37 page report:

• Private foundations continue to be the source of the largest grant awards.
• Private foundations increased by almost 14% as the source of the largest grant.
• Over three-quarters of respondent organizations received awards in the last six months of 2012.
• Lack of time and staff remains to be the respondent’s greatest challenge to grantseeking.
• Respondents indicated that 41.6% state that grants contributed more than 25% of their annual revenue.

In the Executive Summary, the authors make the point that “organizations that do not submit grant applications appear to be caught in a ‘chicken or egg’ scenario with limited staff and time it is challenging to write grant applications, yet without the applications they have no chance at receiving awards.”

Thanks to GrantStation, the full report is posted on GrantLessons Blog at

So for most of us it comes down to TIME. We have all said it, “If I only had more time, I could . . .” I was looking around on the GrantStation website and found this wonderful link from Cynthia Adams, the CEO of GrantStation at She has a lot of very practical ideas for helping grant writers find more time. More time simply means more opportunity to write applications. More applications equals more opportunity to secure funding for Assistance League Chapters 😉

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

Recognizing Philanthropic Program Leaders

Greetings from GrantLessons!

The weather is Spring-like with an occasional hot day. It is beautiful weather to take a walk and think about this last year. Each of us has moved forward in our grant writing activities by either improving our own grant writing abilities or by encouraging members in our Chapter to help us write grants.

As we who write grants know the process is ongoing all year. We never really get done with the work so it is important to stop periodically and recognize what a valuable job we are doing for those who live in our community. It is really important to cultivate the relationship between the grant writers in your Chapter and the philanthropic program members who take the money we get and turn it into gifts to the community. Our part at times seems easy compared to the hours of time it takes to pull off Operation School Bell, distributing food to hundreds of people each month, or making sure all the receipts have been turned in for teachers who are getting awards to help them in their classrooms.

Our community has a foundation that recognizes women who make a difference in our community each year. We take great pleasure this year in recognizing Anne Marie Utter, who makes a difference through her leadership in our Links to Learning Program. We at GrantLessons hope you take time to tell those who spend the money that we as grant writers are lucky enough to get how much we appreciate their work. Look around in your community to see where you may have an opportunity to recognize one of your members for the stellar work they are doing. For we grant writers know that without their work as evidence we would not be able to write the next grant. And the beat goes on . . .

On another note, a couple weeks ago we gained a small grant of $2,500. The funder asked for a couple of pictures to show at their check-giving party. We sent them two pictures and made sure that our Assistance League logo was prominent on the picture. As I often say you don’t know who might be in the audience who when seeing our name may be our next donor.

Oh and about the Spring cleaning, there is still much to do 😉

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

This entry was posted on May 1, 2013. 1 Comment