Archive | March 2014

Lesson #27 Annual Evaluation

What a beautiful morning in Reno, I am writing this on Monday, but when you read this on Wednesday, I understand that it will be cloudy with a chance of precipitation which would make it a beautiful morning as well. We really need rain!

It is coming to the end of the fiscal year and it is time to summarize the work of the committee. Taking the tracking form that shows all the applications completed it is easy to summarize the total number of applications completed for each program, with the number funded and the number denied. Additionally, the tracking form will demonstrate the total amount received by program against the chapter’s budget for the Grants Committee.

The Annual Evaluation should acknowledge the members of the committee who have done a lot of work behind the scene.

What can you do with this information? Provide a copy to the Board of Directors and to the Budget and Finance Committee to assist in planning what the Grant Committee can do next year. Also, be sure to note if you do not expect to get a grant next year because the funder does not make donation for consecutive years to an organization, they are closing, or they have told you that the application criteria or time for submittal is changing.

Next week, we will discuss Marketing and Relationships as it applies to our grant writing process. Have a great week, I think Spring has sprung!

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

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Lesson #26 – Tracking Applications

Greetings from GrantLessons!

The weather has been spectacular in Reno-Sparks! Once you have your team of committee or team members together and you start to work together, you will find that you have many opportunities to complete applications. You will find yourself writing an application and after you submit one, the game is to quickly find another application and complete and submit it. And to repeat this process over and over. Many times, it will literally take months before you hear whether you have a positive or negative decision. The important point is to start the process of completing the next application. The more applications for foundation grants and corporate contributions that are written leads to more money for your chapter’s philanthropic programs.

One thing universally, most funders do not want you calling every month or two to determine whether they intend to fund your application or not. One just has to wait! However, it is easy to forget who you sent an application to and when and which program you submitted. Additionally, you may find in your research that there is an application that you want to write but you cannot do it right now and you need to wait six months before you can complete.

You need to develop two lists. The first one is the chapter’s monthly foundation grant and corporate contribution applications completed list and the second one is the chapter’s potential application list. As we discussed in a previous post, this task can be assigned to the Researcher/Technical Support team member. A simple Excel spreadsheet will assist in the process to keep track of the applications completed and potential applications. The important fields include: Name of foundation or corporation, member assigned, date due, date sent, GuideStar (yes or no), amount requested, program, amount received, total by program, reapply (yes or no), date report required, and whether there are restrictions on using their name in marketing activities.

Each month the title of the spreadsheet is changed to acknowledge the date the  report is distributed. The spreadsheet is distributed to the president; treasurer, budget and finance, vice-president of resource development and the committee members.

Have you started to track your applications? Tracking is a very important task and one that can easily be done by someone who may not feel as confident at writing grants. Life is good!

Family from Illinois is visiting and I get to make hamburger treats, an old family recipe for supper.

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

Lesson #25 – Sustainability

Greetings to GrantLessons!

Spring is starting in the West. Tulips are almost ready to bloom. We have discussed over the last month, the need for a team to write applications for foundation grants and corporate contributions.

Sustainable is an interesting word meaning a resource is “able to be used without being completely used up or destroyed”. As we build our long term team to write applications  it is important that we do not use up our main resource for doing the work, which is the team member’s mind.

Unlike other work we may do for our chapter, the team member’s mind is what makes for success in getting checks for the chapter’s philanthropic programs. If the team member is enthusiastic it spills over to the other team members. If the team is patient and persistent about its work, it sets them up for success. If the team writes more applications that are a good match to the funder’s need to make awards, it increases the chances for success.

In order for the long term success, the words commitment, passion and conviction that as a team success will come has to be part of the team’s culture. Lastly, if each member has the right attitude, they will find fun in their work and will be ready to celebrate their participation and success in getting funding.

What are the chances for your chapter to succeed long-term? Do you need to start the conversation in your chapter about the long term success? Next week we will discuss how we go about tracking our progress in writing applications.

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

Lesson #24 – Training

Greetings to GrantLessons!

Training is a word that makes my hair stand-up! It has a connotation of walking down the halls in a Catholic school in a straight line to the next classroom which I learned to do. Training also sends a picture of doing sit-ups to improve my physical appearance. Training also sends pictures of making hospital beds over and over until I got the mitered corners right. As we look at developing the longevity of our team we need to understand how to go about training now for our successors. This is really not an academic or physical process. It is also known as OJT or “on the job training”.

If you keep all the information in your head about what you have learned about writing applications and developing a team around the process you need to answer the next question. What happens to the chapter process if for some reason you no longer want to participate or can not participate?

It is really simple, training is needed for team longevity. Each position that we previously have discussed, chairman, secretary, researcher, grant writer, and auditor needs a list of tasks that they are doing and have it placed in a checklist. The one developing the list needs to be knowledgeable about the requirements of the position. These tasks will be slightly different for each team. It takes some time to learn about the application writing processes both researching and writing applications. So it is better if the team chooses to have those who have mastered the skills to stay intact and make sure before a member leaves that someone else is ready to step in and start running with the baton.

Here is a start for a checklist for each of the positions we have been discussing over the last few weeks.

Chairman
•Familiar with chapter bylaws, standing rules, Board policies and National Assistance League policies
•Appoints a Vice-Chairman and Secretary
•Includes auxiliary member as part of committee
•Encourages shared responsibility among committee members
•Completes an annual evaluation of the committee’s work
•Secures all signatures needed for grant agreements
•Prepares Board reports

Committee

Vice-Chairman
•Able to step in as necessary during an absence of the Chairman

Secretary
•Takes and distributes minutes of meetings
•Files minutes in an online file management system, i.e. Dropbox
•Provdes copies of minutes at meeting
•Submits list of funded grants and corporate contributions to Marketing Committee for publication
•Prepares articles for chapter newsletter as needed
•Reviews applications and edits as needed

Researcher/Information Technology
•Maintains Chapter’s GuideStar profile
•Idenitifies potential funders
•Conducts research to find funders on GrantStation or Foundation Directory Online
•Evaluates potential funders and makes recommendations to committee
•Assists with computer issues, i.e., importing documents into an online application
•Maintains the Chapter’s grant list that identifies progress of all applications
•Provides training as needed on grant writing process
•Ensures that all grant deadlines are met

Grant Writer
•Evaluates potential funder’s guidelines for appropriateness for writing an application
•Identifies application deadlines
•Makes contact with funder staff, as appropriate
•Completes applications and mails or submits online
•Makes copies and files application

Auditor
•Reviews files monthly to ensure that all paperwork is filed
•Reports any discrepancies to committee members
•Completes an audit of the files annually to ensure all documents are filed

Working toward sharing the responsibilites of researching and completing applications means that your team can write more applications and in the long run make more money for those in your community that need it 😉

Just thought I would mention that my tulips are raising out of the ground, Spring is on the way!

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