Archive | June 2014

GuideStar Videos

Greetings from GrantLessons!

Beautiful weather in Reno! Glad summer is here! Last week I promised videos to assist you in your work to complete GuideStar videos. The videos are complete simply go to the website at at look for the videos tab. Go to the bottom of the page where you will find two GuideStar videos. The first one provides information on how to access your chapter’s GuideStar profile and the second video provides information on how to complete the profile. Next week I will continue with Videos 3 and 4 where I will describe how to complete the GuideStar profile subsection on “Impact” and the “Benefits of Attaining a Gold-level Participant”.

It may be time to review your GrantStation subscription. You can determine the date of expiration by logging into your GrantStation account. Right above the log in box you can see when your GrantStation subscription expires. If you desire to renew your subscription or to start a new subscription to GrantStation this can be accomplished by contacting .

In the meantime, it is time to catch up with the Spring cleaning before it is Fall. 😉

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

This entry was posted on June 25, 2014. 2 Comments

Time is Flying By

Greetings from GrantLessons!

Cool here in Reno but warmer by the weekend. I so enjoy the summer months, it is a time to get energized about our work. Congratulations Assistance League of Las Vegas for becoming a GuideStar Exchange Gold Participant. I am working on a short video to help other members complete their GuideStar profile and it should be ready next week 😉 Let’s get all Assistance Leagues to become GuideStar Exchange Gold Participants this year!

Sometimes it is good for us application writers to leave our desks and go out and see the program work that our chapter is doing. Yesterday, I happened to be in the vicinity where our Food Pantry distribution occurs and I stopped in for a few minutes. I saw lots of people getting two bags of groceries. It was a jolt for me to see many elderly seniors walking down the street with their walkers with two bags of groceries. It made me think how lucky I am to be able to write a grant to help get funding to support this effort. For me it is “paying forward” for the day when I may be dependent on receiving food from a nonprofit organization like Assistance League.

In looking over all we have talked about in the past few months and knowing that we have about 10 new followers, I thought about each one of you out there who will read this post this morning. What do you need to do in your committee to make the work go along easier? Do you need some training. It is hard for me to guess what it is you need. Here are some suggestions for good material to help you in your work. Log into your GrantStation account and on the left hand side of the screen, there is a section called “Write”. The following topics are covered, “Getting Started” “Letter of Inquiry” “The Grant Proposal” and “Revisions and Editing”. It is worth reviewing!

I have also reviewed four books looking for new information to share on this blog. In “Grant Writing for Dummies” by Dr. Beverly A Browning focuses on the writing of federal grants. One important point that she makes is “measure the program’s accountability with an evaluation plan” p.125. That is a really good idea and now is the time to think about it. This requirement while not generally required for foundation grants and corporate contributions but the requirement is coming our way. It is time to start!

The second book, “Find Grant Funding Now: The Five-Step Prosperity Process for Entrepreneurs and Business” by Sarah Beth Aubrey talks “about the importance of project team selections” (p .130). Decide what skills your team needs to do the work and go after finding them!

The third book, “The Only Grant-Writing Book You’ll Ever Need” by Ellen Karsh and Arlen Sue Fox explains the importance of getting ready for writing a grant (pp.62-63). For us that is getting all our required documents into one electronic holding place, like Dropbox. Prior planning prevents poor performance!

The fourth book, “Grant Writing Demystiefied Hard Stuff Made Easy” by May Ann Payne describes the importance in prioritizing the order and timing of writing and submitting applications so you can focus on one at a time (p. 171). Application writing takes time, we need to use our time wisely!

Perhaps we should spend more time on trying to figure out the questions we need to ask and answer them rather than just jumping in with solutions to the wrong questions.

Okay, I got this written before my three granddaughters sleeping upstairs woke up for the day. 😉

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


This entry was posted on June 18, 2014. 4 Comments

Winding Up for the Year or Starting the Next Year

Greetings from GrantLessons!

Are you winding up for the year or are you getting started for the next year by starting out fresh with your applications writing process for foundation grants and corporate contributions? I just returned yesterday from a vacation with my husband to the Oregon coast, how beautiful! And I am right back at it this afternoon working with a new committee member. How was your last fiscal year? Are you desiring to find more application writing opportunities for foundation grants or corporate contributions?

Here are some steps to get you started or to renew your energy:

1. Look for new members and provide orientation and a mentoring program for them. Every team/committee should add one member each year.

2. Search GrantStation or Foundation Directory online for new leads for applications. Even if you have looked at all the opportunities once it is good to look at them again since funders often change what they desire to fund and you don’t want to discover that down the road.

3. Assign members specific tasks so that no one member is overburdened with the work of the team/committee. Come on what task can you give up to another team/committee member?

4. Check out GuideStar by searching for your chapters profile. If you have not completed the profile now is a good time to do it since you have all the information from the programs who have just recently finished their fiscal year. You can find the “Update Nonprofit Report” on your profile page at Once you have completed all the information, you will gain a Gold Participation widget that you can place on your website. More importantly you will be able to access a database that provides the names of all the nonprofit organizations in your city. Having trouble, send an email to and let me know what you need help with. Let’s work to get all chapters to the point of having a Gold Participation. It really is possible for everyone big or small.

5. Know that the time completing an application is never wasted time since it either results in a donation or increases your skill to complete the next application.

Today GrantLessons is celebrating its 100th post providing timely information to National Assistance League chapters across the country. We hope that the blog is fulfilling a need to assist you in your work. You can let us know what you need help in by leaving a comment or sending an email to .

Catch me when you can and I will catch up with you soon!  Are you planning to go to Orlando? I hope to meet you there. Sandie



This entry was posted on June 11, 2014. 2 Comments

Dropbox Maintenance

Greetings from GrantLessons!

Dropbox is a valuable tool in our application writing process. The Dropbox administrator has an important responsibility to ensure the files remain intact. She must teach members how to access and delete a file without deleting the entire folder housing all the committee’s work. The administrator controls who has access to the files. As new members come onto the committee and others leave, she needs to ensure that access is given to some and removed for others. All members need to own the responsibility of not deleting the major folder where everything is kept. The program does not allow a no-fail solution to prevent erasing important files. It is important that at least two people know the Dropbox username and password.

It is possible to have Dropbox on an older computer and then decide to have it serviced and the staff not realize the significance of removing all the files from a hard drive. That action also erases all the files from all the members who have access to the folder. So if someone is going to buy a new computer and donate their old computer, be sure they are removed from the Dropbox folder prior to erasing the files. They can always be reinstated when they get their new computer.

When files are erased they can be retrieved by the administrator. She must go into the folder and restore the files that have been deleted. Files can be retrieved for a 30 day period, after that time they are permanently removed from Dropbox unless the files are protected with a feature called “Packrat”. Packrat is priced at $3.99 per month but also protects the files from deletion.

We should all be backing up our computers regularly. I backup nightly which includes my Dropbox files to a separate external hard drive. I hope that I never have to use it “but it is better to be safe than sorry”. Have you looked at your backup process recently? It make take a professional to recover the files lost but if there is no backup in process there is nothing to retrieve.

A good protocol is to save all documents into Dropbox with a “.doc” filename as a routine. You may get an excellent new application writer who only has an older computer. If you save Word or Excel documents in the latest version, she will not be able to access the files.

After the first year or two that you have Dropbox in place you have to clean out Dropbox and add new folders. You will have to orient the committee if you make major structural changes to the filing approach used. Be sure if you are changing Dropox administrators that a good orientation between them occurs.

It is a beautiful day here in Sparks. By the time you read this, I will be on my with my husband to see our son in Portland, which means it is a good week! 😉

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



This entry was posted on June 4, 2014. 1 Comment