Catching Up

Greetings from GrantLessons!

It is so good to be back at writing the GrantLessons Blog, I have been away celebrating my husband’s retirement from flying airplanes. I also have been doing some thinking about how to be of better service to those of you interested in writing applications for foundation grants and corporate contributions. But first I promised an update on GuideStar on my last blog, so let’s get to that first. Be sure to read all the way down!

I indicated that there would be an update on GuideStar. Here is what I am seeing when I went to update our local chapter’s GuideStar account. There are a couple of new sections: Board Leadership Practices and Organizational Demographics. The first section focuses on the  items:

1. Whether there is a formal orientation for new board members?

2. Whether board members sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities and expectations?

3. Whether there is a written  CEO evaluation; conflict of interest policy; diversity of thought and leadership; and a CEO assessment?

The second section focuses on the changing demographics GuideStar worked with D5, a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about staff, board, and volunteer demographics.

1. Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

2. Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

3. Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements within the past year?

4. Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

5. Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

It is important to update your chapter’s GuideStar profile at least once a year. I am glad that we got ours done this last week!

GrantLessons Start Again

Sometime ago, GrantLessons published a weekly lesson on writing applications for foundation grants and corporate contributions. Since that time, we have learned a lot more about the whole process. Recently, I met with the National Resource Development Committee in Glendale,CA providing them with an update on GrantLessons. Our decision was to continue writing the GrantLessons blog and to publish the lessons again with refinements. So, if you are participating on a Grant Committee or know of others who are getting interested in writing applications, now is the time for them to join the GrantLessons blog. Additionally, if you are no longer getting these emails, please send me an email at and I will remove you from the list.

Each week, starting next Wednesday a lesson or two will be published to get everyone knowledgeable about writing applications for foundation grants and corporate contributions. The goal is to write a procedure manual that can be published on the National Assistance League website for those who come behind us to use. You and your committee can follow the blog and take the lessons to each of your meetings and discuss the information and see if you have more questions that you feel are not answered. Together we will get to the answers that will help you be able to find funding for your philanthropic programs.

Over the last two years, more chapters have started to educate themselves on the writing of applications for foundation grants and corporate contributions. Initially, many were simply intimidated by the process and didn’t think they had the skills or desire to participate. Now, chapters are working at developing teams that will continue over time.

I can only talk for a minute or two about the pure enjoyment that I find in helping my chapter raise funding for our philanthropic programs. Yes, it is not as easy as I first thought it might be but with time and support, our local committee has slowly made improvements. It is exciting for me to see my colleagues grow in their abilities and their desire to raise money by participating on our committee. I don’t know what your definition of fun is but mine is helping others find funds to help those who need help. Without the work we do, others would go without.

Come join in the fun!! You can do this work in your pajamas with a hot cup of tea (coffee) at your side. Just think what you could do by participating or getting your friends to participate.

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


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