8 Success Habits of Top Grant Writers

Do you have a brilliant idea for a new business or nonprofit but you're not sure how to express it to funders? A grant writer can help you with planning and implementation. Grant writing is a skill that can be learned, in fact, many grant writers got their start by writing grants while working in a different capacity. 

In fact, GrantWriterTeam founder and CEO, Libby Hikind, got her start in grant writing while working as a teacher for the New York City Department of Education. Other grant writers on the team have started out as teachers, principals, nonprofit staff members, social workers, and even as soldiers when asked to write a proposal as part of their job responsibilities. 

It is said that if you do something long enough it becomes a habit, and that our actions over time create our character, which in turn creates our destiny, as in the famous quote by Lao Tsu. 

Watch your thoughts: They become actions Habits can either help or hurt your success in life. Bad habits can fester and grow into a lifestyle that keeps you from accomplishing what you really want to in life. Good habits, on the other hand, help you take the actions needed to create a life filled with great results. 

 

Here are 8 habits shared by successful grant writers to increase your chances of getting the grants you seek. 

1. The Early Bird Catches the "Grant".

Successful grant writers begin well in advance of their submission deadlines. This could mean starting as much as nine months before the submission deadline to plan, identify the needs and research the focus of the proposal.  Since there are often many phases to a proposal prior to the final submission, it can be difficult to know ahead of time how long each phase will take. Therefore, cautious grant writers leave themselves enough time to get signatures from those who need to sign off on the proposal and send in the final draft before the deadline. 

2. Make Sure You Have Your "Ducks in a Row".

Grant writing is a highly specialized skill that requires attention to detail, precision, and the ability to be organized. A list in the attached article, Grant Writing – How To Apply for Grants and Write Effective Grant Proposals will help you with more ideas to help you get and stay organized. 

3. Passionate, Compassionate, and Have the Desire to Make A Difference

Successful grant writers are passionate about the work they do and are committed to helping their clients get the funding they need to the best of their ability. Whether working on a proposal for a nonprofit or for-profit, most grant writers care about the projects they take on. 

4. Cooperation and Collaboration

Grant writing requires cooperation and collaboration. It's often a team effort between the grant writer, some field experts and the client.  If you're fortunate enough to be working with a team, make sure all jobs are clearly defined and everyone knows their part in the process. If there are any deadlines they have to meet, the person in charge should be in touch with everyone in advance to make sure they have what they need to complete their tasks on time. 

If you're writing the grant alone, there are still elements for cooperation with people from the organization, or if you're an outside consultant coming in to write the grant, it's important that the director, staff, and board members involved are willing and able to provide the information you need in a timely fashion. 

5. Preliminary Research and Preparation

Research and review the literature regarding the existing problem that the grant is expected to solve. Lay out the specifics on the current situation and what is working and what is not working regarding the issue. Once this is done, the need for the proposal and the request for funding becomes clear. 

6. Offer Original, Creative, Innovative Solutions 

In most cases, donors are looking for innovative approaches whether it's to solve an existing problem or contribute to the advancement in the field. Innovative models that improve the field emerge from preliminary data, pilot studies, and extensive research. 

7. Clarity and Simplicity 

A grant proposal is like a business plan that's well thought out, clear and written in a way that's easy for the reviewers to understand. When the grant writer fully comprehends the program the agency wants to implement then, and only then will the grant reviewer get a clear and easy to read application to review, resulting in a much better chance for funding. 

8. Speak Their Language

Speaking the donor's language, using the terminology and buzz words the funders use in their mission, vision, and grant offering materials is the way to write. Get comfortable with the culture of the topic and be able to navigate and speak their language seamlessly.  This will win the confidence of the reviewers by ensuring that the proposal addresses the issues they care about and meets the criteria for projects they are looking to fund. 

Successful grant writers write for their audience. They know who will be reviewing the proposal and gear their writing toward the reviewers. In addition, it's important to know the criteria used to score proposals. 

In Conclusion

If this doesn't describe you – yet, don't fret, you can follow these behaviors and become more of an architect than a gardener, at least in your grant writing.  And, if you're still not sure about your proposal writing skills or don't have time to research or write a grant proposal yourself, hire an expert. Hiring a professional grant writer can increase the likelihood of receiving a grant exponentially.

Experienced grant writers from all backgrounds who have the talent to craft a compelling grant proposal are encouraged to sign-up on GrantWriterTeam.com, a service of GrantWatch.com. Joining GrantWriterTeam is easy. Create a profile, fill out the application and begin to bid on grant writing jobs

The great motivational leadership expert expressed it well in his bestselling classic, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change“Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can and should be and he will become as he can and should be.”      – Stephen R. Covey 

About the Author: The author is a staff writer for GrantWriterTeam.

Do You Have a Power Word List To Use For Winning Grant Proposals

With over 1.5 million nonprofits in the United States alone, how do you make your organization stand-out from the rest when applying for a grant? Our Grant Writer Team experts and our founder and CEO, Libby Hikind, recommends using powerful positive words to make your grant proposal be placed on the top. 

"Power words trigger emotional and psychological responses in readers. They can make the difference between funders wanting to support your organization or moving on and saying 'NEXT!'"  Hikind has written successful winning grants for over 25 years raising over 11 million dollars for one Brooklyn school district and a great deal more for private clients.  "Positive power words can motivate people to become supporters or funders of your nonprofit. I recommend also using the same buzz words or similar language used by the funding source in their grant application, but not to the point where it seems that you don't have anything original to say. It's important to use active verbs, definitive words, and words that paint a picture and tell a story."  

This list of power words and buzz phrases compiled by Belinda Biscoe for successful grant proposals published by the College of Continuing Education, South Central Comprehensive Center at the University of Oklahoma, provides some great suggestions. www.sc3ta.org/knowledgebases/Successful_Grants/4_2_5_0/resources/great-buzz-words-to-use-in-a-grant-proposal-569.html?node=4_2_5_0 

Here's another list of some action verbs to use in grant proposals from www.elks.org. 

Use the Right Words for Grant Proposals

Depending on the type of grant you're looking for, whether it's a research grant or a grant relating to early childhood education or funding for a homeless shelter, the recommended powerful word list you create may be different. 

Nonprofit Hub recommended these 10 Power Words for effective copy writing that increases conversion rates. Here is yet another list of some top power words that apply to grant writing. 

At the top of the list: 

Vision – Envision – Imagine – Just as for getting people to donate or buy products, using the word "imagine" brings people into your story. It instantly paints a picture and allows them to see the potential, possible results their support could create. It allows them to move past their rational mind and think in terms of how the kind of difference they can make to bring about a better world. 

Needs Assessment – TargetObjectives Goals – Grant makers want to know, who you are targeting. What is your target population or target audience? What is your target goal? 

Contribution – or Making a difference – funders want to make a difference. That's why they do what they do. They want to see that the money they're awarding has the maximum impact. Talk about the difference you make in real terms. Give examples of how their support will make a difference locally or globally. 

Community – Beverly D. Burgess the administrator for the Grant Writers of America group lists "community" as one of her top power words for the proposals she writes. 

Investment – One of the top concerns grant makers have is how their money will be used, whether it will make a difference, and whether the difference will be substantial. Using the term "investment" changes the way people feel about the money they contribute and the effect it has. It's not just a donation, it's an investment in the future of a community, a target group, or making the world a better place. 

You – Using the word "you" brings it home to people that they're involved. That we're all connected and adds responsibility for being part of "the change they want to see in the world," to quote Mahatma Gandhi. According to a study by Yale University's psychology department, using the word "you" instantly addresses the reader and gets their attention". It makes your request more personal, direct and compelling. 

Libby Hikind suggests starting your own powerful word list filled with positive action words you are comfortable with and keeping the one page at your fingertips for that moment in the writing process where you say, "I can't t think of that word." or " What's a better way to say that?" or I used that word a few times already – how can I say it better?"

If you are a grant writer, we have grant writing jobs for you. And if you are a grant seeker we have a place for you to request a grant writer for your grant proposal.

About the Author: The author is a staff writer for Grant Writer Team.

The Grant Writer and The NonProfit Organization

How does the grant writer fit into the nonprofit organization?

A grant writer is generally hired as a temporary freelance consultant when the current staff cannot effectively research, write and complete grant proposals while engaging in their current programmatic responsibilities.

We get calls all the time about hiring a grant writer as a regular employee or as a freelance consultant.  We built GrantWriterTeam to solve the dilemma for the nonprofit. Most nonprofits cannot afford an additional annual salary with payroll taxes and benefits for a full time grant writer.

 A request for a grant writer is issued and the bids for the job are brought before the Board, 

One nonprofit employee is assigned to the grant writer as the representative and liaison between the three branches of the nonprofit organization. This individual must have a passion for the work of the nonprofit, a clear understanding of the nonprofits operational procedures and access to the nonprofits corporate documents, and the programs and the need for funds, to take on this role.

Before attempting to apply for any grant be sure that the organization matches the eligibility requirement, as described in the grant application.  

What Happens If We Pay The Grant Writer And We Do Not Win The Grant?

The grant writer will prepare a well written document that can be easily tweaked or re-purposed and used in other grant applications. What's important is that your nonprofit's boilerplate pieces are well written and represent the history, governance, mission, vision, financial management, operational procedures and policies of the organization.  The grant writer should be able to guide the needs statement, programmatic plans, goals, objectives and evaluation and budget for the grant application.

One year the Ford Foundation received 144,000 letters of inquiry, e-mail requests, and actual proposals, but were only able to approve under 3,000.

By continuously working with the grant writer, the nonprofit leadership or staff member assigned, may get the-hands-on experience and training they need to continue the grant writing process for other similar applications.  

What Are The Three Branches of the Nonprofit Organization?

The Governance – leads the organization by administering the direction and guidance toward achievable goals and successful outcomes. Many decisions are governed by the board and the top tiers of management.

The Programs – Programs are the arms and legs of an organization. They take action to provide services, create resources, and strive toward accomplishing the organization's mission within the community.

The Central Administration – This includes the ballast of every organization: the office personnel and general staff who perform daily tasks to keep the organization operating smoothly.

What Are The Essential Roles Within the Nonprofit Organization

Board – This group governance serves to represent the organization and its community and clients. The board may also be held accountable for all policies and the strategic direction of its organization.

Board Chair – The Chair may appoint and coordinate committees, the executive director, and the board. This is also a position of leadership for the organization.

Committees –  They carry out the requests and operations of the board.

The Executive Director – This position is held responsible on all accounts of the organization, namely, the requests of the board, the committees' and staff's work, and much more.

The Staff and Volunteers – These roles are most important in building momentum for the organization within the community to achieve the organization's goals and mission. They generally support the committees and the executive director's requests.

To Read More About This Topic

Grant Writing | What the Pros Know: 50 Things I Wish I Had Known Before Writing My First Grant

 GrantWatch.com | Grants for NonprofitsNonprofit Management 101: A Complete and Practical Guide for Leaders and Professionals, by Darian Rodriguez Heyman.

The second edition is available for pre-order with this link: 

Nonprofit Management 101: A Complete and Practical Guide for Leaders and Professionals

 

 

 

About the Author: Staff Writer

Grant Funding for Transportation Infrastructure Projects – Now Flowing to Cities and States

Opportunities for infrastructure and transportation grants don't come along every day, so when they do, it's important to be ready to take advantage of them. These grant applications can be lengthy and time consuming. GrantWriterTeam can help you find an experienced grant writer with a proven track record of success. Click this link to Request a Grant Writer.

Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grants were announced on Dec. 11 at an event at Department of Transportation (DOT) headquarters. The department said it divided the funds among 91 projects in 49 states plus the District of Columbia. The only state to not receive a BUILD grant this year was Hawaii. BUILD grants are designed to stimulate stagnant infrastructure spending nationwide, the funding will also provide jobs and economic stimulus for all areas of the country.

The following article was reprinted from Strategic Partnerships, with permission of the author: Mary Scott Nabers. 

There’s new funding – $1.5 billion – now available to fund critical transportation projects.  Government officials are moving quickly to finalize plans and contracting solicitations should be rolled out soon.  More than 90 road, rail, transit and port projects planned in rural and urban areas of the United States will benefit from the new grant funds to support expanding and upgrading American infrastructure. These funds will offer financial support for projects in 49 states and the District of Columbia and will supplement existing or alternative financing for the projects.

Mary Scott Nabers bookInside the Infrastructure Revolution: A Roadmap for Building America, a handbook for contractors, investors and the public at large, explores how public-private partnerships or joint ventures can help finance their infrastructure projects. Nabers describes in detail the development of joint ventures that transfer risk and maintenance responsibility to private vendors under long-term contracts–with government retaining control and oversight.

The revenue is part of the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Deployment (BUILD) grant program.  This program was once the very popular Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER, grant program. The federal government encourages using these funds with a variety of other financing sources, including municipal bonds, public-private partnerships and/or alternative funding from other sources. 

Crumbling infrastructure continues to plague government officials. The funding needs for transportation projects are great, as evidenced by the fact that requests for funding totaled $10.9 billion.  That’s more than seven times the $1.5 billion that is available in the program.

Projects in rural areas received special dispensation. While urban areas must consolidate other funding with BUILD grants, public officials in rural areas can use this funding for up to 100 percent of the costs of a project. That’s good news for the 62 projects awarded grants in rural areas. Rural applications represented 59 percent of the total applications.

Approved projects include the construction or rehabilitation of more than 200 bridges nationwide, including $20 million toward a nearly $30 million rural project in California to widen a border port of entry. Restoration and rehabilitation of arches and their foundations on the Manhattan and Brooklyn approaches to the Brooklyn Bridge are part of a $337.6 million project that was awarded a $25 million BUILD grant.

Oregon’s International Port of Coos Bay plans to spend $25 million for improvements on approximately 15 bridges along its rail line.  The project will enhance safety and extend the life of the bridges. A $20 million BUILD grant was awarded to help fund the project.

The largest grants awarded were $25 million, with no more than $150 million awarded in any state. One $134.5 million project to complete a 4.8-mile, four-lane interstate facility in southwest Missouri that will bypass US-71 and connect to Interstate 49 in Arkansas got grant funding. The city of Spring Hill, Tennessee, will use a $25 million grant toward its $48.3 million construction of an interchange on I-65. South Carolina was awarded $25 million to help fund a $51.1 million freight rail infrastructure improvements project.

Texas dominated the field of grant recipients. The Lone Star State was awarded five BUILD grants totaling more than $104 million. With a goal of building a four-lane thoroughfare and improving two existing roads, the city of Haslet will use a $20 million grant to defray the costs of a $59 million rural project expected to relieve traffic congestion. Funding of $14.05 million was awarded to the Brazos Transit District to help pay for a $17.5 million project to replace more than 30 existing buses with diesel and zero-emission battery-electric buses.

In Maryland, grant funds totaling $6.5 million will help fund a $32.7 million public-private partnership project to add a second berth at the Seagirt Marine Terminal. Sioux City, Iowa, was awarded a $7 million grant to cover the entire cost of a project to design and build an operations and bus storage facility for the Siouxland Regional Transit System. More than 100 traffic signals statewide will be replaced or enhanced in South-Central Maine with a BUILD grant of $8.2 million paying for half of the $16.48 million cost of phase one of the project. Some of the signal systems will include features such as adaptive signal technology, dedicated short-range communications and infrared camera detection.

The city of Espanola, New Mexico, received a grant of $1.29 million to help fund a $6.1 million project to construct a maintenance facility, vehicle wash bay and fueling station for the North Central Regional Transit District.  And in Youngstown, Ohio, upgrading pedestrian safety is the goal of a $26 million project that will provide autonomous transit shuttles, transit waiting environments, pedestrian and bicycle facilities and LED lighting. This project was awarded a $10.8 million BUILD grant.

The positive impact of BUILD grants is undeniable. Designed to stimulate stagnant infrastructure spending nationwide, the funding will also provide jobs and economic stimulus for all areas of the country.

The new funding is a positive indicator of a busy year in 2019. 

About the Author: Mary Scott Nabers is president and CEO of Strategic Partnerships Inc. (SPI), a business development company specializing in government contracting and procurement consulting throughout the U.S.

Sources:

How To Keep Your Grant Writing Clients Happy

Are you a grant writer?

If so,  you are probably spending half to one quarter of your time finding new grant writing clients. How about living a much less stressful life by spending some of that time, just keeping your current grant writing clients happy. 

How do you do that?

  1. When you start the job – be sure you have a few ways to reach your client.
  2. Be responsive – respond to your clients emails and texts as they come in – even if it is an, "I am sorry I can't talk now – but I can in an hour."
  3. Be transparent – create a contract with a system of deliverables – as we have on GrantWriterTeam – so that everyone knows the date you will complete each part of the whole application. Meet your deadlines!!!
  4. Provide your client with their work product after they pay for a deliverable. (On GrantWriterTeam you will upload deliverables, enter a complete date and after payment the client can download their work product.)
  5. Mark drafts clearly as drafts – so no one gets upset over minor errors.
  6. Give your client a running list of documents needed – marking the date due; when received; and remind them often.  You cannot submit a grant without all the documents.  No one is happy when stress is created on the day of the grant deadline looking for documents.
  7. Read the RFP or application carefully so there are no surprises half way into the application.
  8. Spell check anything you provide to your client. Proofread and edit your text – you are the professional!  A client should only need to review your text for content.
  9. If you make a mistake – take responsibility, apologize and happily correct your error. A happy client is a returning client.
  10. Thank the client for the opportunity to have worked with them and suggest your next steps.

At GrantWriterTeam we want you to develop a long term relationship with your client and we have set up our portal in a way that rewards those long term relationships. To find new clients and grant writing projects complete your profile on GrantWriterTeam.com. 

 

 

 

About the Author: Libby Hikind is a retired grant writer and the founder and CEO of GrantWriterTeam.com

How to Apply for Grants and Write Effective Grant Proposals

Crafting effective requests for funding can be a daunting prospect. Competitive, confusing and overwhelming for newcomers, but the good news is that grant writing can be learned.

Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of GrantWatch.com and GrantWriterTeam, said good grant writers need skills beyond strong grammar and punctuation.  Think about what makes your proposal unique. What will set your application apart from others? Find a way to capture the funder’s attention. Is the writing creative? Imaginative? Does it evoke any emotion? Touch their hearts?  Evoke images for them?

The layout and questions on funding applications are generally straightforward, but every application is different depending on the type of funding body you approach and the kind of funding you’re applying for.

GrantWriterTeam.com receives a high number of requests from organizations that seek qualified grant writers. The process and the ability to communicate a vision should not be underestimated. Nonprofits, without the funds to hire a full-time in-house grant writer often turn to GrantWriterTeam.

The Letter of Inquiry and Applications

Many trusts and foundations require a letter of inquiry or letter of application prior to submitting your application. The letter should be no longer than two pages. Keep your sentences short and use active language, including specific accomplishments. If there is an application form, don’t exceed the word limit. Include only the important information and the data that support it.

If you’re working with others, start by talking through the funding application with your colleagues to get their input on the proposal. Collate all the information together and ask them to continue to update you directly if they have anything new to add in future, and to get it to you before the deadline. 

Read the application requirements and form several times. Break down each question into its various parts, and make sure you answer every aspect of the question. Be as specific as possible. Add examples in a concise, succinct manner. Keep language simple and avoid ambiguous or general, generic statements. 

Fresh Outlook

Assume your funder isn’t familiar with your organization or the issues you address. Look at your application as if through their eyes. Avoid jargon that only people in your organization or your field are familiar with. When appropriate, use the same language they use in their guidelines. 

Make sure you address the key questions:

  • What is the issue?
  • Why is it a problem and what evidence do you have for this need?
  • How will you address it – what activities and outcomes?
  • What will you not be able to do (scope)?
  • Why should they choose you versus another organization to address this? What’s your track record?
  • What difference will their funding make? How will you meet their objectives?
  • How will you measure success (monitoring and evaluation)?

Funders will lose interest if your application is too difficult to understand or takes too much of their time to figure out what you’re trying to say – or what you’re asking for the money for. Be clear and straightforward in your request.

Getting and Staying Organized

  • Make a Checklist. 
  • Choose a title for your project that’s clear and self-explanatory
  • If you’re responding to a problem, outline why it needs to be solved.
  • Allocate time for research. Gather facts, statistics and quotations to prove the importance of your proposal and why they should choose to fund you.
  • List how you will go about achieving your short, medium, and long-term goals with the funding you’re requesting.
  • Make it clear to those who will be reading the proposal what you will be creating or providing with the money received, and how you plan to be able to continue to operate once the funding period is over.
  • Decide who you will be working with to implement the plans and why.
  • Outline your progress to date.
  • Build a timeline detailing all that’s required to take your project further: any positions that will be needed, or number of hours per week it will take you or other employees already working with you, the next steps you want to take and the time this will take you.
  • Use assertive language. Choose confident words and keep the funders objective in mind at every stage. Does your proposal fit with their mission?

Create a Budget

Create clear breakdown of costs, outline the costs for pilots, development phase or an investment-ready proposal. Be realistic when breaking down costs: budgets should accurately reflect the planning, research, project delivery and evaluation. Grant and funding assessors will always look out for over and under-estimated costs. If you don’t have a financial officer in your organization to help you with this, it is worth seeking advice from an external financial expert so that your budget will be as precise and realistic as possible for the achievement of your goals and objectives.

List any other funders you’ve received funding from, and the terms you have with them. Give details about the other investors and in what capacity you’re working with them. Some funders will only take on projects where they’re the sole granter, so be sure before you apply that you’ll be eligible.

Reporting Results

Make sure you have a clear way of identifying your impact and prove your organization has the capacity to manage, deliver and evaluate your proposed activity.

Show how you will be able to continue the project once the funding period is over. Let the funders see what their money has accomplished and how the good you plan to do with their money will continue after the grant funding ends.

Before Submitting Your Proposal

Review your final draft and proofread it. Make sure you haven’t skipped any sections and that you’re submitting all documentation requested. Get someone impartial to proof your final draft as well. Ask for the opinion of someone your trust and be open to any constructive criticism and feedback they provide. Use it to refine your answers and project plans.

Even if you’re not required to detail your timeline, building one for the rest of your project will give you clearer vision of the whole. By fully understanding your proposal, you’ll be able to break down, outline and respond to each part of the process or delivery.

Are your vision and objectives achievable? Can you see any areas in which you’ll need assistance to bring it to fruition? Identify where you’ll need assistance, whether that’s from legal advice, marketing, accounting, administrative or professional support outside of what your organization currently has.

Be ready to supply key information about your organization that will be requested if your application succeeds. Make sure you have these ready to present prior to any consultation meeting dates set with funders.

To be effective grant writers need to know how to communicate and convey a message to different audiences; research funding opportunities; and build and maintain relationships with funding sources.

Grant writing is a skilled craft that involves time. It’s important to develop accurate management plans and have accurate reporting mechanisms.

GrantWriterTeam.com receives a high number of requests from organizations that seek qualified grant writers. Nonprofits, without the funds to hire a full-time in-house grant writer often turn to GrantWriterTeam.

Grant writers from all backgrounds who have the talent to craft a compelling grant proposal should sign-up on GrantWriterTeam.com, a service of GrantWatch.com. Joining GrantWriterTeam is easy. Create a profile, fill out the application and begin to bid on grant writing jobs.

 

About the Author: The author is a staff writer for GrantWriterTeam.com.

Architect or a Gardener? What’s Your Writing Style?

Game of Thrones creator, George R. R. Martin shared this analogy in an interview. He’s quoted as saying:

“I think there are two types of writers, the architects and the gardeners. The architects plan everything ahead of time, like an architect building a house. They know how many rooms are going to be in the house, what kind of roof they're going to have, where the wires are going to run, what kind of plumbing there's going to be. They have the whole thing designed and blueprinted out before they even nail the first board up. The gardeners dig a hole, drop in a seed and water it. They kind of know what seed it is, they know if planted a fantasy seed or mystery seed or whatever. But as the plant comes up and they water it, they don't know how many branches it's going to have, they find out as it grows. And I'm much more a gardener than an architect.”  

Writers in chat rooms, on LinkedIn and Facebook groups began to share their thoughts and weigh in on the topic. But is it either or, or is there a spectrum?

The analogy has spread to other fields where people are asking this question as well. In business, innovation, design, technology, teaching … How do you operate? What kind of creative are you?

When you start a new project, do you plan it out in advance, or jump right in and start, then see what emerges? Are you a planner or a planter? A plotter or discoverer?

Libby Hikind, CEO and founder of GrantWriterTeam.com, and retired grant writer says that the budget is to the grant, as blueprints are to a building. Libby's way of starting a grant was a clear read and highlight of the application identifying all budgetary directions and merging it with the needs of the applicant.  The budget was her blueprint. After that she would plant seeds programmatically.

Libby invites all grant writers to join the GrantWriterTeam.

 

Architects

Grant writing architects can't even think about starting to write unless they have the whole project planned out. They’re actually at an advantage. Grants are generally laid out with steps to follow. The architect grant writer will find it easy to work from a detailed outline, or based on the answers to the questions asked that need to be enumerated. Architects often devise timelines.

If you’ve ever covered your wall in sticky notes, you’re probably an architect (or maybe a detective?). Some will literally map everything out.

When in school, we’re often taught and obligated to follow this style. We’re told to make an outline first and to follow prescribed steps. We’re often even graded on said outline. And then we write – opening paragraph (thesis or hypothesis), body, conclusion.

hall architectureAdvantages of Being an Architect

  • Prevents or diminishes the frequency and severity of writer's block (you’ve already worked everything out, so you know the next step).
  • Tends to feel more focused, especially on first drafts.
  • More efficient. You’ve got the plan, all that’s left is to flesh it out.
  • Minimal structural editing
  • Higher level of productivity and faster word count rate
  • Minimizes anxiety.

Disadvantages:

  • Can be creatively boring or less exciting, at the very least
  • Writing may feel lifeless or stale
  • You may dump the whole project because you don’t think you can succeed in getting the grant.
  • Outlining becomes a new form of procrastination—you spend weeks or months on researching, feel like you’re not done yet, so you keep outlining and then have no time to do the actually writing, or have to rush to get the grant written and meet your deadline in the end.
  • Writing can feel stiff when making decisions for the sake of an outline.

Gardeners

Gardeners plant the seed of an idea and watch it blossom. They often begin with a particular thought or topic, then work from there. Where it goes is anyone’s guess. While being a gardener is liberating, it also requires a lot of trial and error. Gardeners might start on a promising idea and spend weeks nurturing it. But what if it doesn’t grow? It’s discouraging to spend time on a particular piece or project only to realize you have no idea how it should develop.

Grant writing can be difficult for gardener-types unless they use the structure inherent in the genre to assist them in being organized and detailed. The guidelines can help them stay focused and on task.

Gardeners tend to write by the seat of their pants, like, “Late night drivers who can only see as far down the road as their headlights will allow, trusting that they will arrive at their destination,” writes Tara East in a blog on the topic. But grant writing gardeners at least know their destination.  They can use the guidelines to form a general plan if not a step-by-step outline to follow. 

Garden, which way to go?Advantages of Being a Gardener

  • The writing is exciting and full of surprises.
  • It feels more spontaneous and natural.
  • Less rigid
  • Feels more creative
  • More original and organic ideas are likely to occur.
  • Allows the writer flexibility in the story telling.
  • You can start writing right now.

Disadvantages:

  • Increased risk of writer’s block
  • Often lack focus or need to learn to stay focused and on task.
  • Potential to go off on a huge tangent that takes you in a completely different direction.
  • Additional time spent getting back on the right track
  • Difficulty reaching your destination or being sure when you’ve gotten there.
  • Massive rewriting and editing to fix the holes
  • Potential for a weak ending.

Can You Become a Master Gardener or Landscape Architect?

No one is completely one or the other. People tend to lean more to one side of the spectrum than the other. Most writers are hybrids, finding their own blend of these two styles. It’s important to find the blend that’s right for you, but how do you know if it’s working?

1. Take an honest look at yourself and your work.  
Know your basic style and what you need to work on. Have you met your writing goals for the day, week, month? If not, re-examine your approach. Yes, it might be tough for gardeners to even set those…

2. Avoid either or thinking.  It isn't a matter of one style being better, or right vs. wrong. Learn to be comfortable with both sides of a spectrum. Explore new ideas while at the same time taking advantage of your strengths. These require different skills, and it’s easiest in the short run to choose one or the other. But to succeed over the long run, we need to do both, shoot for “both-and” outcomes.

3. Both skills are needed. So, do what you can to figure out which approach you’re more comfortable with, and then develop a strategy for getting both skills into your process.

4. Collaborate to address your weaknesses. If you don’t have both skills yourself and don’t have the time to work on your weaknesses enough to find or write the grant – it might be best to find a partner, create or join a team. Remember, the key to success when collaborating is to have cognitive diversity. Work with someone who has the skills you lack and learn as much as you can from them. Model their style, or parts of it, to the extent that you can without losing the beautiful qualities you already posses.  

Find ways to use your strengths and strengthen your weak areas or find collaborators to help you complete your projects for the most success. Whichever you are, keep building and keep planting. Keep writing!

To find grant writing projects join GrantWriterTeam.com. 

About the Author: The author is a staff writer for Grant Writer Team.

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Build Lasting Relationships With Grantors and Funding Will Follow

When applying for a grant, seek out ways to build a relationship with the funding source.  Libby Hikind, Founder and CEO of GrantWatch.com, advises grant seekers and GrantWriterTeam grant writers to: "Do some research as to who the funding source has funded in the past, the amount of the awards and the types of program." When dealing with a foundation or corporate funding source, you should be able to find information on the experience, education and existing nonprofit relationships of the administrative staff (other boards they serve on…). When you make that initial phone call or email you should be prepared with some common ground and know how to approach the foundation staff member you want to connect with.

Getting a grant award involves competing for money from a variety of funding sources.  The better acquainted you are with the funding source, the easier it can be to get the funds you're seeking for your nonprofit organization, your community group or yourself. Building a relationship with people at the foundation or organization that you are seeking funding from, can greatly ease and aide the process.

Theresa Lu, Ph.D., founder and CEO of MissionQuest, Inc. is involved in every aspect of the grantsmanship process with her primary roles including strategic planning, marketing, talent development, and fiscal management. Dr. Lu is a highly regarded consultant and educator, with 25 years of experience in the fields of organizational development and management. Dr. Lu is also an associate professor at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and an adjunct professor at California State University, Dominguez Hills. She is the author of Total Domination: Millions from Grants.

Since 2002, MissionQuest, Inc. has been offering transformative organizational development services including team building, leadership development, and strategic planning.

The first step in getting a grant, explains Lu, is to do a historical analysis. Lu and her team look at who has been funding the nonprofit for the past three years. They look at what grants they’ve gotten, what they’ve applied for that's been rejected, and any prior funders it makes sense to approach again. Only then do they look for new potential donors. 

"The next step is to look at how to sell to organizations. What is unique about the program? What are the greatest strengths? Is there a family aspect? A children's aftercare program? A health component? A senior assistance component?  We think about strategies up front, before we look for new funders."

Next, they do a thorough analysis of the organization, their budgets, their funding, and their programming.

They subscribe to different websites such as GrantWatch.com and do searches based on the different segments and present the results to their clients and work with them to decide which to apply for.

Lu and others at MissionQuest talk about "Old friends" and "Newer friends." Saying, it's all about relationship building. "We ask our clients, 'What are the opportunities in your organization to meet potential sponsors to brand your organization? We recommend that they get out and meet people. Are they a member of the Chamber or Rotary, for example, in their area?”

"We ask them if there’s anything happening at their organization that would provide an opportunity for their regular funders to see how their contributions are making a difference. We recommend that they invite them to a graduation ceremony, for instance, if it's a school, or comp them with tickets for their fundraising events."

Lu and her team do all they can to find the names of the key individual(s) to contact within an agency or foundation and their phone numbers to call and email them. They strategize with clients, coaching them on what to say on phone calls and  working with them on how to pitch to each program, highlighting the importance of an “elevator speech’.

Some tips for what to say when calling funders

Practice your elevator speech. Write it down and practice. Tell them your name, the name of your organization and two to three sentences about your organization and what you do.

Do your research 

Know everything you can about the funders. “Don't ask them anything you could find out on their website or in an online search.  Ask specific questions like: ‘We notice that you fund Florida, do you fund Gainesville? How many grants did you give to programs in Gainesville in the past year?' Have three to five questions to ask, be specific. Don't waste their time.”

"You want to put forth a proposal that really speaks to the funding officer and board of directors.  You want the funding officer to be able to advocate for your organization.  Ideally you want a partnership. Make sure your proposal relates to what they're interested in funding.”

Collect information about the funders and their interests both professionally and personally. Get to know the program officer as well as possible. "Consider it like making a friend. Also, they want to get to know you. They want to know who you are and what your organization does. They want to believe in you and know you'll spend their dollars well. That's how you build long term sustainable relationships," according to Lu.

Become an Expert

Dr. Lu asks that you, "Consider buying our book." Total Domination: Millions from Grants on Kindle takes readers through the world of grantsmanship in a thorough, informative, engaging way, from finding valuable grant opportunities to producing a top-notch proposal. This step-by-step guide will walk you through all the elements of a proposal, plus budgeting, program evaluation, funder research and more. Total Domination

"We published it not to make money, but because we wanted to make this information accessible to as many people as possible. We teach between 200 to 300 people a year, so we know how to train people in grantsmanship." Four of their staff members have PhDs and provide program evaluation, organizational development and executive coaching as well. 

"We feel blessed that we get to work with people who are so passionate and focused on making the world a better place. I tell people: 'I want you to be the most popular person in the room because what you do is so important and relationship building is a major way that we own our power.' "

It's important to remember that relationships count more than filling out papers. Grantors are often wanting to continue to give to organizations that they previously funded rather than start from scratch with a new company that's an unknown entity. Lu recommends working on those relationships before sending in the paperwork. This includes finding out who is in charge of reading the grant proposal, and what they're looking for. This could include simple phone calls or email connection if that's the best way to get their attention. If you know someone at the agency or foundation that you are seeking funding from, contact them and see if you can get them on board with your request. If they are not the right person to contact, they might put you in touch with the right person for the grant you seek.

Foster Lasting Relationships

Once you get a grant it's important to stay in contact with the funder to make sure that you are in compliance, especially if you hope to get more funding in the future. Touch base with them to find out if they have other grants that your agency or nonprofit would benefit from and stay on their radar for continued funding when the time comes. Maintaining strong relationships and applying to the same granting foundation or government agency is often easier and more effective than finding new funders and starting from scratch.

Request a Grant Writer

If you need a grantwiter, you can find one through Grant Writing Team.

For more information call: 561-249-4129 or email: support@grantwriterteam.com.

 

 

 

 

About the Author: Staff writer for the Grant Writing Institute.

On Johns Island, Grant Writers Could Help Rural Mission Keep Doors Open

From an increasingly valuable 5-acre waterfront lot, Linda Gadson can look past the poverty around her on Johns Island to see how the affluent homeowners on Wadmalaw Island live. As large, city-approved development projects begin to integrate the haves with the have nots on Johns Island, the executive director of Rural Mission wonders how she will keep the nonprofit’s doors open.

For a half-century, the faith-based charity organization has assisted migrant farmers and rehabilitated homes for low-come residents on the barrier island near Charleston. But, a reduction in funding has drained the mission’s bank account, forcing Gadson to cut staff, services, and programs. Meanwhile, more families seek assistance as Rural Mission struggles to help itself.

With a permanent staff of five, Gadson is juggling both fundraising and grant writing. She needs bodies, even on a part-time basis, to chip in and handle the roles.

Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of GrantWatch.com, said many nonprofits in the same predicament will turn to GrantWriterTeam.com, to identify grant writers who can secure funds for projects from public and private foundations, government sources and corporations, and crate a YouHelp.com free fundraising page. GrantWriterTeam gives nonprofits a head-start in fundraising by matching them with a grant writer who already possess skills in writing, research and communicating and is persistent, personable, organized and creative enough to handle diverse assignments.

Skilled grant writers are always in high demand. Hikind said more than 1.5 million nonprofits and hundreds more organizations rely on their unique qualities and skills. Communications professionals who have a background in journalism, public relations, marketing or English or a liberal arts degree, three successful grant proposals, as well as a desire to serve as a voice for nonprofit programs and services are encouraged to join GrantWriterTeam.

Without a grant writer, nonprofits like Rural Mission will continue to struggle to obtain funding. Most funding sources award grants to only those charity organizations that are sustainable. Rural Mission is now somewhat behind the eight ball.

Gadson said a new board of directors charged with developing a needs assessment is a step toward reversing its misfortunes. A needs assessment will help a grant writer present a clear and concise rational for funds along with the urgency.

In the case of Rural Mission, the needs assessment will describe how a cut in federal funds has put a dent in the nonprofit’s budget and ability to pay basic bills and operational costs. Right now, Rural Mission needs about $12,000 to stay afloat.

Because in addition to renovating homes and working with migrant farm laborers, Rural Mission the mission also buses worshipers to non-denominational services held in a chapel on the property. And when funds are available, provisions for medicine, transportation, food and cash to pay utilities in crisis situations.

For Linete Nesbit, that emergency played out last year when her home was flooded during Tropical Storm Irma. She is one of 200 residents awaiting help. We do not know today how many more people have been flooded from Michael.

Grant writers from all backgrounds who have the talent to craft a compelling proposal for funds are encouraged to sign-up on GrantWriterTeam.com, a service of GrantWatch.com. Joining GrantWriterTeam is easy. Create a profile, fill out the application and begin to bid on grant writing jobs.

About the Author: Staff Writer at GrantWatch

Expanding Internet Access To Rural Areas Means Local Governments Connecting To Grant Writers

Improving internet access to rural residents could cost Skagit County as much as $1 billion, but government officials aren’t quite sure where or how they will find the funds for expanding broadband coverage.

Some county commissioners believe a grant writer may be the answer.

Although the position is not in the budget plans, Bobby Jackson, a commissioner for the county that occupies the northwestern corner of the State of Washington, thinks a grant writer can pay for itself.

But first, Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of GrantWatch.com and GrantWriterTeam, said grant writers must be skilled at navigating through the often-complex eligibility requirements to identify and secure new funding.

Skagit County hopes to apply directly to the federal government or to programs within the State of Washington that take advantage of dark fiber networks, an information infrastructure currently in place, but not in use to extend internet service to outlying areas. Hikind said a grant writer with some background and understanding of the subject matter of a grant is helpful, but not always necessary.  A good grant writer becomes the expert on any topic through good old fashioned research and conferences with the client and asking experts in the field right-on target questions.

Once hired, the commissioners believe a grant writer might broaden the county’s fundraising scope and bring in enough money to offset a full-time salary and, perhaps, begin to balance Skagit’s budget.

Hikind says she built GrantWriterTeam in response to the need for skilled grant writers when local government agencies and nonprofits could not afford to hire a full-time grant writer.

Those agencies without the budget to invest in hiring or training a grant writer will turn to GrantWriterTeam.com. Proposal writers at GrantWriterTeam.com translate ideas into compelling grant proposals. 

Grant writing is a skilled craft that involves the ability to research and sell a program's needs, objectives and activities in narrative form. The process and the ability to communicate a vision based on best practices and a cost effective programmatic budget with evaluation mechanisms should not be underestimated.

Writers at GrantWriterTeam.com will collect all background data, articulate concepts and ensure that arguments are well-documented. Grant writing can be extremely puzzling and require multiple applications before achieving success. For those agencies that do not have the time and energy to commit to writing a grant proposal, GrantWriterTeam.com will help find a qualified writer who does.

Grant writers from all backgrounds who have the talent to craft a compelling grant proposal are encouraged to sign-up at GrantWriterTeam.com, powered by GrantWatch.com. Joining GrantWriterTeam is easy. Create a profile, fill out the application and begin to bid on grant writing jobs.

About the Author: Staff Writer for GrantWatch

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