Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Webcam Contest!!!!

I mentioned it a few weeks ago, but the webcam contest is here now!

The purpose of the contest is to give our readers a chance to interact with us...and maybe win something, too!

Our May 2008 contest focuses on the interaction between your right brain and your left brain. Specifically, we want you to write and submit haiku poems that have something to do with grants. Your haiku could be about getting a grant, administering a grant, evaluating a grant, looking for a grant for your program, or even the frustrations of writing a grant. ANYTHING associated with grants! The word grant does not need to appear in the haiku.

What is a haiku?A haiku is a type of poem that has three lines. The first line has 5 syllables. The second line has 7 syllables. The third line has 5 syllables. That's it.

What can you win? One winner will receive a free webcam and a 30 day free trial to helloWorld, a web-based social networking site that can help you easily create live video broadcasts, video podcasts, video email, video blogs, and more! Click here to check out helloWorld.

Submit your haiku by replying to this post or replying to the "May 2008 Contest" thread in our forum. You will have to register to the forum to reply. If you prefer, you may email your entry to If you choose to enter, your email information will not be shared or sold, and you will not be subjected to a bunch of spam.

Entries will be accepted between April 18, 2008 and May 31, 2008. The winner will be announced by June 6, 2008.

If you are the winner, you will be asked to submit your full name and address (which will remain confidential) so we can send you your prize. Failure to do so within 15 days will result in the loss of your prize and we'll give the prize to the next ranked winner. The winner will not be charged any fees, shipping costs, etc.

y entering this contest, you agree that a) any haiku you submit is your original work, b) you give your permission for your haiku to be posted on the Grant Goddess web site, and c) you will receive no compensation for the posting of your haiku. You also agree that our decision regarding the winner is final.

You may enter as many times as you wish!

If you have any questions about the contest, you may send me those via the email adress above, too, or you may reply to this post with your question and I'll ansswer it here for everyone to see. I'll do my best to get you a timely response.So, it's time to get creative!

Start writing those haiku!

Surviving the Big Deadline

Today is a grant deadline for us. As we were rushing around to get the proposal finalized so we can deliver it this afternoon, it occurred to me that we use some very definite strategies for dealing with "the last day," better known as "the deadline."

Here are my tips:

First, take one thing at a time. During the rest of the grant development and writing process, multi-tasking is OK, even essential. However, when you are coming down to the final stages (final proofreading, assembly, etc.), you really need to take one step at a time. Completely focus on the task at hand and don't stop until that task is completed. For example, if you are proofreading forms, do not give anything else your attention until the forms are complete. If you are double-checking the order of documents in the proposal against the RFP checklist, give that task your undivided attention. Jumping from task to task at this stage is the best way to make a critical error.

Second, don't panic. If you stick with one task at a time, it's easy to avoid panic, but panic sets in when a) you try to do too many things at once, and b) you get too close to the final deadline. That brings me to my next tip. . .

Know when to stop. Here's the deal - you can revise that document over, and over, and over again - forever. The nature of the writing craft includes the fact that it can always be improved. But you really need to know when to call it quits.

Remember that the deadline will come...and go. It helps me to deal with deadline stress to remember that tomorrow this deadline will be a thing of the past, no matter how many more changes I make. There will be an end to the stress.

Finally, remember that the goal is to get the proposal submitted on time. Keep your eye on the clock. You can have the world's best proposal that you have revised twenty times, but if you miss the deadline, it just won't matter.

You can get through this. I promise.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Importance of Budget in Grant Development

I know - I usually go on and on about how the money should not drive your vision, and how you should develop you vision and your plan first, and then work on finding funding. All of that is still true (and I will probably go on and on about it even more in the future!). However, there is a time when the budget is a critical part of the grant development process.

On the grant I am working on right now - the one that is due in less than 48 hours - that time would be NOW.

I have worked with my client on the vision and the plan development. We have talked about all the different components of the program and what they want to do, but what they actually can do, and how many individuals they can serve, depends on how much money they will have and how they will choose to use it. Until those decisions are made, my writing project is dead in the water.

So I wait.

Wouldn't it be great if we could implement a million dollar program with $200,000? Yeah, that would be great. But we can't, so we are forced to make the hard decisions.

Here's the opportunity cost of waiting until the last minute (i.e., the day before the grant is due) to finalize those difficult budget decisions:

1) The final program design in the narrative cannot be written (or it will have to undergo major revisions) until the budget is finalized. This means that -

2) There will be a last minute rush to double-check all the facts and figures to make sure the budget matches the narrative. This means that -

3) There will likely be more errors than usual in the final proposal because rushing through something at the last minute is not the way to do your best work.


4) Our proofing and editing time is now cut down by every hour that we are delayed at this point. I have lost the chance to put it down and come back for a review 24 hours later. We'll probably be doing final proofing and editing on the due date, which is never the best case scenario.

How can this scenario be prevented? Move budget development up in the prioritization process. Ideally, the budget should be completed after the vision and program development process and before the narrative is written.

O.K., there are usually glitches in the grant development process and it's not unusual for all the pieces to come together at the last minute (or close to it). I just feel better when the budget is done a bit sooner.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

New "Tips from The Grant Goddess" Video Podcast Episode

I just added two new video podcast episodes:

Don't Try to Say Too Much


Proofread, Proofread.....Then Proofread Some More

There are several ways you can access the podcasts. One way (and probably the easiest way) is to go to my helloWorld site. When you get there, click on the i-pod icon on the left side of the page. Then you'll see a list of all the video podcast episodes.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Writer's Talent on Display

I watched the movie Resurrecting the Champ with my son last night. There was a quote at the beginning (that was also repeated at the end) that caught my attention. The quote compared a prize fighter's talent being on display in the ring to a writer's talent being on display when a writer's work is published.

That caught my attention because I have been asked to review several other grant writers' work recently and I am often struck by how difficult it is for writers to gracefully accept critiques of their work. Beginning writers, especially, find it hard to accept criticism. Those of us who have been earning a living with our writing for years or decades have developed a thicker skin, but it's still not very easy.

Having your talent on display and open for criticism is never easy. Grant writing can be especially brutal. Even though you may get a gold star when your grant is funded, being rejected feels like a severe judgement on your talent as a writer, even though the rejection may have had nothing to do with your writing and everything to do with the content of the program you were writing about.

My message for today is this - Be kind when you are critiquing someone's writing. Tell the truth, but speak it with love. It's not easy having your talent on display.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Evaluating When a Grant Opportunity is Right for Your Organization

I just published a hub page on "Evaluating When a Grant Opportunity is Right for Your Organization."

I can't tell you how many times organizations approach us just wanting money. Sometimes they come with a grant application in hand that is clearly not right for them. Pursuing grants that are not right for you is usually a futile effort.

Learn how to know when an opportunity is really right for you.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Top 5 Mistakes of Novice Grant Writers

I wrote an article this morning on the Top 5 Mistakes of Novice Grant Writers. Click on the link to go to my Hub page for that article.

The article summarizes the mistakes most often made by novices, even those who are good writers. If you avoid those errors, you'll be sure to improve your grant writing success.

At the end of the article, leave a comment. Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

New Forum on the Website!

We have a new forum feature on the Grant Goddess website! Just click on the "Forum" link on the menu bar on the Grant Goddess home page and you'll be taken directly to the forum. You can browse the forum without registering, but you have to register to post any comments or questions. Registration is free, and all that is required is you first name and email address. Don't worry. We will not sell or share your email address. You don't have to worry about spam with us.

So why did we start a forum? We want you to have as many opportunities as possible to ask questions, express your thoughts, and interact with us as possible. You can post to the blog (here) without registering, so if you'd prefer not to have to give up your email address, that's ok, too.

I get questions from people all the time about grant writing, evaluation, performance report preparation, and training. If you don't want to send an email or call with your question, you can use the forum. Also, the forum is a great way to read answers to other peoples' questions. Together, we can create a community of learners here that can really make a difference for people.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Postage with Your Picture!

I made this very cool discovery....

You can upload any photo - a picture of your kids or grandkids, your school, your company's logo - and your photo will be printed on real U.S. postage stamps! How cool is that?!

Click on the banner to go to the website to check it out for yourself.

I had some made with my son's picture, and now I'm about to have some printed with a picture of my company's logo.

I thought it was fun and different....and worth sharing.

About Creative Resources & Research

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Woodland, CA, United States
Creative Resources and Research is a consulting firm specializing in grant writing, grant seeking, program evaluation and professional development training. We have worked with hundreds of clients including public and private schools, school districts, universities, non-profit organizations, and social service agencies throughout California, securing over $155 million from federal, state and private foundation funding sources over the past decade. Our primary grant writers and program evaluators have over 50 years of combined experience in the education and social services fields. At CRR we prefer a personal approach to the clients we work with; by developing long term relationships, we are better suited to match client’s needs with available funding sources. We provide a variety of services to help assist you, including grant writing, evaluation consulting, professional development opportunities, and workshops.