Friday, April 2, 2010

Grants Are Like Donuts

Non-profit consultant and grant writing expert, Derek Link, loves donuts....maybe a little too much. Here are some useful thoughts on sustainability and balanced funding:

Organizations sometimes consume grants like I eat donuts, fast and furious. Grants come in lots of flavors just like donuts. There’s federal maple bars and state chocolate covered, even foundation cream filled, and each is delicious!

Grants are sweet and taste good when you get them, but like donuts, they’ll always run out and leave you wanting more. Building a budget only on grant money is dangerous to your fiscal health, just like building a diet on donuts can be hazardous. Grants can leave your budget bloated with costs you can’t easily erase when the grant is gone. Just try to get rid of a valuable employee! Just as donuts can leave you with some extra pounds and health problems, grants can lead to budget problems.

Here are 3 things to remember about grants:
  1. Plan for sustainability from day one of each grant.
  2. Build sustainability into the grant as much as possible in terms of equipment costs, training for existing staff, and organizational capacity building.
  3. Pay attention to developing all legs of the fund raising stool while the grant is funded.
So treat grants like you should treat donuts, as part of a healthy balanced budget (diet). A few donuts won’t hurt, but making them the central part of your budget could lead serious shortfalls as grant funding runs out.


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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.