Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Rantings of an Opinionated Grant Writer

I try to keep the posts of this blog positive and informative, and I do my best to keep my whining to a minimum, but today I have a few rants to put out there in the world.  Maybe someone will be able to learn from them.

Every now and then someone tells me, "Veronica, maybe you shouldn't be so outspoken about your opinions.  Won't you risk losing business?"  Maybe, but I like to remember what Bill Cosby said -- "I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is to try to please everyone."

So, here are the rants running through my mind today:

  1. Why do the people doing the best work in the community seem to have the hardest time to getting money to fund their work?  I see it over and over again. Small non-profits that are really doing amazing work who struggle to stay afloat while large organizations with tremendous waste seem to have more cash than they can use. Of course, I know the answer to the question.  There is much more to the funding equation than just doing good work. And never forget the other explanation:  Life isn't fair.
  2. Speaking of tremendous waste.  I have a client (a public agency) that is giving $700,000 back to the federal government at the end of a four year grant period because they have a lousy fiscal accounting system and they didn't spend all of the $6 million grant they were awarded.  It's not that they couldn't use it or that there isn't plenty of need in their community, but the combination of poor accounting, poor communication among administrators, and incompetence has essentially stolen almost three quarters of a million dollars from folks who desperately need the support.  As the grant writer and evaluator for that program, I'm disgusted.
  3. Speaking of being disgusted, I'm currently working with a school district that seems to be doing everything it can to keep the public away.  One day they say they want parents more involved, and the next day they take actions to make it harder (sometimes nearly impossible) for parents to be involved. Then we loop back full circle to their finger pointing at parents for not being involved.  Enough already!
  4. I was at a meeting yesterday discussing some pretty significant changes to a local school for students who have been expelled from their regular public schools.  We were discussing incentives for students and I had the wild and crazy idea to ask the students what incentives would inspire them. I got that condescending, "awwww, the poor woman doesn't understand the real world" look from one of the school administrators present.
OK, I'd better stop now.  I think I've been reading Cranky Blog too much.

Now I'll get back to my regularly scheduled positive and uplifting posts......


Don't make these 5 grant writing errors.

Take a look at what's new at GrantGoddess.com!


Snarky's Machine said...

I have been lurking around your blog for weeks and as a grant writer who struggles to maintain my sense of purpose in light of all the fatuous client expectations, the funding sources that dry up at the wost moment possible and the overwhelming need that our economic times have created, your blog has been a breath of fresh air and a healing salve. Thank you.

Grant Goddess said...

Thank you for your kind words! It's true - times have been hard for lots of folks lately. Keep your chin up!

About Creative Resources & Research

My photo
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.