Monday, December 13, 2010

My Grant Writing Fantasy

My feet are firmly planted on the ground, and I am grateful for each and every one of my grant writing clients; however, I do have a bit of a fantasy life (shhhh...let's just keep that between you and me and the millions of folks on the internet, ok?).  This means, of course, that I have a grant writing fantasy, too. In the interest of full disclosure, I have decided to share it with you.

I get a phone call from a prospective client.  He sets up an appointment to come and see me about a new grant (instead of asking me to drive three hours each way to see him). I like him already.

When he arrives, he looks just like George Clooney (you don't have a problem with that, do you?  This is my fantasy, ya know...), and he has come prepared with a box of materials to share.  As we sit down to talk, the following things become clear:

  1. He has already thoroughly read the RFP.
  2. His organization has a well-developed vision and mission, and they have already been planning a new project that is a perfect match for this funding source.
  3. He has already assembled a grant committee that has developed a detailed summary of what they want to do.
  4. He has also already developed a draft budget.
  5. His community partners are on board, and they have already written some draft letters of support for me to review.
  6. The box he brought in with him also contains his organization's strategic plan (which has been updated within the last year), notes from grant planning meetings (along with sign-in sheets), recent outcome evaluation data documenting the effectiveness of his organization's services, and the results of a client and stakeholder survey he administered within the last month to gather information for this grant proposal.
  7. He respects my opinion as an expert, which he demonstrates by asking insightful questions.
  8. He has come fully prepared for the business side of the discussion. He has done his homework, so he knows our rates, and he has already acquired approval from his board to sign a contract - right now, today. In fact, he has a check in his pocket for the first payment.
Every now and then, he stops talking and just gazes at me with his gorgeous eyes (MY fantasy, remember?) and then he continues, staying on topic and respectful of my time.  He answers my questions about the project clearly and succinctly, and if he doesn't have the answer to one of my questions, he makes a note of it, and calls or emails me within a day with the answer.

As we start working together, he sends more helpful data and he is always available to take my calls when I need more information. 

He reviews drafts I send within 24 hours, and it is clear that he has reviewed them carefully because his comments are thoughtful, insightful, and useful. He trusts my writing process. 

As the deadline approaches, he remains calm and confident that we will get the job done well and on time. He doesn't start calling and emailing 20 times a day to ask the status of the project. He refrains from changing the project design after he has already reviewed the third and final draft of the narrative. He allows my staff the freedom to make minor budget changes, as necessary, to ensure that the narrative matches the budget (subject to his final approval, of course).

He reviews the final product carefully before submittal, fully understanding that he is responsible for the final product.

After the grant has been submitted, he makes his final payment in a timely manner - it actually arrives a day before it is due! He knows we won't have any news for several months, so he refrains from calling every week "just to see if we've heard anything yet." 

He does, however, call with new projects for us to work on together, all with the same planning, organization, and professionalism that he demonstrated on the previous project. Soon, he sets up another meeting to introduce me to a colleague from another organization who is also looking for a grant writer and has a specific grant project in mind.  He tells me that he taught his colleague everything he knows, so the process will progress pretty much as it did with his organization.

By the way, his colleague looks a lot like Brad Pitt.


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Michael said...

I enjoy reading your blog so much but this post has me at "Hello" - lol! Thanks for all your wonderful insight and for reinforcing my belief that grant writers rock!

Grant Goddess said...

Hi Michael,

Thanks for your kind complements! We definitely believe that grant writer's rock (albeit a bit self-servingly so, since we fall into that most excellent class of people).


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.