Friday, January 28, 2011

Grant Abstract Writing

An abstract is an arcane term synonymous with summary/executive summary. It is a summary of a grant proposal and it is generally written last. The abstract is important if it’s scored or not because it may be the first thing that the person scoring your proposal will begin reading. The abstract is rarely included in the scoring used to rank proposals.

Most abstracts follow a typical format -

1. Introduction - Intro sentence or two – Name the project, who is applying, where it is going to happen, what it will do, and for whom.

2. Goal(s) and Objectives – This may be an outright listing of these components or it may be a summary of the key points of them. It will depend on how much space you have to work with and the Request For Proposals (RFP) directions.

3. A summary of how effective management of the project is ensured.

4. A summary of the evaluation measures that will ensure achievement of the objectives.

It's a good thing that this is all that's required because generally those items are going to take the full page usually allocated for an abstract. Sometimes the abstract is even limited to 300 words. This is the case when the agency intends to use them as PR copy to describe the successful applications on a web site or in a brochure.

Related Posts:
Five Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Grant Objectives
Preparing for the Grant Writing Process
Helpful Grant Writing Resources:
Federal Grant Resources eBook - Helpful in finding those government grants.
101 Tips for Aspiring Grant Writers  - A book to help you with all the various sections of the grant.  This is written by Veronica Robbins, a highly successful grant writer.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Grant Writers Must Know Their Limits

A freelance grant writer needs to develop a specialty area. It’s all well and good to say that you can write any kind of grant, but it’s not really true. I’ve taken on two grants over the past five years that were out of my area of expertise; these were medical grants. The Doctor who directs the clinic was pleased with my services and my writing. But I did not feel comfortable about the end products because the terminology, concepts, equipment, and processes of a clinic were so foreign to me that I struggled to put it together.

I learned that I just can’t write all grants for all people. Everyone has their field of knowledge and mine is definitely not the fine points of optical evaluation equipment. My Masters is in administration so I know management and change process well, but I am weak in designing programs for diabetic immigrant farm workers.

Freelance grant writers with the highest degree of success stay within their field of knowledge. The reason most organizations hire a writer isn’t because there's no staff member with the ability to write a grant (most non-profit leaders have done plenty of grant writing). The reason organizations hire a grant writer is to give the job of writing to someone else. A shallow knowledge base in the area you are writing for will cause problems because the staff simply won’t have the time to bring you up-to-speed. Let's face it, if they had the time to write it, they'd write it.

I suggest you find grants which your training and experience give you in-depth knowledge about and write those. If there are enough grants in that area to make a living, you'll do fine. Don’t define yourself too narrowly and rely on one grant program either, or you may end up quite narrow (hungry) yourself!

Does anyone else have a comment about writing outside your area of expertise?

Related Posts:

Grant Writing - A Romantic Misconception
Lessons Learned from Failure

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Grant Writer on a Pre-Spring Saturday

Grant writing can be an obsessive thing to do; especially since there are seasons for it. Government seems to release Requests for Proposals (RFP) in a flurry of activity that is not dissimilar to the sudden bloom of spring.

We are waiting for the grant bloom this year. It hasn’t started yet. Some of us may be wondering if there will be one or if in the midst of budget cuts grants will be a fatality.

My experience tells me that this isn’t so. My experience tells me that we will see the grants sprout up soon enough. The reason is simple, even when there isn’t enough money for an entitlement, there are still grants.  The government always has enough money to plant a few bulbs.

Government and politicians love to DO something, (even if it’s the wrong thing). Politicians hear from people about the problems of society every day. They are charged with doing something about the ills. Their answer is to spend money to change things. They are charged to make laws and to allocate money to change things.

But there’s never enough money to do it all is there? So grants are one way that some money can be used to produce change that gives hope and promise. Grants are limited in geographic impact, yet the impact of a grant can be huge. Grants can point the way.

Politicians like huge impact because it helps give direction to future expenditures while at the same time the stories of change and impact gives them something to point to they can be proud of. That’s why often with Federal grants the first person to call the grantees with the good news of successful funding is the local Congressman’s office.

Grants are a good way for the government to experiment. Grants give the opportunity for testing new ideas and grants don’t cost much when compared to national programs. Grants are good business for government.

So grants will continue. Grants will be funded this year. Grants will be announced soon even if other programs are cut. Oh sure, the number of grants funded may decline, so you better write better this year. But the best grant writers will still make a living.

Don’t worry all you grant writers. The RFP’s are coming soon, and soon enough we’ll all be spending Saturday behind a computer writing about objectives and qualifications of key personnel. Enjoy the lull, it won’t last. Write for your blogs while you have the luxury to do so.

Related Posts:

A Grant Writer's Holiday
Grant Writing is No Mystery

Photo Credit-Makio Kusahara

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Avoid Grant Application Mistakes using Replacement Piles

Working alone on grants created anxiety that I would leave something out when assembling a complex grant application. Nobody was there to double check my work so I needed a way to minimize the possibility that I’d forget a required piece of a grant.  Relying on memory or luck to get everything put together was not an option, I needed a system.

Experienced grant writers know that deadline day can be a bit frenetic, especially if you’re writing multiple proposals. The blizzard of paper and the press of time can cause high anxiety and the possibility to overlook some crucial detail is always lurking in the back of your mind. Many things can go wrong that you can’t avoid but assembling a complete application does not have to be one of them.

To solve my problem and reduce last minute anxiety, I created s simple system I’ve called a replacement pile. The replacement pile is a just a stack of scratch paper on which I’ve written in bold, colored marker - in capital letters spanning the blank side of each page - the titles of every piece of what will be a completed grant application. A separate page is used for each section, form, etc.; hence, there will be one for the abstract, one for the table of contents, one for the narrative, and so on.

After I’ve created the replacement pile I place a copy of the Request for Proposals (RFP) checklist on top of it which I will use as my fail-safe double-check-off process to ensure that the replacement pile, once fully replaced, contains everything that the grant maker is requiring in the application. I also put a copy of the transmittal instructions on top of the pile so on the last day I am not paging through the RFP to find them, as Forest Gump so famously said, “One less thang.”

The way I use the replacement pile is simple. As a piece of the grant is completed, or as forms signed by the client are received, I pull the paper with the title of that component out of the pile and insert the finished piece of the grant. When all the scrap papers are replaced the pile the grant is ready to duplicate. Before going to the copier, I page through this original grant application using the RFP check list as a final review to ensure it is complete.

After photocopying the grant, I look through each duplicate copy to make sure that the demon copy machine didn’t suck two pages through as one and secretly sabotage my duplicate copies (copy machines can be cold and stealthy saboteurs). Since I almost always add consecutive numbering to each page in my grants (unless forbidden in the RFP) I just have to page through the completed copies to ensure there are no numbers missing.

My deceptively simple replacement piles force me to follow a process that has helped me avoid ever having a grant rejected for lack of required components.  Maybe the system will work for you too!

Related Posts:
5 Mistakes that can Cost Lose Millions of Dollars in Grant Applications
Tips for Preparing Grants with Short Deadlines
Success is in the Details

Monday, January 17, 2011

Ten Quick and Easy Ways to Make Any Grant Application Better

A professional grant writer pays attention to detail. Grant scorers can testify that there is a big difference between a professional’s grant application and one that is thrown together by an amateur or a committee. My experience reading grants confirms that a professional's grant is a whole lot easier to score.  I appreciate that about professional grant writers when I am scoring grants.

Your already know that your job as a professional grant writer is to get your client funded. Accomplishing this goal requires that your grant makes the job of person scoring it easier. You can help ease the scoring of your grant by paying attention to details.

Here are a few suggestions that will improve your grant applications. Some of these suggestions are easier than others but all of them are easier than making a call to your client to tell them a grant was rejected.

1. Create a logic model for the grant program before starting to write the narrative. Include as an attachment if allowable.
2. Create a table of contents that follows the key narrative headings, required forms, and all other mandatory components described in the RFP. Do this even if it is not required.
3. Add consecutive pagination throughout unless the Request for Proposals (RFP) includes directions about pagination.
4. Ask someone to review your narrative who is not involved in the writing.
5. Use the scoring rubric included in the RFP to grade your narrative.
6. List objective numbers in a column beside each item in your budget.
7. Add explanatory text for each graphic, chart, and table.
8. Add an introductory paragraph that “sets the table” for the reader before jumping into the RFP outlined narrative.
9. Add a detailed management plan for both the grant and a separate one for the evaluation. If there’s no room for these in the body of the narrative, add them as attachments if allowable.
10. Use proper formatting for all citations.

Your grant applications will be more competitive if you do these ten things. It may not seem easy to add steps to the grant development process, but my goal in writing this is to make it easier for you to get funded. Good luck with your proposal!

Related Posts:

Top Five Mistakes of Novice Grant Writers

How Can You be a Better Grant Writer? Part I

How Can You be a Better Grant Writer Part II

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Writing is Regal

“Content is King” may be an over-used term among techies but maybe you’ve never heard it. It refers to the fact that content – written and more recently video – is the primary driver of online traffic. This fact makes having quality content important. It’s more important than design, keywords, or graphics; all of that stuff ranks lower on the list.

Content being King gives me hope that while many parts of the Internet are increasingly automated by clever programming, there is still a place for me. I can write, and so long as content is on the throne, I have access.

Some days it is difficult to write anything at all. On those days I feel dried out on my topic of grant writing. That’s when I write about related topics like writing for the Internet or how to find a good chair for grant writing or about how darned sexy I feel (that’s right grant writers can be sexy too).

Scott Stratten, author of “Un-marketing” said in his keynote at the Blog World Expo Conference in Las Vegas last year that blog content has to be GREAT and if you aren’t writing GREAT content to just stop or slow down and write less. Scott asserted that nobody has ever read a really bad blog post and said, “That was terrible, but it was keyword rich.” Scott’s a funny guy, he’s Canadian and they’re a funny bunch (I know this from family experience).

When I run into a dry spell, I’ll sit down and just start writing. I know it sounds odd, a Canadian sort of thing like cheese whiz on toast or caribou coats, but it works for me. These narratives usually start out with something like, “I don’t know what to write today so I went for a walk…then I met a homeless guy who asked me for money and I told him I didn’t have any but he said, ‘That’s OK brother’, gave me a fist bump, and smiled before he walked away.”

I can get a lot of narrative out of that single interaction if I think about it just a little bit. I could write about thankfulness, homelessness, gratitude, acceptance, human interaction, living without technology, the economy, health, safety on the streets. That single interaction could be turned into any number of short blog posts reflecting on this man, his circumstances and my interaction with him. All of a sudden my blockage is gone and I am writing merrily away wishing I had more time to cover all the possible topics.

I try to remember another thing that Scott Stratten said – and perhaps it isn’t original, but I heard him say it first so it will be fixed in my mind as his from now on - “If you are your own authentic self, you have no competition.” Nice, I can live with that. Writing from my inner self is freeing in a way that helps me break out of the doldrums whenever I find myself there.

I like the idea of my content as King of the Internet, even if it’s read by a few, not millions.

Completely unrelated blog posts:

Bless His Cotton Socks

Ten Things Baseball Can Teach You About Grant Writing

Federal Grant Resources at Grant

Photo Credit - Zsolt Zatrok Dr.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Grant Writing Mission: Demonstrate the Effect of Your Cause!

Lack of success in grant writing to foundations usually means that the applicant is trying to convince a grant maker that the agency's cause IS the grant maker's desired effect. In other words, a good cause isn't enough, grant makers expect the cause to have an effect on their field of interest.  Many times the cause an applicant is promoting has no direct impact on the field of interest; there may a sliver of attachment but slivers of impact don't generate grant money.

The correct approach is exactly the opposite. The convincing grant is the one that presents a cause that makes a grant maker say “BINGO, BULL'S-EYE, that cause has DIRECT IMPACT on my field of interest!" There must be clearly a demonstrable connection between the cause and the effect (on the field of interest).

Ways to improve your chances of securing grant funding:

1. Be absolutely clear about what your cause is. You must know what fields of interest your cause directly impacts. Your mission must inspire that “AHA! DIRECT IMPACT!” moment for the grant maker. Remember, round pegs in round holes and square pegs in square ones.

2. Validate the effect of your cause.  It does not matter if your cause is innovative or common the effect must be demonstrated.

3. Try to get in front of as many people as possible to talk about your cause. Expect to answer a lot of tough questions. Use these meetings to learn and to fine tune your arguments.  Use them to explore all possible linkages to the fields of interest your cause serves.

4. Rally people to your cause. Collaborate and give up some control! Don’t be afraid to reach out to potential partners. Don’t be afraid to bring in powerful Board members. Don’t be afraid to share the vision with others. Many organizations fail to thrive because there is a leader who climbs up on their philanthropic high horse and rides off without the constituents, the Board members, or even the staff! Feed your cause by sharing it and being inclusive; you’ll only starve it if you hold it by the throat.

Grants are given to agencies with a worthy cause that can demonstrate DIRECT IMPACT within a field of interest.  Agency leadership must be clear on what the cause is, who to include, what the impact is/could be, and where the likely funding sources are.

Related Posts:
Taking Your Grant research Beyoind the RFA
Grant Writing - Don't Chase the Money
Photo Credit - Asif Akbar

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

5 MORE Mistakes that Can Lose Millions of Dollars in Grant Applications

As we learned yesterday, the level of competition for grant writers is intense and the economy is making grant funding ever more competitive. Yesterday I discussed five key mistakes that must be avoided to win grant funding. Five more key mistakes to avoid are discussed below. Keep these in mind as you prepare for the 2011 grant writing season.

Mistake 6Improper formatting can lower your score. It hardly needs to be said that a grant writer must follow the FRP guidelines to the letter. If formatting requirements do not specify “no condensed font” it does not mean using a condensed font is a good space-saving idea. It isn’t. You’re only going to make the readers angry who are trying to score your grant. A grant writer’s first priority should always be to make the readers’ jobs easy. Condensed fonts only make reading a lot harder. Never submit a 32 page proposal when the limit is 30 pages. If you are so foolish – some may say bold - as to do this, one of two things will happen and they’re both bad. Either the proposal will be thrown in the trash – or - the excess pages will be torn off and thrown away leaving your proposal short of critical information and thereby lowering your score.

Mistake 7 – Making the readers' job harder. No grant ever lost points for including a table of contents when one wasn’t specifically requested. A table of contents helps a reader jump around your grant easily to find something when they want to. You’ll make the reader’s job easier if you include a TOC and make certain that it follows the RFP outline.  Other ways to make the readers' job of scoring a grant easier are to used the exact headings for each section that are used in the Request For Proposals (RFP), follow the exact organization of the RFP, include only what is required, and make all graphics black and white-friendly.
Mistake 8Poor editing can kill a proposal. It is hard to take a writer seriously when their making lots of mistakes in they’re writing an grammer is very awful and maybe its even simply wrong altogether and it could be making your job of reading a peace of narrative harder than it has to be because then yer gonna get scord reel lo and you don’t want that to happen do you?

Mistake 9Failing to explain graphics and tables in narrative form can leave readers confused. Have you ever looked at a piece of artwork that for all the world looks like a collection of empty tissue boxes stacked oddly with a spotlight on them. But the friend you’re with likes it and it makes you wonder what they might have been smoking in college? Often when we’re creating a visual image of something or creating a table of figures, it makes sense to the creator but others need a little help to understand it. Always include a brief description of the image or table to help the reader understand what it means and why it is significant to their understanding of the proposal.

Mistake 10A late application is a dead application. Some grants have postmarked deadlines, some have “on my desk” deadlines, and others have online submission time deadlines. If you miss any of these your grant won’t get scored at all, even if you wrote the finest proposal since Aristotle and your agency is more deserving of assistance than Mother Theresa.

You may be asking yourself after the last two days of morbid blogging about making mistakes whether you are brave enough to submit a grant application? Why of course you are! Now you know about ten key mistakes to avoid, so you’ll only have to guess about the other ten.  Maybe you’re already thinking to yourself, “Hey, they forgot about #13!” Please feel free to comment about other key mistakes we all need to avoid.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Does Your Grant Writer Cost Too Much?

The cost of a grant writer seems to be one of the biggest issues involved in the decision to hire a professional grant writer. Many people look at the amount of the check they write to the grant writer and assume that is all they need to consider. But it's more complex than that.

A $2,000 grant writer costs you way too much if you don't get the grant, and a $10,000 grant writer is well worth the expense if she brings you $1,000,000 or more.

In short, if you don't factor in success rate, you're just guessing.

I have heard people say that they were going to go with a much less experienced grant writer on a large federal project because that person was less expensive than the much more experienced writer. Whenever I hear that, I just want to shake my head. You need to think of the fees you pay to a grant writer as an investment.  It's about the return you get on that investment. Period.  I don't care how nice he is or how much you enjoy playing golf with him.  If he can't show you the money, he's a bad investment.

Also, if you work with someone on multiple projects, you should compare the total fees you paid to the total amount she helped you acquire. That will help you determine the true cost and benefit of the grant writer.

Try not to look at the less significant intermediary issues, and keep your eye on your bottom line.


Related post:

How Much Is Writing Your Own Grants Costing You?

Friday, January 7, 2011

5 Mistakes that Can Lose Millions of Dollars in Grant Applications

A grant writer today has a slim margin for error in their work. Most grant competitions are scored on 100 point scales and rarely do grants scoring below 90 ever get funded. More commonly, you must be near perfect, and if there are extra points for competitive priorities you have to earn those as well to get any funding.

Mistakes are not going to earn your agency a grant so you’ll want to avoid these five.
Mistake 1Poor planning with the client or by the agency. The finest grant writer in the world can’t write a convincing program narrative for a client who refuses to sufficiently plan the application. There are many details a grant writer needs from the people "on the ground." When data and information is requested by a grant writer, it’s best to get it to the writer as soon as possible since lacking information may be holding up the writing process.

Mistake 2Trying to fit a round program into a square grant. In other words, if your mission does not fit the purpose of the grant, don’t try to convince the funding source that it does. A grant maker whose mission is whales isn’t likely to give a tuna grant a sandwich.

Mistake 3Hiring a grant writer based on lowest bid. In grant writing, as in buying watches, you get what you pay for. Buying a Rolex in Times Square from a guy in a trench coat for $30 means you’re getting a $5 knock-off, not a Rolex. If you employ a grant writer at bargain basement rates, you’re likely to get bargain basement services. Always choose to go with writers who can verify their success.

Mistake 4Cursory reading of the Request for Proposals (RFP). The RFP is the grant application instruction packet. This document will be used as the training outline for the grant readers. It contains most – not always all – the information you need to know to construct a fundable proposal. Never underestimate the importance of reading the RFP twice.

Mistake 5Lack of organization in proposal development. Always develop an outline based on the RFP that includes every required document, form, attachment, and appendix. Use this outline to compile the application and it should serve as a check-off list as the final document is put together.

Grant competitions are receiving more grant applications than ever due to the economic downturn so grant writers and agencies seeking grants must do everything within their power to submit flawless applications. Scoring in the top 5% - 10% or higher among the submitted proposals is mission critical in grant writing so grant development must be carefully executed to avoid these five mistakes.

Come back tomorrow to read about five more mistakes to avoid.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

How Much Is Writing Your Own Grants Costing You?

Some costs are easy to calculate.  You look at the price tag on something, and it's pretty clear. However, most people calculate cost only in terms of the cost of having something, rather than the cost of not having it.  For example, depending on the time of year, you may think that the cost of fresh fruit is pretty high, and that might lead to choose not to buy it. Sometimes, though, you'll think about the cost to your health of not having that fruit. When you weigh that cost against the dollar cost you have a more accurate picture of the real costs and you can make a more informed decision.

The same thing is true in the world of grant writing. People see the costs associated with hiring a professional grant writer and some decide it's definitely a worthwhile expense (the smart ones) while others decide that it's just too much and they'd rather do it themselves.

So, can you afford to hire a grant writer?  Before you answer that question, you need to ask yourself another very important question:  How much will writing your grant yourself really cost you?

First, consider the value of your time. Your time is definitely worth something.  If you'll be writing the grant proposal during your work hours, you can apply your hourly or daily rate.  If you'll be working on it beyond work  hours during your personal time, you'll need to assign a value to that time also.  What is an hour of time with your children worth to you? We're talking about opportunity cost here. If you're working on the grant, you're giving up time that could have been spent on something else. Everything is a trade off.

Next, you'll need to calculate the value of the time of anyone who will be assisting you - administrative assistants, accounting clerks, collaborative partners, etc. Their time counts, too

Then, figure out how many hours the project will take you to complete. This is not easy task.  I can tell you for certain that it will take you more time than you expect.  So, once you have calculated the number of hours you expect to spend, add 30%.

When you multiple the number of hours by the hourly rate, you'll have an estimate of the cost, in dollars, of writing your own grant.  At this point, most people realize that hiring a professional grant writer is definitely worth it, but we haven't even come to the most expensive part of the equation.

If you are successful with your grant application, the expense will seem worth it, right?  But if you are not successful, your decision to do it yourself will have cost you not only the time involved in preparing the proposal, but the amount of the grant award itself.

The truth is that professional grant writers who write grants for a living (as opposed to those who do it as a side job or as a hobby) have a much higher success rate than the average, so your chances of actually getting the grant are higher when you use a real professional than if you do it yourself.  That risk vs. success factor should also be calculated into your decision.

The next time you think that hiring a professional grant writer is too expensive, ask yourself how much doing it yourself will really cost you.

Related Posts:

Grant Writing Training at Taco Bell?

Gauging the Success of a Proposal Writer

Grant Writing is a Team Sport


Get a free e-book on Non-Profit Grant Writing to help you with your work.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

3 Grant Writing Resolutions You Shouldn’t Ignore

I have never been a big fan of New Year’s resolutions.  I’m much more of a continuous improvement kind of gal.  I think the time to make a resolution to do something is any time that you see the need for improvement.

When it comes to grant writing, there are 3 grant writing resolutions that you shouldn’t ignore during any time of year.

  1. Make grant seeking a priority. As much as it would be nice for great opportunities to just fall into your lap, they usually don’t.  You have to go look for them. Develop a plan for checking grant sources regularly throughout the upcoming year to make sure you don’t miss any opportunities. If you’re interested in federal grants, check  For private grants, take a look at  
  2. Work with a professional grant writer this year.  Aren't you tired of spending all that time working on grant proposals that never get funded?  Even if you choose not to work with a professional for all of your grant projects, at least give it a try so you can learn how it works and what the benefits can be for you and your organization. 
  3. Learn more about the grant writing process.  Whether you are writing your own grants or working with a professional grant writer, if you have never taken a course in grant writing, now is the time to do it. There are many options out there; just be sure the grant writing course you choose is taught by a successful professional grant writer who is still writing grants.  Try our Grant Writing 101 course at GrantGoddess University, or one of the other courses or seminars we offer.
These are the first steps toward being more successful with your grant efforts and bringing more money into your organization this year.


Want to supercharge your grant writing work? Become a member at! You'll have access to the largest collection of multi-media grant writing and grant seeking resources on the web.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Grant Writer Digging Pot Holes

Driving home from a holiday visit in Southern California with family, I was challenged to avoid the growing number of large pot holes in our  freeway system. I drove in Mexico all that way south of Mexico City once and that’s what our freeways reminded me of. I was also reminded of grant writing pot holes as my tires crashed through the muddy voids.

I created a few pot holes during my grant career. I dug a big one in the process of writing a grant for a government agency in Puerto Rico. I dug this one because I wanted to be someone else.

My business partner and I landed an interesting contract to write for a government agency in San Juan. The contract involved travelling there for planning so I was excited and I wanted to make a good impression. This was Puerto Rico, land of Latin intrigue and romance: I wanted to look romantic. The problem was, I had turned 40 recently and was feeling insecure about the growing numbers of gray hairs on my head. I went to the grocery store and I bought a box of “Just for Men” and decided I’d give it a whirl before my trip. I was digging my pot hole.

I’d never used a hair color before. The night before I was to fly to Puerto Rico, I followed the directions word-for-word to apply the color. When I washed out the color and got out of the shower, I could see that my hair came out almost JET BLACK. This was horribly noticeable because my natural hair color is light brown. In a panic I rechecked the box which was printed as “brown”. I thought brown was brown but I learned later that there was a “Light Brown” color too. In the morning, it looked just as black as it did the night before, there was nothing left to do but get on the plane.

I met my business partner in Chicago for the trip down and the look on his face when he said, “You colored your hair huh?” told me that I looked like as much of an idiot as I thought. Suddenly I was losing self-confidence with each plate glass window I passed. The hair color was mismatched to me, even my eyebrows looked odd. I was sweating before I even got on the plane. I decided that one of the first things I’d do was go to a beauty shop near the hotel and get it colored professionally. Or I’d get another box of coloring that was the right color and re-do my hair before our meeting the next day.

We arrived in San Juan and checked in to our hotel agreeing to meet later at the pool beside the beach. I hurried into town to find a new hair color and found a shop. I was advised that lightening the color was not going to happen easily. In desperation, I bought a new box of “Light Brown” at a drug store and went back to my room to “fix” my problem. The second box of coloring did nothing except make my hair even darker.

The group of women I met the next day with made no comment on my hair. I was tempted to do an “Oprah”-style confession since women notice that type of thing but I knew my partner would kill me. I created this pot hole myself by trying to be someone other than who I was. The only thing I needed to be was a great grant writer. I’m sure that the gray hairs would have been less distracting to everyone than the POOF of black draped on my head like a deceased badger.

I decided in San Juan, Puerto Rico that being me was a lot safer than trying to be a hot Latin romantic writer of grants. I quietly filled in that hair color pot hole and moved along with life.  It occurs to me that the most jarring pot holes I've encountered aren't the ones in the freeway but the ones I've dug for myself.

About Creative Resources & Research

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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.