Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Non-Profit Executive Directors: Do’s and Do Not’s for Using a Grant Writer

Executive Directors (ED) are busy people. They’ve got a lot to deal with from the day-to-day operational stuff to constant fund raising and donor-cultivation. Most ED's of large organizations have a grant writer on staff while in smaller organizations the ED may do most of the grant writing.  Some organizations choose to hire an external grant writer and that can create some confusion about the role of a grant writer.
Here are a few Do's and Do Nots for ED's as I have come to understand the proper use of an external grant writer.

Grant research
Do - Provide the researcher with specific direction on fields of interest, types of funding desired, existing grant maker relationships, level of funding desired, list of information desired for each grant maker.
Don't “Do Nots” in this category are failing to do the “Do” list!

Preliminary phone calls to assess interest
Do - Better to make these calls yourself; but, if you’re going to ask someone else to make them, have a detailed conversation about what it is you want funding for and how you want to provide the services.
Don't - Ask your grant writer to make these calls simply based on fields of interest.  It will waste everyone’s time and make your organization look unprepared.

Letter of Inquiry writing
Do - Ask your grant writer to write these for you.
Don't - Forget to read and edit LOI's carefully before they are mailed.

Grant writing
Do - Ask your grant writer to write these for you.
Don't - Forget to review, respond, and edit one or more drafts; provide adequate feedback; provide data and a budget; sign all necessary forms; get a copy of the final grant submitted.

Respond to inquiry phone calls from a grant maker
Do - Take these calls yourself.
Don't - Assume that a grant writer can replicate your ability to sell your mission and close the deal.

Some of the potential benefits to an Executive Director in using a grant writer are:
  • Time savings;
  • Consistent quality in grant applications;
  • Higher funding rates;
  • More applications being submitted; and,
  • Fewer lost opportunities through consistent and timely research.
A grant writer can be a great asset to your organization when used in the proper way; however, the positive impact of hiring a Grant Writer can be minimized by asking them to carry out tasks they’re unqualified for, or by not providing adequate support.
Related Posts:
Working with a Grant Writer: You Get What You Pay For
Good Grant Writers are like Wedding Planners

Related Creative Resources and Research Services:
Grant Writing Services
Non-Profit Services

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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.