Friday, September 19, 2008

Waukee builds a grant writing resource

Iowa state welcome signImage via WikipediaThe most difficult calls I get are from very small community groups -- very dedicated people -- looking for help with great ideas they need grants to implement. I often meet with them, give lots of free advice, and wish them well. Unfortunately, this is how I make my living -- I can't afford to give away my time and they can't afford to pay me.

A community in Iowa has come up with an interesting community service that could help -- a non-profit Grant Writers Group.
The grant-writing project got a jump-start in April when it received a $2,000 grant of its own from Community State Bank. Fourteen Waukee residents will use the money to attend two separate grant-writing classes this fall. After the classes have concluded, the group will meet regularly to create a list of projects that need money. The first grants could be finished by the end of the year. [Story link]

Update: this story has been taken off-line, but the group has a webpage here.
My impression from the brief article is that this is a community-focused group, rather than an organization-focused one. They will find the projects that need help, rather than the organizations. Great approach! (And potential competition.)
Update March 2011: the website is now gone, too. Too bad. It's a good idea. Maybe they got a few projects funded, though.

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#65: Grant Writers Can't Fake Collaboration.

Katie Krueger has a great post about her stint as a grant reviewer at the Wisconsin Department of Instruction. They used an interesting process. She describes reviewing grants as the best professional development a grant writer can undertake. I can believe it!

Katie offers some clear advice about how to make life easier for the reviewer. This one caught my attention. I've not heard a reviewer comment on this before.

Secrets From a Grant Reviewer on How to Win Grants: "Include your partners in the planning of the grant application.This was a surprise to me, but it was very clear whether or not applicants had worked with the partners they listed in designing the program and writing the grant. If not, the descriptions of partners’ roles were vague.If they had included them, their specific role with a list of duties and responsibilities were in the application.This cannot be faked. Planning with partners beforehand will set you apart from other applicants."

Thanks for the insight, Katie.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

#64: Foundation Center - Cooperating Collections

An index card in a card catalogImage via Wikipedia Did you know that any grant writer can have access to many of the Foundation Center's resources through their cooperating collections?
Foundation Center - Cooperating Collections: "Participants in the Foundation Center's Cooperating Collections network are libraries or nonprofit information centers that provide fundraising information and other funding-related technical assistance in their communities. Cooperating Collections agree to provide free public access to a basic collection of Foundation Center publications during a regular schedule of hours, offering free funding research guidance to all visitors. Many also provide a variety of services for local nonprofit organizations, using staff or volunteers to prepare special materials, organize workshops, or conduct orientations."
Check it out. There may be a location near you where you can search the Foundation Center's database for the cost of your free library card. Oh, don't let the image mislead you. The database is electronic.
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