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Avoiding the 21 Biggest Grantwriting Traps An ounce of mistake prevention is worth a pound of apology.

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Presentation on theme: "Avoiding the 21 Biggest Grantwriting Traps An ounce of mistake prevention is worth a pound of apology."— Presentation transcript:

1 Avoiding the 21 Biggest Grantwriting Traps An ounce of mistake prevention is worth a pound of apology.

2 About Us Rochelle Fritsch Development Director at IMPACT ( Co-facilitator of Planners and Grantwriters Roundtable Expertise in foundation/local government grants Contributor to Metroparent Frequent guest commentator on WTMJ Jan Wilberg Owner, Wilberg Community Planning ( Co-facilitator of Planners and Grantwriters Roundtable Expertise in federal grants Long-time trainer in grantwriting, collaboration and evaluation

3 Messaging TRAPS #1 Starting off MIRED IN THE MUCK RF  Speak plainly – ditch the jargon  Focus on WHAT not HOW “Making sure no one goes hungry”  Be authentic #2Letting others SET YOUR STAGE RF  Don’t play into stereotypes  Don’t pitch pity and hopelessness  Take a strengths-based approach  Progress can be made

4 Messaging TRAPS #3 Telling the WRONG STORY the WRONG WAY RF  Know the impact of current events on your message  Tell more than one story  Explore varied mediums for messaging  Find what works best for you

5 Relationship TRAPS #4 Ignoring COLLABORATIVE POTENTIAL JW  Collaborate with friends and competitors  Slice and dice opportunities:  Supply chain  Expertise/strengths  Cultural competence  Evaluate in terms of funding advantage (#1) and friendships (#2)

6 Relationship TRAPS #5 Under/over-estimating the COMPETITION RF  Honestly assess your strengths and weaknesses  Do the same for your competitors  Ask yourself:  Duplicating services?  Reducing community impact?  Frustrating funders?  Missing opportunities?

7 Relationship TRAPS #6 Getting tied in knots by MANAGEMENT JW  Ongoing grants education for higher-ups  Train management in the supremacy of the RFP  Use briefing paper/logic model to educate  Have the ear of leadership

8 Relationship TRAPS #7 Talking too much to listen RF  One mouth two ears rule  Network outside the nonprofit sector  Avoid being a walking commercial  Listen more than you talk  Learn what motivates people  Where is their heart?

9 Relationship TRAPS #8 Not having any (relationships, that is) JW  Secure a safety net  Cultivate relationships with experts  Participate in training, networking  Seek quality peer review  Promote the good work of others

10 Grantwriting TRAPS #9 Partnering with leakers or tyrants JW  Partner to your organization’s advantage  Know benefit of your partnership to your partner  Partnership must:  Result in more points  Be workable based on prior history  Increase the power of the proposal  Benefit people, not such organizations

11 Grantwriting TRAPS #10 Not attending to grantwriting basics JW  Adhere absolutely to RFP requirements  Have a high quality ‘deal’  Invest in a solid logic model  Achieve MAXIMUM points in each section  Focus on facts  Create real, impactful outcomes  Remember your roots: what peo ple need

12 Grantwriting TRAPS #11 Wimping out JW  If YOU are writing a grant proposal, YOU need to be the expert on what the grant requires.  Take responsibility  Resist hijackers by having a strong team  Keep the RFP the focus  Keep your feelings out of the project

13 Grantwriting TRAPS #12 Letting your team run amok JW  Be the leader  Delegate wisely  Include program people  Use team members as hunter/gatherers, not writers  Keep team focused on what is best for proposal  Cheerlead/reinforce/demand/smile

14 Grantwriting TRAPS #13 Not watching the clock JW  Budget more time than you need  Stick with a published schedule of drafts, meetings, and reviews  Assume nothing about others’ promises  Include time for major review/revision  Get technical issues out of the way first, e.g. online submission requirements

15 Follow-Up TRAPS # 14 Skipping the celebration RW  Thanks and compliments  Share proposal  Keep people informed of the process  Make announcement a BIG DEAL  Share the credit #15 Celebrating too long JW  Pay attention to start-up  A ‘short’ year will mean poor outcomes  Find ways to accelerate implementation without hurting quality  Don’t relax until project is really running well

16 Follow-Up TRAPS #16 Letting a bad program languish JW  Conduct a process evaluation  Establish a practice of regular check-ins with program implementers  Encourage discussion of improvements  Use participant and other data to guide changes  Keep funders informed

17 Follow-Up TRAPS # 17 Avoiding outcome evaluation JW  Conduct a sound program evaluation  Insure evaluator has ‘distance’  Measure the right things the right way  Evaluate your evaluation  Publish results  Encourage open discussion  Use results to focus on what’s next

18 Follow-Up TRAPS #18 Taking a one and done approach RF  Successful grant seekers specialize in repeat requests  The ask and thank you are relationship starters  Keep donors updated on progress  Include board and staff  Changes in service delivery  Use mediums they use  Light touch via social sites  Direct engagement via site visits

19 Continuity TRAPS #19 Throwing the recipe away JW  Constructively deconstruct the proposal process  Self-review  Reconvene project team  Obtain reviewer comments  Decide where to spend time in the gym  Focus always on next time #20 Staying dumb JW  Assess your own grantwriting shortcomings  Determine where the team is weak  Participate in training opportunities or create own  Read successful proposals

20 Professional TRAP #21Not understanding your power JW/RF  Are you a scribe or a writer?  Are you the secretary or the leader?  Are you the organizer or the organized?  Are you the expert or the amateur?  Are you the visionary or the reactor?  Are you the loser or the winner?

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