I have had the opportunity to review multiple grants for the Federal government. It has been a fascinating process and each time I take more away. Every one wants the free government money, they apply for grants upon grants. But most are making serious mistakes that are costing them that funding!
!. Do what the application says!! Really read every request and follow it to the letter. If it asks for a type of report – be sure that it is added and that it is clearly labeled. If you are not sure what they mean ask! It is better to ask alot of questions than to have reviewers write that the report was missing or wrong.
2. Follow the order. Most grants outline what they are looking for in a specific order. Make it easy on the reviewer and put the sections into the same order as the application outline. If budget is first place it there, etc. Use clear titles that are the same as the application titles. Don’t make the reviewer hunt.
3. Back up your claims. If you have an award winning program, wonderful instructor, or other then high light this. A brief bio or notation is sufficient. Don’t use up your page limit on too much detail about your organization unless it clearly fits the grant.
4. Find out how the document will reach the funder. Be especially careful if it is being uploaded. You may find that the pages do not come through as you have written them or in the order you want them to be in. Be sure to practice with this or ask the funding agency for advice.
5. Attend or listen to recorded informational sessions. All federal agencies have a contact person for help. Be sure to check in and to ask about any informational sessions. These walk you through the application, the expectations and often the unwritten expectations. At a recent review the application called for a bio or resume for key staff. Many applications choose the bio. To save room the made the bio a paragraph. A common mistake but it was not allowed during the review. Only full bios that were closer to a page were accepted. Several great projects lost points on this and probably lost funding opportunities. Asking the question or attending the informational session might have saved them.
Be sure to get all of the points when you apply for Federal grants and funding. You can assure this by carefully following the directions and a little insider information.
You may use this article in your newsletter or blog. Just include the following:
Keridak Kae Silk, MS is the president of FundingSuccess.us. She has been teaching grant writing for over 12 years and has two ebooks on the market. Keri can be reached at email@example.com or 866-279-8666.
The bottom line is yes- in the long run it is worth every moment spent blogging. Blogging does multiple things for any organization. It creates buy in, keeps content fresh, allows for advertising or sponsorship and can become viral.
Buy in is created when people care about your organization. They are receiving information that is meaningful to them and they want to check back to find out what the next installment will be. It doesn’t matter what the content is as long as it has meaning to the audience that your organization wishes to target. They may enjoy hearing about clients successes, want to know about the inner workings of your corporate environment or need timely informational articles. You may find that a mix of the three works well. Track what your client or customer base is reading. Are they commenting? Are they passing the information to others?
Fresh content keeps them checking in and keeps your brand center in their minds. Some major companies blog several times a day others may only blog once a day or weekly. The greater the frequency the greater the chances are that your brand/materials are being read and shared with friends, family or coworkers. An extra benefit of constant updates to your site is that it places you higher in the search engines.
The more people are coming to your site, reading your posts and sharing them the better you look to sponsors or advertisers. They pay for activity. If you are looking to attract donors then the greater the fresh content and feel good by in the greater the likelihood that they will be ready to give. They will know what you are doing with your dollars, they will know your successes and they will know your needs.
Tied to this is sharing. Today there are multiple ways for people to share a post that they found heart warming, informative or that created a call to action. They can tweet, share with friends, send a mention to their own blog site, email to friends, text, and the list goes on. Every blog post you create has the potential to go viral, bringing new customers or donors to you.
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Funding Success/Virtual Freedom offer a variety of supports to help you create a blog site, maintain postings, make the most of your blog and newsletter. firstname.lastname@example.org
Information is a wonderful gift. Instead of investing in promotional items that will be tossed or given to the kids consider creating a booklet.
What kinds of information does your customer need or want to know? Put together 20 or so pages of links and information. Create a custom cover. You can put coupons or links to your website and create added value. Added value for your customers and added value for your business as well. Recently we created Grants for Law Enforcement by Keridak Kae Silk utilizing our Grant Writing expertise and the Virtual Assistant services.
Customers will prefer easy to read content, humor, or clear useful information.
We have expertise in creating these booklets. They can be published as a paperback hand held version or a down-loadable e-book style. You might wish to make a CD or MP3 that customers can listen to in the car as they drive to work.
We will be happy to help you decide on what promotional material will bring you and your customers the greatest benefit.
If you know an organization that might be interested in this opportunity, could you please forward this to them?
Option 1: AmeriCorps Subgrant Site (only Massachusetts, Los Angeles & Chicago)
TechMission Corps is now making an AmeriCorps sub-grant site application available for programs serving at-risk youth in Massachusetts, Los Angeles & Chicago. These grants will provide funding for full-time AmeriCorps members (including a stipend of $11,400, health insurance and a $4,725 educational award).
AmeriCorps is often called the “domestic Peace Corps” or the “urban Peace Corps”, and two popular AmeriCorps programs are City Year and Teach for America. TechMission Corps is a faith-based AmeriCorps program focused on providing interns to programs serving at-risk youth.
AmeriCorps members can serve as full-time interns for urban youth ministries. Sites can either do their own recruiting of the intern to serve as an AmeriCorps member or receive interns recruited through TechMission. Last year TechMission Corps had over 500 applicants for 60 full-time intern positions. Next year, we will have over 80 full-time positions.
To qualify for the grant sites must meet the following criteria (with no exceptions):
1. Site must be in Massachusetts or in the Los Angeles or Chicago metropolitan areas
2. Site must have and existing after-school or youth program that primarily serves low-income youth.
3. Site must have 501(c)(3) nonprofit status (including churches with 501(c)(3) status).
4. Site must employ at least one full-time staff member who could supervise a TechMission Corps intern.
If your site meets this criteria, you can fill out a grant application at:
The grant application deadline in June 30. We anticipate that grantees will be selected during Summer, 2010, with the positions starting as soon as September, 2009. If your site plans to apply, please reply to this E-mail just notifying us of your intent to apply. If you have any questions, you can call me at 617-282-9798 x121.
Option 2. City Vision Internship Site (any ministry serving at-risk communities in the USA or Canada)
Angenette (Angie) Crume
TechMission Corps Assistant Director
A wonderful resource from Network for Good. Read it through to make sure that you are ready to meet the challenges of modern fund raising. 8 Online Fundraising Changes You Must Make in 2010
Download this PDF and enjoy at your leisure.
Social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Face Book, and Twitter have exploded. These are the best known but hundreds of smaller networks exist. They grew because people love to talk and share. You probably wonder about some of the things you see on these sites. Do we really care what Ivory ate for breakfast or if Stella is in a good mood? The answer is yes!!
We do care. We have an insatiable desire to know what is going on in our neighbors minds, bodies and businesses. So of course it is only natural that people are courious about where their money goes when they donate. As a nonprofit with foster care I saw this often. A gift would arrive; it could be a crib or a toy, sometimes food or money for a familyand the giver would ask where it went. Could they get a picture of the child opening the present? What was the baby’s name who received the crib?
Often i would be asked months even years later, what happened to…
Your donors are hungry, they want to know how their donations are used. Of course you can’t track each donation and you will need to be careful about having releases, but share the stories. Let your donors follow you on the social networks and give a quick up date.
I used to write a News Letter and send it as a thank you to donors. With the web it can all be streamlined. Let them know that Evie turned eight and thanks to their donations she is able to ride a shiny new red bike! Tell them of the excitment the school supplies bring, the tears the food brought to a single struggling mom.
This is especially important if those of you working with populations that are hard to like or care about. So talk about the parolee who made a mistake, worked hard and is now being released. Give him a name – a personality – a dream. Let your donors know that Luke has twinkling blue eyes and dreams of marrying his childhood sweetheart. That Luke is looking forward to restarting his life and thanks to the donor can now rent a small apartment and finish his certification in auto repair.
Tweet your success and when you have needs your donors will be more willing to pitch in. They will share and connect with their networks bringing in greater dollars.
Not a grant but a great opportunity!! So many of you have approached me about money for your business ideas. If you have an idea for a start up business, blog or website this is your chance! $50,000 prize 1/2 in cash and 1/2 in web design/marketing help. Let me know your ideas and I’ll post them!
Go to http://pitch.co/ and get started! Good Luck
I believe grant writers should never agree to contingency pay. by Tony Poderis of Fund Raising Forum
It is simply not fair for hard working grant writers to receive little or no pay for their efforts due to many reasons beyond their control. I’ll list several of those reasons which I have seen crop up time and time again, resulting in rejected proposals. In those instances, a grant writer’s time and effort were wasted and she or he received no compensation for their good faith professional services:
Say an organization wants someone to write a grant proposal for a project costing $118,000 and that the grant writer was to be paid a 5% commission if the grant is approved. It is almost always a requirement by funders that every dollar to be raised for and spent on projects be accounted for on a line-item basis. For many funders, the line item in the budget showing $5,900 for grant-acquisition services, would be reason enough to deny the grant. It would make no difference what the commission size or even if the contingency-pay were a flat fee.
Grant-writing expenses are seen as part of an organizations operating budget. Few if any foundations, corporations, or governmental organizations are willing to make a grant when a portion of the money granted is to be used to pay a grantwriting fee. Remember, the grant is being requested for a specific project, not to offset operating expenses nor to disguise a professional fee. A non-profit or a grant writer that fails to take the possibility of such a caveat into consideration may be facing a rude awakening.
Discerning and experienced program officers can readily see right through, and will reject, poorly delineated projects, “soft” and questionable budgets, and a host of other weaknesses which cannot be overcome by well-crafted grant proposals.
An ineffective and failing “selling” job might be made during a presentation meeting by an organization’s officials.
You do not know in advance the foundations which are over committed to funding other organizations, have limited resources, thus they will not have funds available for you at the time, nor possibly for some time to come.
What if the grant was to be paid out over a number of months—or even years? Would an organization be willing to pay the grant writer for the services rendered in full at the moment of grant approval? Should the grant writer be willing to accept a compensation payment schedule in sync with that of the grant award which could be spread out over several years?
The grant writer should be ready to accept the fact that she or he will receive little pay for a major work, should a much lesser amount be granted than was originally requested.
A grant writer could conduct the best possible research, make the most helpful recommendations, and even voice strong protests and caution when called for— but project directors and executive directors will prevail should they insist that the grant request be written in spite of flaws and concerns. They will say to the grant writer: “We’ll send it anyway, what have we got to lose?” They should ask the grant writer that question who stands to lose a great deal.
Most grantors have greater vision than grant-proposal-submitting organizations. Grantors routinely look for assurance from the organizations that what they fund will be reasonably evaluated and measured in the longer term for effective and efficient use of their money, and that the organizations have future financial sustainability plans in place, or pending—especially that there are well developed long-range, strategic plans in place or being planned. A grant writer’s best efforts expended in the writing of a given proposal simply cannot be extended or expected to meet such governance and policy-making requirements and expectations.
Grant proposals, even the best of them, are all too often prepared and presented to potential grantors when the organizations have no, or few, other important sources of contributions to show, especially from their boards of trustees. Chances are slim to none for grant awards when there are no other visible and viable sources of support available to the organization.
The hope for grants to be awarded to ensure payment for the grant writer’s efforts is even more uncertain, and most unlikely, when proposals are stretched beyond practical and common sense limits, and they are presented to new, potentially uninterested, prospects—some even to distant, uncaring potential benefactors—as is often the case.
In the end, grant writers should be paid for their time and efforts by the hour or project, whether or not the grant is received. I question whether an organization unable to pay a fair fee for work done is likely to survive. Few non-profits forced to operate in ways not fully in accord with accepted professional standards flourish and grow.
I believe in the standards that have resulted from thousands of grant writing professionals working to help raise billions of dollars over decades of time. For me, not everything should be a matter of personal opinion; codes of ethics are established through collective wisdom because we do need absolutes by which to work and live. When I see all the wrong that can befall an organization or a grant writer in contingent-pay schemes, I cannot imagine for the life of me why either would want to go that route.
http://www.ildceo.net/dceo/Bureaus/Entrepreneurship+and+Small+Business/ From their Nov. Newsletter
Every day, Illinoisans fill containers and dumpsters with trash to be hauled away for disposal in landfills… “out of sight and out of mind.” DCEO’s Division of Recycling and Waste Reduction offers programs that promote alternatives to landfill disposal, conservation of resources, and further development of markets to recycle more of what we currently throw away. Adding value to recycled materials is the principal reason that recycling has become a multi-billion dollar industry in Illinois.
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) is pleased to announce that the Illinois Recycling Grants Program has opened its FY2010 grant cycle for both traditional (i.e., fiber, metal, glass, plastic) and electronics (e.g., computers) recycling. The Illinois Recycling Grants Program helps communities, businesses and not-for-profit organizations collect and process materials for recycling.
Through this competitive process grants are available to assist local governments, for-profit, and not-for-profit businesses and organizations with their recycling efforts. Traditional recycling grant funds may be used to purchase project-related capital equipment such as collection, processing or handling equipment and project necessary expansion and modernization costs. Electronics recycling grant funds may be used to set up permanent drop-off and collection facilities; purchase recycling containers; fund project necessary site improvements; and to purchase processing and handling project-related equipment to collect, refurbish, de-manufacture, and recycle computers and electronic equipment.
Entities interested in submitting an application for Traditional Recyclables are encouraged to schedule an individual consultation with their regional DCEO representative. Contact the following individuals:
Northern Illinois – Rick Fiddyment, 217-524-1838 or Richard.Fiddyment@illinois.gov.
Central Illinois – Angie Embrey, 217-785-2773 or Angie.Embrey@illinois.gov.
Southern Illinois – John Druhot, 217-785-2768 or John.Druhot@illinois.gov.
Those interested in submitting a Computers and Electronics Recycling application should contact Sam Al-Basha, 217-785-2765, or Sam.Al-Basha@illinois.gov. To learn more about the Illinois Recycling Grants Program, go to www.illinoisrecycles.com.
Having trouble finding the corporations and others who will want to give money to your cause? This is not uncommon. Most nonprofits find looking for grants to be overwhelming and time consuming. In my Where’s the Money Class and Money for….. books I offer a wide variety of tips to make not only the search easier but applying less painful. Here are a few of those tips.
If you are not connected to the data bases and alerts that I am try a web search. Use key words for your project. An example is: Money for children’s clothing drives. Search engines can do a lot of the work for you. Be sure to check the update date on the page you click on. Sometimes a browser can take you to an old long cached page. It would be sad to get excited about an opportunity only to find that it no longer existed.
Go to the federal governments grant page. You can do a key word search there as well. The United States Government has made finding grants easy by creating www.grants.gov. This is a marvelous time saver. Though occasionally grant announcements are not listed, but as you learn you will discover all the ways to be assured that you receive the ones that are in line with your needs. Keep an eye on this blog. I will frequently let my readers know about changes to www.grants.gov.
Once you have worked with foundations or the government, you will discover that Requests for Proposals (RFP) are sent directly to you. You will also find that getting media coverage for your program will bring contributions and RFP’s. Several foundations prefer that they find you. They will not consider applications or requests. Next time I will write about ways around this.