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08 Dec 2017

Feeling Gratitude

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“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”   – William Arthur Ward

 

Isn’t that the truth?? This quote hits me very hard and reminds me that cultivating funder relationships is the essential ingredient for successful grant programs. As a grantor and a grantee, we share the same objective of creating, implementing, and managing a project that will make a difference in this world. Conversely, being grateful is not just receiving the grant funds – it means to able to start, build relationships, change lives, make history, track your progress, and most of all sharing that progress with others—I repeat sharing your grant project progress with your team, and most importantly with the funder.

During this thankful season of 2017, we are sharing why grants professionals always have to be gratified:

  1. Grateful for Funders because;
    1. They chose to fund areas that matter to them and organizations that has a strategic vision.
    2. They believe in giving back to the communities.
    3. They believe in creating a change in the world.
  2. Grateful for the Team because;
    1. It leads collaboration into building lifelong relationships.
    2. It encourages and holds each other accountable.
    3. It represents a collection of work approved at various steps.
  3. Grateful to be a Grant Writer or a Grant Professional because;
    1. The program vision gets its life on paper and tells a story to the funder.
    2. It empowers us to keep writing even when we get the rejections.
    3. It helps us see the world through many lenses.
  4. Grateful to the World of Grants because;
    1. It ensures accountability, transparency, and sustainability.
    2. It requires us to communicate effectively with the grantor’s by:
      1. Progress Reports
      2. Phone Calls/Thank You Notes/Emails
      3. Website Articles/Newsletters
      4. Annual/Audit ReportsSite-Visits
    3. It gives us the opportunity to make a change in the world we live in.

 

At DH Leonard Leonard Consulting & Grant Writing Services, we are grateful for all you do for your organization and your grant programs. We are thankful that you are part of this team where we find, write, repeat.

30 Nov 2017

Gratitude is a Verb

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Note from Diane: We hope you are enjoying our series about being #Grateful for #Grants as much as we are enjoying writing the pieces for you! Have you missed one of the earlier posts? Check out Defining Grantitude by Amy Bonn and How Does Your Nonprofit Score on Grantitude? and Bethany Turner, GPC.  

 

 

Let’s talk about gratitude.

Every non-profit has that form letter, the one that says, “Thank you so much so-and-so for your generous gift…” While, yes, that letter is sincere in its intentions, let’s be honest-its primary purpose is to provide proof of contribution at tax time. Is that letter truly the beginning and end of the gratitude a non-profit can convey to its funders? Let’s challenge ourselves to do more than merely state our gratitude to those who support us, let’s talk about living it.

How do we as non-profit professionals fully express our gratitude to funders in a deliberate way, one that shows that their support is transformative while also furthering the story of our mission and vision?

Buddhist principles state that “Practicing mindfulness of gratitude consistently leads to a direct experience of being connected to life and the realization that there is a larger context in which your personal story is unfolding.” Gratitude is two-fold-it must be internalized, and it must be expressed. In applying these principles to your organization’s grant program, you can achieve greater success in your mission and create a deeper connection with new and current funders.

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As we are in the month of Thanksgiving, it is a great time to focus on grantitude and how we can incorporate it into our nonprofits. I think we probably can all agree that we need to have grantitude, but we don’t always know how to implement it.

So, how does your nonprofit score on grantitude (Catch up here if you missed Amy Bonn’s post about Defining Grantitude)?

  • 10 points if you send a thank you note when awarded a grant. (Bonus of 5 points if it is hand-written)
  • 5 points if you have a little celebration with your grant team. (Bonus of 2 points if it involves coffee and baked goods.)
  • 5 points if you thank the funder on social media (as long as the funder is ok with it). (Bonus of 5 points if it involves a video of your participants/clients.)
  • 5 points if you return the grant agreement on time.
  • 2 points if you provide a letter of receipt for the grant funds.
  • 5 points if you submit your reports on time.
  • 10 points if you follow the funder’s guidelines/requests.
  • 2 points if you attend a funder event.
  • 5 points if you spend the grant money in the way you outlined it in the application or have a conversation with the funder before changing how you spend it.
  • 2 points if you announce the grant award in your newsletter.
  • 2 points if you create a press release for each grant awarded to your organization.
  • 5 points if you announce your grant awards at your board meetings.
  • 2 points if you recognize funders at events and/or through printed materials.
  • 2 points if you put the funder’s logo on your website.
  • 2 points if you coordinate and host site visits for grantors
  • 2 points if host an event for funders or ensure the funder is invited to all relevant events

 

How is your nonprofit doing? Are you showing grantitude?

 

There really is no perfect score for showing grantitude. This just gives you a list of ideas of how your nonprofit can show grantitude. You do not need to do every single one for each funder. Regardless of how your nonprofit scored, be sure to follow the funder’s guidelines/request when it comes to the acknowledgment of the grant. Some funders do not want the public recognition. Also, continually consider and add in ways your nonprofit can authentically express grantitude to your funders.

10 Nov 2017

Defining Grantitude

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Grantitude

Grantitude is a term that’s been coined by the grant writing community. There are a few different definitions floating around out there (check out #grantchat’s definition here, or SNF Writing Services definition here) but for this blog, I’m using the following: Grant-it-ude /noun/ a way of acknowledging or appreciating a generous funding given to an organization.

“She felt a deep sense of grantitude when the Gates Foundation awarded her a $1,000,000 grant for her organization’s work in the area of health care,”

Synonyms: grateful, thankful, appreciating others who support your work.

 

I look at grantitidue as a way of engaging funders into your organization’s work. Receiving funding is the first step in what can be a long-standing, symbiotic relationship. It’s more than saying thank you, it’s fostering a connection with funders who are supporting your organization’s mission and vision and making them understand how their financial contribution helps your organization run and how this in turn helps improve a social condition. You’ve already made this connection with the funder, otherwise you wouldn’t have received funding; the opportunity here is acknowledging and maintaining the connection.

 

A couple of stories of the power of grantitude. First, there is a local company that makes small grants to area nonprofits. When you submit a request they review your application and record their decisions in a spiral notebook that is a record of everyone they’ve made a grant to, amount of the grant and the last column is a notes whether they’ve received a thank you note. If you didn’t send a thank you note, they will not make another award to your organization in the future and if you didn’t know about the spiral notebook keep track of grantitude you are left wondering why you’ve been rejected. On a more positive note, a local group I worked with one would have a student send a thank you note specifically outlining how the grant funded a program he/she participated in and how this program changed his/her life. The grantee organization also followed up with the foundation by sending annual reports, invitations to special events and included the granting organization on any press releases announcing new funding streams. The granting organization felt a connection, was informed and knowledgeable about the organization. The group has received annual awards from a foundation and created and sustained a meaningful relationship. The grantee organization has been highlighted in the foundation’s annual report, they’ve spoken to the foundation’s board of trustees and there is a clear deep appreciation and understanding of each other’s organizations and how to work together to support each other’s vision for social change.

 

Grantitude starts the minute you receive the grant and can continue on as long as you maintain a connection with your funder. Grantitude is a great opportunity to include participants and board members to show their appreciation for the funding and extending the relationship between grantor and grantee from a financial relationship to a true partnership.

This is our final of four posts about grant success and rejection. How to celebrate, learn and grow from both. If you missed the previous posts, you can catch up on Celebrating Grant Success by Briana Popek (here), When a Win Looks Like a Win by Nicole Sibilski, GPC (here), or Handling a Grant Rejection (here).

 

One of my favorite grant success stories was for a training project for a non-profit medical facility.  The client never worked with a grant professional before therefore this project was an indoctrination for them to the entire grant process.  The grant team consisted of myself and the executive team from the facility.  I was an integral part of the project planning process.  I researched the funder, potential training partners, and negotiated a vendor contract.  I facilitated meetings, interviewed staff members, and worked with the executive leaders to develop the project’s budget.  Once the grant proposal was written, we held several review sessions.  It was finally time to submit the proposal! This was a significant milestone in the process and a celebration was certainly in order.   Celebration # 1 consisted of coffee, tea, and warm handshakes.

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