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Prospecting for grant funders is a time-consuming task for nonprofit organizations. Yet it is essential. Many nonprofits begin by finding and building relationships with local funders, then regional, then national.  If your nonprofit has a solid record of receiving, utilizing and reporting well with local and regional funders, it can be time to extend your prospecting reach. There are several reasons to look at national funders, including these four:


  1. Your NPO has a program that is replicable in other communities
  2. You need to reach beyond local/regional donor fatigue
  3. You are diversifying your funding sources
  4. Receipt of national funding gives your nonprofit credibility


One way to find prospective national funders, is geographic searching. Search for those that fund in your state. Even small family foundations often fund in states outside of which they reside. Why is this? Private and family foundations can move offices when the foundation changes hands between generations or a foundation that began in the north, is now in the south as the funders retired in a warmer climate, but they still fund back “home.” It’s very important to search for national funders by where they fund versus where they are physically located. In my state of Minnesota, over 20% of grant funding originates outside the state and this trend is growing by 2% per year.


Does one of those four reasons resonate with you? And now you wonder which national grant maker to consider? Next week, I’ll be sharing “7 Tips to Research National Foundations.” 

10 Feb 2017

4 Tips for Improving a Reading Habit

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In general, we nonprofit professionals know what the goals are for the year at our nonprofit – securing grant funding and donations to meet the budget, making new partners to increase our program offerings, researching new grant funding opportunities, etc. Nonprofits create strategic plans, annual development plans, organizational budgets, case statements, and other documents to keep them on track. But what are your goals to take care of yourself?  


Our sector can be trying, and if we don’t take care of ourselves, we may find ourselves burnt out. That is why habits that help you care for yourself are most important. One of those new habits may include moving more like Diane (Read her annual check up here) or to read more this year like these three professional development books for grant professionals.  


If one of your goals involved reading, I’ve got 4 tips for you.

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05 Feb 2017

It’s True…#GrantsWork

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It’s true…#GrantsWork
Grant professionals help to change the world one grant at a time.
We have been talking about Grant Funding in Action here on our team and our blog for the past two years as each member of our team has had the chance to see some of their grant work come to fruition in ways that they could witness in their own communities and even families.
One of my favorite #grantswork stories is one that is personal. It’s a story where I already knew the #grantswork we were doing with a client was creating great outcomes for our client and the students they served. Then I had the chance to go on the grant funded field trip that wraps up their education program with the school and see my daughter and her classmates. It was an awesome moment of my worlds colliding!
The Grant Professionals Association launched #grantswork as a hashtag last week to help grant professionals have the chance to show and tell what impact their work and funded grants are making.
Share your story with the Grant Professionals Association here so we can help spread the great news to the world about how #GrantsWork!Looking forward to hearing each of your stories!

29 Jan 2017

Can’t You Just Write It?

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The answer to “Can’t You Just Write It?”

…No, I Can’t “Just” Write It


Let’s be honest, one of the phrases that all grant professionals fear is “Can’t you just write it?!?” It is a phrase that both employed grant professionals and consultants hear. It often happens when we least expect it, or from a person that surprises us by asking the question or some variation of the question. When it is uttered directly to a grant professional or asked indirectly, it is a warning sign that things in the grant seeking strategy are not on track and that the grant team is not adequately engaged.


3 Ways to Address “Can’t You Just Write It?”


  1. If the phrase is spoken directly to you, ask your colleague why they would *want* you to “just write it” since they will have to be the one to implement what it is that you have written. Don’t they want to have the input to ensure that what they are implementing is feasible and best designed for success?


  1. If the phrase has come up repeatedly, implement a template outline of information required for any new project or program before grant funding can be sought. Include the key points of goals, objectives, timeline and budget so that the basic framework of information you need is documented before you even start to discuss drafting an application.


  1. Step back and look at why the question is being posed for this specific application. If the reason behind the question of “can’t you just write it” being posed to you as the grant professional is that those that hold the knowledge you need are “too busy” to participate in the process, ask to talk with your leadership about the priority of grant funding to bring the key players to the table.


What other ways have you successfully addressed the “can’t you just write it?!?” question in your work? We’d love to hear! Share your experience in the comments section below, via social media, or email your story to me directly via

What a fun question….how much coffee fuels your grant writing?

We talk about what motivates or inspires our grant writing frequently on our team. We’ve talked about how we build movement into our days in order to inspire writing. We’ve talked about and shared motivational quotes and mantras that can help inspire our work. For many of us, one of the other daily motivators, or at least energy sources is coffee. Or if not coffee, tea, or seltzer, or other favorite beverage you always have at hand while writing.

One of our common ice breaker questions with new grant teams or clients is to ask what everyone’s favorite caffeine or beverage of choice is that they have during the work day. One of my favorite dialogues that came from that conversation with one new grant team was the lively conversation as colleagues that had worked together extensively learned about a colleague who didn’t drink anything with caffeine…EVER. They had worked together for quite awhile, but hadn’t gotten to know each other in that way yet. That dialogue and team sharing helped to further unite and personalize their grant team when getting started on a big new application.

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