The #LearnGrants Online Summit was designed for 2022 to help grant professionals from a wide range of mission areas come together to celebrate International Grant Professionals Day (IGPD).
Yes, I am incredibly biased as part of the organizing sponsors and day-of-production team for the event.
Yet, the six speakers did such a wonderful job sharing tactical information about each element of the grant life cycle (readiness, research, relationships, writing, and reporting), that I’m still quoting and referencing their sessions weeks later.
I’d encourage you to check out the full 10-minute recordings (they are all FREE to watch!) from each speaker here. To help you get excited about the different video resources, here are some of my favorite takeaways from each of the speakers.
Rachyl Speigner, Researching Grantmakers for your Nonprofit, shared some great questions for you to use BEFORE you dig in on grantmaker/prospect research, including:
- National or regional funding?
- GOS or program/project support?
- Issue area?
- Cost of the program/project?
- Funders with a specific floor?
Allison Shirk, If You’ve Met One Foundation…You’ve Met One Foundation, shared the analogy of grantmaker relationships being like dating since, like all personal relationships, each relationship is different! One of my favorite quotes from Allison is that “If you’ve met one foundation… you’ve met one foundation.” She shared great ways to build relationships:
- Follow through
- Follow up
- Send progress reports
- Share stories
These help grantmakers feel good about their grant all year long.
Frank Velasquez, Story Arc Your Nonprofit to Answer (Most) Grant Questions, helps introduce many grant professionals to how the story arc framework used in many other writing scenarios can also be appropriate for use in grant applications. Frank believes that every nonprofit has a compelling story and every compelling story has a story arc. The way the story arc elements align with those of a grant application are:
1 – Exposition (set-up/need)
2 – Rising action (how are things getting worse)
3 – Climax (what’s the turning project)
4 – Falling action (how are things getting better)
5 – Resolution (what’s the outcome)
Julie Paynotta, Crafting a Strong Evaluation Narrative, tackled the theory of change models and program logic models to demonstrate the difference between responses for a grantmaker that are “good” versus “better” versus “best” in terms of how they showcase your understanding and expertise. Whether a logic model is a formal attachment or upload for a grant application or not, the elements of a logic model are usually found within grant application questions, including:
- What are the key activities you will perform in order to achieve the desired results?
- What program inputs do you need to achieve the desired results?
- How do you define success for this program?
- What are the expected outcomes of the proposed work?
Rachel Werner, Taking the Fear out of Federal Grants Management, shared tactical answers to some of the most common grant management questions that she hears on a regular basis. One of the biggest is “What are internal controls and WHY do I need them?” which Rachel explained as important because:
- These help you be a good steward of federal dollars
- They help you preserve your financial integrity
- Ensure appropriate stewardship of the award
Barbara Floersch, Protecting the Flame, brought all of the grant life cycle elements together sharing her 40 years of experience. Of great importance is that she acknowledged that “indeed, our work can be STRESSFUL.” Yet by always focusing on professional development and ways to learn about new interest areas and skills, Barbara provides an inspiring message for us all (you may want to bookmark this and play it on days where you have forgotten!) to inspire YOU to feed YOUR flame about being a grant professional.
Share your favorite takeaways from the IGPD #LearnGrants Online Summit in the comments below!