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13 Oct 2017

Celebrating Grant Success

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Note from Diane: Briana’s post today, “Celebrating Grant Success” is the first in a four-part series where different colleagues share their perspectives on celebrating grant success and also on handling and learning from grant rejections. 


There is no instant gratification in grant writing. Celebrating success is as much about a successful process as it is a successful funding outcome, the latter of which often does not occur for 3-8 months after submission.

Hitting submit myself, or being notified by my client that the grant has been submitted, ushers in the first moment to celebrate (and to breathe!). After spending tens of hours on a project, sometimes 70 or more for the large government grants, the final submission of a grant feels like a euphoric sense of freedom from the pressure of a deadline and a feeling of accomplishment for having produced a quality narrative and other application materials. My celebration of this tends to focus on getting some quality quiet time away from the office to reenergize.

The next celebratory moment is notification of award! Not only did the application pass the technical review (relief for all of us who spend way too much time checking and re-checking that all required documents and signatures in blue ink are there), but it was funded! I have loved the times in which I could celebrate this moment with my clients by being the first to tell them of their awards, such as for New York’s Consolidated Funding Application where the awards are published online after a large ceremony, prior to actual award letters being sent out.

The third, and by far my favorite, celebratory moment is seeing the funding in action when it has been possible to do so. I don’t think anyone becomes a grant professional simply because they like to write. The real impetus for this work, at least for me, is being able to contribute to social change and build better communities. Visiting the funded programs or projects is a very meaningful and exciting experience that makes me feel more strongly connected to the grant and the organization, which is especially important as a consultant. It is the successful summer program, or the public mural, or the historic building that has been saved, that is the greatest outcome of the grant writing work and is cause for the most celebration.


What do you do to celebrate grant success when the award letter arrives? We’d love to hear! Share in the comments section below.

Every established nonprofit was once a fledgling organization, founded by an eager individual with a 501c3 determination letter in hand and a passion to serve their community or change the world. Does this sound like you? First, thank you – we are grateful to people who are willing to roll up their sleeves to tackle problems, and who create and innovate to improve quality of life and, well, to just make cool things happen. The less exciting part – except for grant professionals – is that implementing these great ideas costs money, and, if you are a brand new organization, you may not have much of that.

So what is a new nonprofit with big ideas, a shiny new 501c3 letter, and little money to do? Of course – apply for grants! Big grants! And who better to help apply for big grants but an awesome grant consultant?

We love writing grants of all sizes, and we’d love to help. But you may not need us – yet. A grant consultant can help you understand the connection between organizational development and grant seeking and help you assess and improve your grant readiness, and can help you understand the kinds of grants that you will be most competitive for initially (Pro Tip: if you’re a new nonprofit that has gotten few or no grants, you should start local and start small: a $1,000 grant from your bank’s charitable giving program is a reasonable target; a $500,000 grant from your state government is probably not). But before we even get to that point, ask yourself two questions…

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