04 Jan 2019
“If you want to be a writer you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” —Stephen King
It is well-known that reading improves writing, and writing is a large part of the responsibilities of a grant professional. Because of this, the DH Leonard Consulting Team discussed our reading lives recently based on a shortened version of the What Does Your Bookshelf Say About You? Discussion presentation developed by Trish Bachman, GPC and me for the Grant Professionals Association annual conference.
Here is the summary of our discussion so you can learn more about the team:
What are your favorite books, blogs, and podcasts about grant writing/fund development?
- Fundraising HayDay
- Prepare for the GPC Exam: Earn Your Grant Professional Certified Credential by Pauline Annarino, Danny W. Blitch II, Kimberly Hays de Muga, and Leslie Mitchell
- Writing to Win Federal Grants: A Must-Have for Your Fundraising Toolbox by Cheryl Kester and Karen Cassidy
To read more about these books, check out Three Books that Should be on Every Grant Professional’s Bookshelf.
Why do you read?
- Provide boundaries
- Help fall asleep
- Reading is like food. It is a necessity.
- You can go anywhere with a book.
- The social aspect of discussing books – book clubs, Bookstagram, etc.
- To be sophisticated
What books sparked your love for reading?
- Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery
- The Babysitters Club series by Ann M. Martin
- Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
- Ulysses by James Joyce
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
- Aesop’s Fables by Aesop
- Nancy Drew Mysteries by Carolyn Keene
What is the last book finished?
- Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves by Glory Edim
- A Star for Mrs. Blake by April Smith
- Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
- Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
- Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies about Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis
- The Rejected Writers’ Book Club by Suzanne Kelman
- On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
What book do you frequently recommend to others?
- Any of Brene Brown’s books
- Any of Joh Krakauer – specifically Under the Banner of Heaven
- Any of Thomas Hardy’s books
- Any of Robin Robert’s books
- Any of Gretchen Rubin’s books
- Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande
- Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
We’d love to get you know you through books as well. We would love to hear what the last book is that YOU finished. Let us know in the comments section!
26 Oct 2018
Does this scenario sound familiar? You have a grant deadline coming up so you open the grant application or pull up a blank page to start writing, but your grant team hasn’t given you all the information you need and you can’t think of a single thing to write. The blank page looks hauntingly back at you.
It happens to all grant professionals from time to time (or maybe even a little more often than we want to admit).
4 Strategies for Getting Past the Blank Page
1. Prepare Your Writing Area: Silence any distractions by closing your door, your email, your phone, and anything else that might distract you from the task at hand. Get your favorite beverage. Turn on some music to help you focus.
As I write this blog post, I am walking on my treadmill desk. My email and phone are silenced. My water bottle is sitting within easy reach. And Michael Buble is serenading me.
2. Boiler Plate Information: Start with the easy information. Insert the information that won’t change – organization contact information, mission statement, vision statement, history of the organization, demographic information, etc.
I keep a document that has all this information together for each of my clients so I can always easily find the information.
3. Important Information: Add in any other important information you know. Rachel Werner, GPC gives some questions to think through in writing in her blog post What’s Your Grant Story? and Amy Bonn shows How to Use Data to Tell Your Story.
I also like to have a project/program description document for every program I write a grant application. Again, this makes it easy to find the information I need.
Congratulations, you do not have a blank page anymore. Now, you have information you can start editing and arranging. You can see where you are lacking information. You can more specific questions of your grant team. You can even highlight where that information will go for you and your grant team to see.
What are your strategies for getting past the blank page? We’d love to hear!
Note from Diane: The second post in our series about how grant writing is not a solo sport, but rather a team endeavor when looking for the greatest level of success, it’s time to look at some analogies for grant teams. Did you miss the first post? Don’t forget to check out Nicole Sibilski’s post, Grant Writing Isn’t a Solo Sport: When Life and Deadlines Compete.
What do grant writing and volleyball have in common?
During upper elementary and middle school, I enjoyed playing volleyball. If you aren’t familiar with volleyball, here is a quick tutorial. A volleyball team has six members on the court at all times. The volleyball positions include serving specialist, setter, defense specialist, outside hitter, libero, middle blocker, right side, and even the coach. Each of these positions has specific roles and responsibilities to contribute to the overall goal of the team – winning. The volleyball players each have a specialty, but they rotate through the six positions on the court throughout each game and share the roles and responsibilities.
And now that you have had a quick tutorial about a volleyball, you are probably wondering how this applies to grant development. Grant writing isn’t a solo sport. It is most successful when completed as a team. At DH Leonard Consulting, we talk about grant teams on a very consistent basis because it is so important.
Like a volleyball team, a grant team has many positions – writer, organizational guru, researcher, numbers person, details person, ideas/creative thinker, and specialties. Each of these positions has specific responsibilities to the grant writing process and contribute to the overall goal of the grant team – being awarded the grant.
If a volleyball team only has five players out on the court, there is a good chance some of the responsibilities will not be covered and the ball will drop giving the other team the point. What happens if that one person becomes ill, is on vacation, or *gasp* leaves the organization?
30 Mar 2018
I had so much fun putting together the list of 15 statements in the post You Know You are a Grant Writer When that I am sharing a curated list of Your #LifeasaGrantWriter and #LifeasaGrantPro social media posts today. Enjoy.
You Know You are a Grant Writer When . . .
Geeky grant moment! When you use their [Bureau of Labor Statistics] data in grant apps, of course you need a pic when you’re in town for a Grant Writing USA workshop. – Amanda Day, GPC https://twitter.com/wholewheatgirl/status/941364807302897664
- Reading parent surveys for a client, and it’s definitely getting dusty over here. – Jason Adkins, GPC https://twitter.com/AdkinsJason/status/95081733507775692
At the Tampa Airport getting ready for #GrantChat and then off to SC to lead Grant Management Boot Camp. – Lucy Morgan, CPA https://twitter.com/MyFedTrainer/status/978652995046002688/photo/1
- Bragging on my team for a second…11 awesome state grants submitted for fabulous clients in a span of 8 business days. They are rock stars! – Diane H. Leonard, GPC https://twitter.com/DianeHLeonard/status/977278267744030720
- Happy Dance Friday! Lovely, large grant award for a deserving client!! – Julie Johnson https://twitter.com/jorjastonej/status/906217006105587712
- Deadlines, coffee and sheer terror set in. – Bill Smith
- You’re excited for tax time because you are tired of looking at last year’s 990s. – Kristen Tongue
- Everyone you tell you’re a grant writer to says “Oh, I need grant for (insert crazy idea)…think you could help?” – Laura Fegan
- 11 deadlines in four weeks doesn’t even make you flinch (much). – Laura Cochran
- 11:51 pm submission feels like you have an entire week until the deadline. – Becky Jascoviak
- You have nightmares about character counts. – Terri Wiley
- Notice: Magic at Work. Your patience is requested. – Trish Bachman, GPC https://www.instagram.com/p/BejRTVglLzdqqO2_6b4Ek-X4wFfSJykmHCsswg0/?tagged=lifeasagrantwriter
- One of my favorite things about life as a grant professional is being a GPA member. Not only does GPA advance the grants profession and support grant professionals, it has the best members, the best staff, and the best board of directors. – Bethany Turner, GPC https://www.instagram.com/p/Bd3KbCRBmpjl1oxwMmO89ncru-faDGD3VhC1eo0/?tagged=lifeasagrantwriter
High fives to all of you who identify with these statements. You are an awesome grant professional doing great work.
Let us know when you know you are a grant professional below in the comments or on social media using the hashtags #LifeasaGrantWriter and #LifeasaGrantPro.
05 Jan 2018
Recently at the GPA national conference, I was sitting with a group of friends and one made a pun about the grant profession. We all laughed, and the joke-teller said, “Isn’t it nice to be with people who get puns like this?” Yes, it is.
You know you are a grant writer when . . .
- You drink an enormous amount of coffee
- You have passionate feelings on the Oxford comma debate
- You look forward to emails from the Grant Professionals Association
- You know what #Grantchat is
- You either have or are working towards earning your Grant Professionals Certification
- You have experienced writer’s block on multiple occasions
- You get excited about office supplies including but not limited to pens, pencils, highlighters, color-coded folders, and calculators
- You create logic model, deadlines, and checklists for every part of your life
- You have mad research skills
- You have these three books on your shelf and probably many others like them
- You think International Grant Professionals Day should be a national holiday
- You know how to check the word count/character count in every word processing app
- You know how to read a 990
- You used Grammarly to double check your grammar on this blog post
- You love hanging out with grant people
For me, truly the best part of #lifeasagrantwriter is the awesome people I get to interact with on a daily basis. Grant people are the best people.
To find other ways you know your a grant writer when, look for the hashtag #lifeasagrantwriter and/or #lifeasagrantpro on social media.
How do you know you’re a grant writer?