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10 Nov 2017

Defining Grantitude

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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.

How many times have you submitted a grant application and right after you hit submit you see several mistakes? We have all been there. It happens to the best of us.


“Writing without revising is the literary equivalent of waltzing gaily out of the house in your underwear.” ― Patricia Fuller


5 Tips for Editing Your Full Grant Proposal

  1. Be grant ready: You are less likely to put in the wrong information if you have already gathered the general information and documents you will need for the grant proposal before you start writing. Keep all the documents well labeled so you can easily include them in your proposal.
  2. Write your first draft: You can’t edit until you have something written.
  3. Review for consistency: You need to review the whole application for consistency – in the narrative, between the narrative and budget, throughout the whole application. A confused reviewer generally equals no funding.
  4. Use great tools
    • Grammarly: Grammarly is an online proofreading tool that checks text for grammar, punctuation, and style, and features a contextual spelling checker and plagiarism detector. They offer a browser extension for Chrome, online platform, and desktop version. You can use it for free or pay for their pro version. I use Grammarly on a daily basis. It helps eliminate errors in my grant writing, blog writing, social media posts, emails, and anything else I type on my computer. (And a bonus: follow them on social media. They post funny things you will resonate with.)
    • Grammar Girl: Mignon Fogarty a.k.a. Grammar Girl has written several books, hosts a weekly podcast, and posts regularly on her website. Through all these mediums, she gives quick and dirty tips for better writing.
    • Style Manual: All the publication styles have their own style manual. The style manuals are great references for questions on how to properly style your grant application.
    • Purdue Online Writing Lab (Owl): Purdue University has a great online writing lab with writing resources and instructional material as a free service.
    • Books on writing: Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott and On Writing by Stephen King
  5. Have another set of eyes review the proposal: Make friends with a coworker who is not involved in the grant development to read through the proposal. Or hold a mock review where a group of people read through the proposal and score it according to the grantmaker’s scoring system. Others will catch mistakes you won’t see.

Use these tips to make sure you don’t submit a grant proposal in its underwear.


What are your go to editing tricks and/or tools? We’d love to hear! Share with us in the comments section of the website or via social media.

Time for a rest day…time to relax, reflect and recharge!

You’ve done a great job with the second week of your Grant Readiness Challenge!

Here is a summary of what you have tackled so far:


What day of the challenge did you find most challenging this week? Least challenging? We’d love to hear! Drop us an email at, reach out via the Contact Us form, or use the #grantreadiness hashtag on social media.

Here is a sneak peek at what is coming up in the week ahead for you:



Don’t forget to share your journey on the 30 Day Grant Readiness Challenge by using the hashtag #grantreadiness on your posts and updates on social media.

Did you miss the launch of the 30 Day Grant Readiness Challenge? It isn’t too late for you to start! You can sign up at any point and it will start you back on Day 1!

Get Started

Did you read today’s challenge and say, “Grant team? What grant team, it’s just me!” Then your task for Day 5 of the Grant Readiness Challenge is to engage your colleagues in a discussion about forming a formal OR information grant team. Set a meeting for next week or the following with your supervisor/colleagues to get the discussion started.

What does a successful grant team look like? The composition and titles around the table or one the phone has to specific to the organization culture. Successful teams can be informal or formally structured. The titles are not the important part of the grant team composition. What is key is to have a diverse set of roles and skill sets represented within a grant team.

The team should have representation of the following roles within an organization:

  • Grant Professional
  • Leadership
  • Finance
  • Programs
  • Evaluation/Data
  • IT
  • Marketing


On the other hand, if you nodded when you read today’s challenge and say, yes, whether they call themselves that or not, I do have a grant team.  Your task for day 5 of the challenge is to look at how to further engage your grant team.

Which of the tasks below are you currently engaging your grant team in? If you aren’t currently engaging them on all four, pick one as part of the challenge and make a plan today for how to add this role to the group’s work.

1. Engaging in the process to create and implement a grant calendar.

2 .Engaging in dialogue with the lead grant professional/writer to go through the pre-planning process when considering a large application, often for government grants, in advance of a formal application opening.

3. Assist the lead grant professional/writer gather information related to program design, evaluation and budget (to name just a few!) during the application design phase.

4. Review and edit the application components to ensure that what has been written is aligned with what the organization can implement if funding is awarded.


Don’t forget to share your journey on the 30 Day Grant Readiness Challenge by using the hashtag #grantreadiness on your posts and updates on social media.

Did you miss the launch of the 30 Day Grant Readiness Challenge? It isn’t too late for you to start! You can sign up at any point and it will start you back on Day 1!

Get Started

It’s been over two years. Two years of days happily walking along while writing grants, writing grant related blogs, and writing curriculum for grant related webinars (okay, and occasionally dancing along to the music on my Spotify playlist) from the treadmill desk in my office. I will admit, there have been a few near misses with coffee spilled on the mouse pad, a phone knocked over during a conversation, or nearly getting myself tangled in my headset and various cords. But I will admit, two years ago I did not imagine as I started this experiment that having a treadmill desk would change my productivity and my work day happiness in such a huge way.

As a runner and now sprint triathlete, my desire to move during the day, instead of being at the desk has always plagued me. I’ve been known to review grant proposals while on the elliptical or on a stationary bike. I used to hold lunch walking meetings back when I was a Foundation & Grants Coordinator for the Alzheimer’s Association similar to Beth Kanter’s walking meetings. Some of my best business brainstorms come while out for a long run or while swimming laps at the local pool. Movement has always propelled some of my best thinking.

Being a grant professional can be a very sedentary profession. Long hours writing needs statements. Long federal technical assistance webinars. A great deal of seat time to get the most competitive compelling proposal finalized. The idea of a treadmill desk started as I looked at the various options for nontraditional desk: stand up desks, under desk steppers, under desk bike pedaling, exercise ball chairs. The treadmill desk seemed to be the best option for me although the research was scant to prove that it would really help boost my work related productivity. My initial gut though said that my *happiness* would be higher each working day if I had the chance to move, even if just while doing email, reading daily funding listings, and passively listening to technical assistance webinar.

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