Grant Writer’s Blog

How to Work with a Board of Directors: Both Sides of the Table

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I’m a sucker for advice columns.  It started when I would leaf through the women’s magazines during my mother’s weekly trips to the beauty shop, not to be confused with spas, salons, hairdressers, or anything else other than the retrofitted basement of a split-level ranch house on a wooded lot down a two-lane road in the suburbs. Amid the scent of Aquanet and the radiant…

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Ten High-Tech Grant Tools Used by My Favorite Grant Pros

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About 10 years ago I was participating in #grantchat (an hour-long grant discussion on Twitter most Tuesdays at noon Eastern) when that week’s particular topic was centered around high-tech grant tools. Everyone was sharing helpful apps, websites, and software. Meanwhile, I was raving about things like post-it notes, three-ring binders, and my giant whiteboard. (I do love a good whiteboard.)   Despite my inclination towards…

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The Number One Productivity Tool for You

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Even in these strange and scary times, the giant back-to-school supply bins in my local big box store make me smile. It’s the siren call of all those blank pages, pristine pencil leads, and unsullied calendars and planners. “Take us home,” they whisper. “Together we’ll be so perfectly organized.”  I’m a sucker for fresh starts, and the promise of perfect organization. And I can’t be…

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Winning More Grants Is Not an Either/Or Proposition

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Are you a plotter or pantser? This is an oft-discussed question between writers of fiction, attendees of writing conferences, and people who while away the hours listening to podcasts about writing. (Dear reader, I include myself in all these categories.) “Plotters” refer to writers who meticulously outline every single twist and turn of their novel or short story, and compile detailed biographies of their characters’…

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Even Professionals Need to Go Back to the Grant Basics

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AKA Amanda and the horrible, no good, very bad grant writing week I have been a grant professional for 20 years, and for the past six years taught an introduction to grant writing course to thousands of people across the country. I know the best practices for grant writing—meeting deadlines with a quality, complete proposal. Yet despite all this, I made three major mistakes in…

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Keep Asking: Lessons in Not Holding Back

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On this week’s episode of the Fundraising HayDay Podcast (Season 4, Episode 14), Kimberly and I had the great fortune to chat with Sarah Stewart Holland and Beth Silvers of the popular podcast, Pantsuit Politics. We didn’t stick with a theme for the episode, but rather asked all the questions we wanted to, from earmarks and use of data to having difficult conversations and being…

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Five Ways Social Media Has Helped Me Grow as a Grant Professional

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What’s your take on social media? Between doom scrolling, cyber bullying, and the time suck, it certainly has its low points. But on the flip side, it can connect friends and family, provide information, and entertain. I’m a big believer in finding the positive and making the best out of any situation. Just call me Pollyanna. I have found good in social media. I have…

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The Dollars are in the Details: Win More Grants with On-Site Research

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Are you a grant professional who spends hours alone in front of your monitors weaving words, data, budget numbers, and a cornucopia of requested documentation into grant after grant, day after day? Or are you new to the organization seeking to increase grant funding? Maybe you write grants to the same funders year after year for the same meaningful programs? If you answered yes to…

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Don’t Chase the Money: Do Your Grant Prospect Research

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Picture this: Sicily. 1942.   Just kidding, I do love me some Golden Girls, but this is a grant blog post. Let’s try again.   Picture this: your boss hands you a federal grant proposal. It is due in two weeks. After reading the grant guidance you start talking to the appropriate co-workers. Turns out, there is no program in place, no plan of action….

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The Unicorn of Illinois: A Streamlined, State-Wide Grant System

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In 2019 I attended my first National Grant Management Association Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. If federal grant management is one of your duties, then this is the conference for you. I submitted a workshop session entitled “I Survived an OIG Audit” that was added to the session lineup. As I stood in front of my fellow grant managers, I realized that nearly half the…

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