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As we are in the month of Thanksgiving, it is a great time to focus on grantitude and how we can incorporate it into our nonprofits. I think we probably can all agree that we need to have grantitude, but we don’t always know how to implement it.

So, how does your nonprofit score on grantitude (Catch up here if you missed Amy Bonn’s post about Defining Grantitude)?

  • 10 points if you send a thank you note when awarded a grant. (Bonus of 5 points if it is hand-written)
  • 5 points if you have a little celebration with your grant team. (Bonus of 2 points if it involves coffee and baked goods.)
  • 5 points if you thank the funder on social media (as long as the funder is ok with it). (Bonus of 5 points if it involves a video of your participants/clients.)
  • 5 points if you return the grant agreement on time.
  • 2 points if you provide a letter of receipt for the grant funds.
  • 5 points if you submit your reports on time.
  • 10 points if you follow the funder’s guidelines/requests.
  • 2 points if you attend a funder event.
  • 5 points if you spend the grant money in the way you outlined it in the application or have a conversation with the funder before changing how you spend it.
  • 2 points if you announce the grant award in your newsletter.
  • 2 points if you create a press release for each grant awarded to your organization.
  • 5 points if you announce your grant awards at your board meetings.
  • 2 points if you recognize funders at events and/or through printed materials.
  • 2 points if you put the funder’s logo on your website.
  • 2 points if you coordinate and host site visits for grantors
  • 2 points if host an event for funders or ensure the funder is invited to all relevant events


How is your nonprofit doing? Are you showing grantitude?


There really is no perfect score for showing grantitude. This just gives you a list of ideas of how your nonprofit can show grantitude. You do not need to do every single one for each funder. Regardless of how your nonprofit scored, be sure to follow the funder’s guidelines/request when it comes to the acknowledgment of the grant. Some funders do not want the public recognition. Also, continually consider and add in ways your nonprofit can authentically express grantitude to your funders.

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.

This is our final of four posts about grant success and rejection. How to celebrate, learn and grow from both. If you missed the previous posts, you can catch up on Celebrating Grant Success by Briana Popek (here), When a Win Looks Like a Win by Nicole Sibilski, GPC (here), or Handling a Grant Rejection (here).


One of my favorite grant success stories was for a training project for a non-profit medical facility.  The client never worked with a grant professional before therefore this project was an indoctrination for them to the entire grant process.  The grant team consisted of myself and the executive team from the facility.  I was an integral part of the project planning process.  I researched the funder, potential training partners, and negotiated a vendor contract.  I facilitated meetings, interviewed staff members, and worked with the executive leaders to develop the project’s budget.  Once the grant proposal was written, we held several review sessions.  It was finally time to submit the proposal! This was a significant milestone in the process and a celebration was certainly in order.   Celebration # 1 consisted of coffee, tea, and warm handshakes.

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27 Oct 2017

Handling a Grant Rejection

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Today’s post from guest blogger, Julie Boll, GPC is the continuation in a series about grant wins and rejections, and how to celebrate and learn from both. If you missed the first two posts, you can catch up on Celebrating Grant Success by Briana Popek (here) and When a Win Looks Like a Win by Nicole Sibilski, GPC (here).


We wish we could fund all of the many worthy causes… We know how this sentence ends.

How do you process a grant rejection?

For me, I need a little time to just be disappointed. I know what the funding percentages are and I know the many reasons a funder may or may not fund our organization. However, even knowing this, it is a disappointment, both as a grant professional and as an advocate for my organization. As grant professionals, we write for programs that are important and can make a difference. We believe in the programs we seek funding for. And I think it’s important to acknowledge your disappointment and allow your feelings to be present.

One thing that always comforts me is the simple fact that I’ve never seen the research that goes into grant proposal lost. We are a small, private University with a predominate teaching faculty who are just getting into research. We’ve been around the block with the National Science Foundation three times now. We are diligently working to break in as a new grantee. Our reviewer comments have helped us better define our programs and goals, and as a result we’ve seen our scores increase each round. In the meantime, the research I used to develop this proposal has supported multiple successful grant proposals for the University.

A famous Einstein quote helps lend perspective after a grant rejection: Failure is Success in Progress. We can’t always win, but we can always learn from our experience and as long as we continue to learn, these rejections become part of our successes.

So, disappointment aside, I use the period after a grant rejection to process any feedback we received, communicate with the grants team, follow up with the funder if possible, and develop a game plan for the next application. This work ensures this “failure” is indeed success in progress.


Julie Boll, GPC, is the Director of Grants for Quincy University. Julie began her career in the non-profit world as an AmeriCorps member and has worked with grants in some capacity ever since. She is a member of the Grants Professionals Association and a member of the program committee of the St. Louis chapter.

20 Oct 2017

When a Win Looks Like a Loss

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*Note from Diane: Today’s post from Nicole is the second in our series talking about grant seeking success. Did you miss Briana’s post Celebrating Grant Success from last week? Catch up here.


When it comes to grants, it seems that “success” and “failure” is a binary distinction. Winning the money equates success. Not winning the money equates failure. Seems simple enough.

It isn’t.

With experience comes wisdom, and after several hundred applications, one truth that has become evident – sometimes, winning a grant can be the worst thing that can happen to an organization, while losing a grant can be the best. After being on the front lines of both experiences, here are two stories that show that your win can be your loss (or vice versa):

When reality comes crashing down-Several years ago, I lead a team that earned a hefty six figure award to significantly expand their services. After years of saying they needed more resources to help a growing population, they had it all-money for new staff, equipment, offices, even gas for their cars. Now it was time to roll up their sleeves and start changing the world.

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