RstephensonJR's blog

Stakeholders, Defined

There is widespread agreement that a proposal for a grant carries with it the aspirations and expectations of a lot of different people—our current shorthand is “stakeholders”—but sometimes we refer to them without thinking about who they really are.

The Ups and Downs of an Elevator Pitch

You meet a local business owner at the soccer game and you congratulate her for her kid’s inside touch and scissor kick. After the proud parental handshake, you’re walking to your cars and she asks “what’s your work?” Here it is—a chance to tell a local leader about your nonprofit. The only problem is that you’ve got to do it in about a minute or less.

Less May Be More

Great writers agree: it’s harder to write short than write long. Mark Twain said “a two-hour presentation, I am ready today. . .a five-minute speech will take two weeks to prepare.” Thoreau said “Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short.”

Government vs. Foundation Grants

When it comes to applying for grants, most small to mid-sized nonprofits don’t have a lot of staff resources or a bountiful budget for consultants. The challenge is to decide what funding “suspects” are actually good prospects and to make choices about what to pursue. Often the decision is about whether to put more effort into public / government funding vs. private foundation grant-making.

Who Toots Your Horn?

One of the elements of a persuasive proposal is the credibility of the applicant. Nonprofits should think about what it is that establishes their stature and value to the community. Hint: it’s probably more than just your own claims about your successes or your longevity or your staff resumes.

How to Know You’re Ready to Compete for Grants

Thousands of foundations, billions of dollars and only 1.5 million nonprofits. Let’s get our tax-exemption and snag that first, free money! Spoiler alert: this story does not end well. Most proposals get rejected, most brand-new nonprofits do not get their first dollar from a foundation and some have estimated that half the new nonprofits will fizzle out in a year or two. What about the “other half?” What are the characteristics of nonprofits that stand the best chance of winning foundation support?

For the Record

Our last blog, about avoiding jargon in your proposals, has caused some in our community to respond with anger, dismay, and/or a gentle reprimand to walk our talk. “To err is human” and we sure are. So let us be clear: we do value older people, we do think women are intelligent, and we do think seniors are capable of high-level, important contributions. We’re sorry for any consternation and/or offense caused by our poorly chosen words.

Pages

Register Now!

A follow-up study of 385 of our graduates found they had won grants totaling over $21 million within just six months of completing the 5-day Grantsmanship Training Program®. Our training produces results!