Archive for Methods

What if I were a Gift I gave to the world each
and every day?

What if the receiver experienced Forgiveness in
the presence of my gift?

What if emotional and physical Healing
happened as I was handed to a new recipient?

What if I received in return what I gave?

What gifts will I give today?

Source: Seven Stones Leadership Daily Sufficiency

 

Tis the season, and we have gifts for you in this installment of our LINKY Party! I don’t usually gush but my friends have really spilled the beans here and shared some truly valuable planning and design tools – that are the amalgamation of years of experience – so definitely check them out.

These five incredibly useful tools that will help you develop more compelling and competitive grant proposals. If this gift seems like a boring pair of socks to you, remain patient, we all use these tools to run successful grant writing businesses – they work and will save you time and make you more effective and efficient – so you have more time to enjoy the joys of life.

From Jo Miller: A Social Media Template – Strategy and Planning

From Heather Stombaugh: A Grant Decision-Making Matrix

From Diane Leonard: Two Grant Readiness Tools for new and seasoned organizations

From Mark Whitacre: A Grant Alignment System Spreadsheet/Process

From me, Jana: How much to charge for grant writing contracts tool

How to figure out how much to charge for grant writing contracts

One of the questions that I get asked the most is how much to charge for grant writing. It’s always a little tricky to answer because the Sarbanes-Oxley Act precludes discussion of rates in order to stop price fixing…which we can all agree is never a pretty thing.

Having said that, I have learned a few things when negotiating contracts that have served me well over the years and I’d like to share those with you.

Number One: Figuring out how long a grant will take you to write

The first step here is to see who how long it takes you to write a grant application. I have collaborated with other grant writers over the years and found that it can vary quite a bit. So, if you are just starting out as a consultant, I recommend that you carefully track your hours to get a sense of how long things take you. On the scale of things, I am very fast, partly by nature and partly because I have been writing grants for 20 years so I’m just much more efficient.

Foundation Grants

For simple foundation grants I calculate a minimum of 15 hours and more typically in the 25-30 hour range. But, please track your own hours and find out what is true for you.

 

Government Grants

Government grants are a whole different kettle of fish. Diane Gideon Martin generously shared with me her formula for calculating how long it takes to write a state or federal grant and I have found it to be remarkably accurate. Her formula

“for calculating the time it will take me to complete the entire grant application. I’ve found that 2 hours per double-spaced page allows me to complete the narrative, abstract, all SF 424 forms, work with the client on the budget, edit the budget narrative, create attachments (MOUs/MOAs, logic model, bio sketches,etc.), and any other tasks necessary to get the application ready to go.”

I have tried this out for several years and it works like a charm for me.

 

Number Two: Know who you are working with

The biggest key determinant in how a grant process goes along is how easy a client is to work with. These days everyone is busy and getting a grant prepared often takes a lot of extra work on many people’s behalves. Everyone starts out with good intentions but along the way you may end up doing a lot more work than you bargained for.

Number Three: Good fences make good neighbors

Given that, whenever I am working with a brand new client I will increase my initial quote by 20% and tell them that it is high because they are an unknown entity. I tell them that if they are responsive, helpful, and provide what I need on time, then the process will do smoothly and I will not charge them the full estimate. However, if they aren’t then I have a cushion and don’t feel resentment if things go awry.

When I do charge on an hourly basis, I have a sentence in my contract that says the client shall deliver requested materials within 24 hours of my request. If the client fails to deliver the requested materials within that time, my recorded hours will be multiplied by 1.5.

I also tell clients that I do not work on weekends and that I do not work in the evenings…and I don’t.

Now, these might sound a little hardball to you, but I can only do my best work when my needs are taken care of. And when I do my best work, I take care of the needs of many people in our communities. So, all of these conditions make for really happy client relationships for me and by extension the people that I serve through my work.

On several occasions, I have not charged a new client my full initial estimate because they were easy and fun to work with and their team was responsive and professional. And on a couple of occasions, I was really, really glad that I had built in a cushion.

Only once, have I actually charged extra on an hourly contract when a client wasn’t responsive – they didn’t object because they knew that they had let the ball drop and that I had picked it up and run anyway. I also did tell them that they could expect a higher bill so that it wasn’t a surprise.

And, on the issue of working evenings and weekends, I have found clients to be remarkably respectful. Only on a couple of occasions has someone asked me to work on the weekend and they have done so with the acknowledgement that it was in extraordinary circumstances (severe illness and a family’s member’s death in the team) and so I was happy to accommodate them.

I hope that these practices and tools are useful to you in developing healthy, harmonious and respectful relationships with your clients in 2015.

 

MORE GIFTS

As always, my book is always available on a gift basis.

And, I’m also offering 30 minute introductory session with me for people who are interesting in Grant Coaching. Don’t worry  it is not a sales pitch – it is an opportunity for me to answer your questions and to get to know each other.

And finally, if you are looking for the perfect experiential gift for the person who has everything, consider giving an Insight Session with me. I’ve just been doing some interviews with clients and a couple of words keep cropping up – mind-blowing and life-changing.  One person said

I am a social scientist with an Ivy league Ph.D. and a skeptic at heart.
 
My session with Jana was mind-blowing. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind as to her abilities.
 
It was one of the most healing, joyful hours of my life.

If you’re intrigued check it out.

Please pass along the 2014 Grant Professionals Gifts to anyone who could find value from this post and the other posts in Link Party.

I wish you all a warm and joyous season of giving and receiving!

 

Jana

Apr
10

Making Information Beautiful

Posted by: | Comments (1)

Once upon a time, proposals used to be straight text with maybe a chart or two. Then we got the capacity to insert artwork and photos and they became much more appealing. And now, we have some neat internet sites than can help to present information beautifully.

Infographics are a way to display complex data and make them visually appealing and quickly understood.  They are the perfect addition to a proposal because they convey a lot of information in reasonably small space and are memorable. Done well, they tell a story.  Here’s a good example, that explains what they are and why they are important. Read More→

Sep
28

The Power of Projection

Posted by: | Comments (0)

I have a short blog post this week. But, as all writer’s know, short can be more powerful than long.

I interviewed Gail Widner for my book and she shared this trick. When she is working with a group, she projects the draft onto the wall as they go through it together. She said that it works well when they are editing for ideas and moving concepts around but not for smaller word-level editing. I have yet to try it, but it sounds like a wonderful tactic.

It has been a long time coming but my book Grant Writing Revealed: 25 Experts Share Their Art, Science, and Secrets is now available on a gift basis.

It seems quite fitting that after almost two years of writing and editing, the book is finally ready to go out and start serving the world on International Day of Peace. Apple is doing their bit by launching the iPhone5, I’m doing mine.

About The Book

I interviewed 25 of America’s top grant writing experts who collectively have raised $1.7 billion dollars during their careers, writing 24,000 grant proposals over 400 years. I looked for their secrets to success, what makes them tick and the things they absolutely avoid doing and distilled their process down to 24 essential elements. Each element is like a link a chain and top grant writers consistently attend to all the links in the chain. It’s a holistic view of the process that recognizes success as the result of many inter-related parts working in harmony.

Grant Self-Assessment Quiz

There’s also a companion online self-assessment quiz designed to help you identify the weak links in your grant development process chain. I hope that you use the results to help you focus your professional development time and improve your success rate so that your organization is a vibrant channel of community empowerment and healing.

Why it’s a Gift

The book is openly available on www.grantwritingrevealed.com as my gift to the community. I invite you to reciprocate by paying it forward – helping a friend, colleague, neighbor, the earth, donating to charity – or reciprocating to me, and then to come back to my website to share how you kept the gift in flow. Or, you can invite your supporters to participate in keeping it in flow as a way of supporting your organization.

It is not an act of charity on my part but more gratefulness for the gift of life and recognition of our sacred interdependence. Our economy is changing and this is my attempt to create another reality worthy of our children’s future. The paperback version is also available on Amazon for purchase.

Testimonials

“This book is a must have for your grants library!”

— Gail Vertz, GPC, former Chief Executive Officer, Grant Professionals Association

“In this thought-provoking book, Jana beautifully expresses the humanity and spirituality of grantwriting. It is not a checklist of steps to follow but a call for deeper relatedness. Jana has a knack for making the interviewees come alive, so in the end it doesn’t feel like you’ve just read a “how-to” book so much as it feels like you have been sitting in a room with this group of fundraising veterans listening to them share their secrets.”

— Lynne Twist, bestselling author of The Soul of Money, Founder and President of the Soul of Money Institute

“This book is the ‘Open Sesame’ of grant writing’s hidden little secrets to successful proposals. Jana Hexter has unlocked the door to show how grant writing is an art form and a science.”

–Donald A. Griesmann, ret’d Episcopal clergy and legal services lawyer, virtual volunteer with grant announcements via Twitter

I hope that you’ll check it out, share it widely with your community as a resource, and let me know how you use it to make a difference.

Peace to you and your family on International Day of Peace.

Aug
29

Interesting Grant Resource

Posted by: | Comments (0)

This week is a quiet week and I’m sure that many of you are off with your families enjoying the last wisps of summer. So, instead of writing a long post I’m going to recommend a great resource that you may not have heard about.

The Grant Professionals Certification Institute has an excellent literature review created by Michael Wells, GPC, CFRE, MA. It includes a summary of how the profession has grown and changed and an excellent list of books and resources about the field broken into to subcategories such as Writing Style, Federal Grants, Grants Management, Funder Perspectives etc.. It’s certainly not beach reading for the long weekend but if you haven’t perused this resource, it’s definitely worth a look. You can find it here.

I wish you and your family a lovely long holiday weekend.