Archive for Relationship building


A couple of months ago, I let you know that I had space in my calendar for a new client and I had a really interesting project turn up that I wanted to tell you about.

I got a call from a lovely lady, let’s call her Shana, who works in a low income community that often ranks the lowest in the state for many health indicators. The community has a remarkably strong history of collaboration and as a result there is an active and strong coalition of non-profits who are working together to improve the health and well-being of the community.  They have great programs, trusting relationships, vision and passion. They have won a couple of large foundation grants but have scored a couple of points shy of the cut-off on several key government grants. Read More→


Renewing Your Vows

Posted by: | Comments (6)

This is a second post in a new and exciting partnership – a Linky Party – with esteemed grant writers from across the country, including Diane Leonard, Jo Miller, Heather Stombaugh and Mark Whitacre. We all hail from northern climes and we’re all stir crazy at the first signs of Spring after this brutally cold winter…so that’s our theme – Spring, renewal, revitalization, refreshing. I’m not a religious person but after this winter in Upstate New York all I can say is Hallelujah!.  Click on the links throughout this article to read their perspectives on refreshing your approach to grant writing.

“The voice within is what I’m married to.
All marriage is a metaphor for that marriage.
My lover is the place inside me where an honest yes and no come from.
That’s my true partner. It’s always there.
And to tell you yes when my integrity says no is to divorce that partner.”

~ Byron Katie ~

Spring….thoughts of April showers, May flowers, June weddings…and if you’re a grant writer… incessant deadlines. I submitted a grant last week, a concept paper goes in tomorrow, and I’m working on a big federal grant due in May. It’s grant season.

And last night I broke my own rule and worked until 9pm. It is all too easy to push ourselves, work late, not eat properly, forgo exercise, and ignore that thing called a weekend. Before you know it you haven’t had a day off in 3 months, missed several of your kids school events, and feel gut-wrenching guilt that you haven’t been spending time with your spouse, parents, or children. And forget friendships…haven’t seen a friend outside of work in months. Sound familiar? If you’re a successful grant developer, this time of year, I bet it is. Jo Miller’s article gives some suggestions about how to get out and connect more…something that is challenging for many grant writers this time of year.

And if you’re looking for a little how-to inspiration, Heather Stombaugh has some killer suggestions for spicing up copy that, as she says, will add musicality to  your writing. We can all do with a little more music in life, eh.

And if you’re not in that place and feeling a normal level of frazzle, I hope that this article plants some seeds that will beautify your path through life. Diane Leonard shares some tips in her article about planting seeds that will bear fruit in grant writing and tending to those you already sowed.  And Mark Whitacre’s creative juices are flowing… he has some really creative suggestions about how to refocus a grant search to fund a project that you haven’t found a sponsor for yet.

Regardless of where you are right now, we grantwriters have a problem.

We’re nice. Read More→


We love our funders but

Posted by: | Comments (2)

This is our first blog in a new and exciting partnership – a Linky Party – with esteemed grant writers from across the country, including Diane Leonard, Jo Miller, Heather Stombaugh and Mark Whitacre. For our first party, we chose a Valentine’s Day theme…relationships with funders with the title We Love Our Funders But……Click on the links throughout this article to read their fascinating and educational perspectives on this subject. Look for more Linky Party articles in the future!

We all goof up. I’ve been doing it quite a lot recently because I’m shopping for a new car which is new territory for me and so I’m feeling my way through. So I expect to make some mistakes as I figure things out and am being gentle with myself.

But funders don’t cut us that much slack and it can sting.

I once had a government funder refuse to review our application because I had missed one of 16 signatures back in the day when we signed all the forms. I’m sure you’ve had similar experiences. Its utterly gut wrenching to spend weeks or months on a multi-million dollar application and then have it summarily rejected because of a minor technical error. But they make the rules and we get to play the game.

But what about when a funder makes a mistake? Read More→

Photo: Gift of Jack Leishman, Ashland, OR

Dare to love yourself..
As if you were a rainbow..
With gold at both ends.
~ Aberjhani

I learned something new yesterday. At 46, that doesn’t happen every day so I thought I’d share it. Read More→

Photo: Gift of Jack Leishman, OR

The world is holy. We are holy. All life is holy. Daily prayers are delivered on the lips of breaking waves, the whisperings of grasses, the shimmering of leaves.
– Terry Tempest Williams

And on lips when we speak with collaborative partners…..

Most big funders prefer to fund collaborations knowing that often produce better results and give them more bang for their buck.

But building and sustaining collaborations is an art form. I interviewed Dory Rand for my book and she has helped foster many successful coalitions so I asked her about what it takes to do it well. Read More→