Archive for Values

I struggle as much as anyone else to get stuff done sometimes, especially when the weather is gorgeous, summer is short in the wooly north, and the woods beckon with their beauty.

And, I also have the capacity to sit down and churn out 70-page grant proposals within days/weeks. In my experience it’s easier to be productive when you have a hard grant deadline because you have no choice (other than guaranteed failure) to put butt in chair and write.

But when your program isn’t crying out for cash right now AND it’s demanding your time and attention in a gazillion other ways, it’s easy to deal with the day to day emergencies and put off that yucky grant that you don’t really want to do anyway or aren’t sure you’ll win even if you do give it your time and attention (yup, I do know what goes inside your head my friend).

Trick One

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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→

Recently, someone asked me to review a couple of their grants that were almost, but not quite, funded. I took a look and sure enough they were well-written but there were a few tweaks that could really help them stand above the crowd. The first one being….space. Read More→


Renewing Your Vows

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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→

Last Thanksgiving a drunk driver slammed into my mailbox, knocked it off its post, and left it pummeled and dented on the ground. My neighbor’s box was knocked off its post too. Of course, I was ticked off and took a moment to vent….and then I ordered a new mailbox.

The thought of installing it was a bit daunting because I’m not that handy. But, the instructions said it was easy so I figured I’d give it a shot. I waited for a mild winter’s day and set out there with my new mailbox and a few tools.

As I was working my neighbor came out and asked if I could help her with her mailbox. She soon realized that I was as clueless as her. But she ran back in her house and bought out her heavy duty drill. Pretty soon we were having loads of fun figuring out just how the heck mailboxes were affixed to posts and getting to know each other.

My neighbor runs a bed and breakfast and is an aesthete. While I was tackling the screws she said, “You know, I’ve got some hangers in my basement, we could hang them off the posts for packages” and off she ran back into her house to get them. Then we realized that they would make great plant hangers and so we hung a couple off the nearby utility pole.

An hour after we started, we had two resurrected mailboxes, a new friendship, and a place for some pretty flowers come springtime.

Beauty Realized

As I walked back into the house, I was buoyed up and thought about what this had to teach me about grant writing (as I am wont to do J). Read More→