Grant writing is not a solo sport. But it can sure feel that way for many grant professionals.
It’s true that writing comes easier in silent spaces—at least for my introverted self. Those unfamiliar with how grant development really works may think that all grant professionals need is a quiet corner to tap away, staring at their monitors.
But to get the complete picture of how grant development works, and to gain a deeper understanding of the integral role that grant professionals can play in the overall sustainability of the organization, think about pie.
Grant Work is Like Pie
Pumpkin pie, pecan pie, apple pie, pizza pie…you pick. Imagine looking down on a freshly baked pie of your choice, cooling on the counter. Tendrils of scented steam curl across your face. Before you start drooling on the keyboard, take a moment to consider this: if all of grant development formed a pie, only about 20% of that would include the actual writing.
Researching and presenting funding opportunities, gathering program and demographic data, interviewing subject matter and program experts, requesting financial documents and other required attachments, and finalizing budgets would easily fill 80% of the grant development pie.
That active 80% effort provides grant pros with an overall organizational perspective that few other team members may possess in nonprofits and local government agencies. Compiling and synthesizing extensive needs-based data, program design and evaluation, and multiple budgets and other financial documents can yield powerful insights toward overall strategy and sustainability.
The Corner is No Place for a Strategic Grant Professional
But how do you get out of that grant writing corner? Or maybe the better question would be: why would you (or Baby for that matter) want to get out of the corner?
Because you could play an important role in helping your agency do a better job for the communities served.
Educating up on the most common elements in a grant proposal (need statements, objectives, outcomes, and the dreaded sustainability questions) can drive useful discussions on funding priorities, program direction, and longer-term planning.
Need some encouragement to get out of the corner and on to the dance floor? Consider reaching out to other grant professionals and getting their advice. Organizations such as the Grant Professionals Association, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and the National Grant Management Association feature structured open forums for members.
Join the Fundraising HayDay Book Club
Or give the Fundraising HayDay Book Club a try in 2024. Sign up for the waitlist here.
We are building an informal network of grant pros who love books. Alternating fiction and non-fiction starting in January 2024, the Fundraising HayDay Book club monthly Zoom meetings could spark some grant pro connections. No judgment if you want to read each book in a quiet corner while eating pie.
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