If you have ever written any type of bid, request for proposal (RFPs), or grant proposal, you clearly understand how important time management is to successful preparation and submission of proposals.
Proposal preparation and time management are linked together like a hand in glove for a variety of reasons. This include:
Most people underestimate the time it takes to prepare grant proposals and technical RFP's. Failing to do so will often have negative results. Here are a few tips to ensure your time doesn't slip right out of your hands during proposal preparation phases:
You can make minor modifications to your application process to reduce your chances of losing track of time. Time is valuable. Once it's gone you can get it back, so use it wisely.
Are you a teacher or educator employed by a public school or charter school or maybe even a member of the Parent-Teacher Association in need of school resources for teachers? Are you tired of dipping into your own wallet to buy school supplies for students and not being reimbursed? Would you like to go on field trips to enhance learning, but you school doesn't have the resources to do this? Are you serving a financially strapped parent population?
Watch this video with great tips on how teachers can write grants to locate money for all sorts of projects and student/school needs:
P.S. Check out the first comment! I provide several helpful leads for your grant writing journey.
Get Grant Ready finally has a youtube channel. We will have weekly videos discussing a variety of topics related to nonprofit grant readiness. Check out the video below to learn more about the purpose of the channel. Don't forget to subscribe and share.
Are you a founder of a new nonprofit organization? Tired of struggling?
Does your newly formed nonprofit organization have board turnover issues?
Do you need help, but don't know where to turn?
Are you spending your own money supporting a nonprofit organization because you are unable to generate the revenues necessary to sustain it?
Is the new nonprofit you created not exactly growing the way you anticipated?
Is you nonprofit incorporation age between 2 months old and 2.5 years?
Well, we have a workshop for you!
Attend the Online Get Grant Ready Capacity-Building for Start-Up Nonprofits Workshop (Live) on February 6th, 2018, 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Workshop Description: The Get Grant Ready Capacity-Building Workshop for Start-Up Nonprofit Organizations is designed to help struggling nonprofits out of the rut many find themselves in during the initial phases of nonprofit incorporation life cycles. The workshop will focus on a small yet fruitful development hierarchy consisting of:
This 4-hour workshop is specifically designed for newly formed nonprofit organizations ages 2 months of nonprofit incorporation to 3 years of nonprofit incorporation.
Cost: $30.00 per participant.
Date: February 5, 2018
Time: 10:00 am -2:00 p.m. (EST)
Don't let the low-cost fool you! We completely understand how financial resources drastically impacts a small nonprofits ability to grow, which is why the cost of this workshop is so reasonable. We provide only high quality information and content. No gimmicks, no schemes, no gotchas at the end! This workshop will help grow your baby charity into a strong, reliable, and resourceful community staple.
Workshop Audiences: Founders, CEOs and Presidents, board members, community groups, volunteer nonprofit staff, newly formed nonprofit organizations and their volunteer staff, newly designated 501 c 3's, state incorporated nonprofits, and anyone interested in starting a nonprofit but has not done so currently.
For more information and to register, visit: http://events.eventzilla.net/e/get-grant-ready--capacitybuilding-for--2138945446
Commentary: before you donate, investigate
by Nikki Kirk
How many times have you donated items to your favorite national charity for to help the needy while getting the tax deduction? I know I have many times. As a consultant and a grant writer, often times I must conduct research on foundation and even nonprofits seeking my assistance. This research consists of reviewing 990's and other financial information to determine how funds are managed, spent, missions, etc. Most times, things are on the up and up. Every now and then, I'll get a few individuals that aren't on the up and up and I'll have to call them on it.
Sometimes in my research I also discover some charities have what in my opinion are less than charitable intentions. In short, they are top heavy (administrative salaries and expenses), with little trickling down to hardworking employees on the ground handling day-to-day operations, and the people they are charged to service.
I recently read a story about such a case on the Nonprofit Quarterly's website titled "The Wages of Sin." The story details how the Goodwill revamped itself to become this huge, profitable money making charity. It's top administrators were compensated so much, and it was so profitable after an investigation, the city decided to revoke it's exemption status. I am all for having a sustainable nonprofit, and fair wages, but at what expense? Donors give to the agency not because they want officials to have six-figure salaries, but because they want to do go. Donors believe in the mission, and all the hype sold to them in the commercials and billboard on the charity's "good deeds."
I personally stopped shopping at the Goodwill long ago once I saw how expensive some of their restore and thrift store items were. I was appalled at how much they would charge for items that were GIVEN to them to help retrain individuals and assist the less fortunate in a variety of ways. Then I started following the money.
I started seeing them apply for all sorts of grants (including large federal grants) that were way out of the scope of their mission which led me to suspect they were being a little greedy. Then I noticed how little they actually partnered and produced in some communities. They were this huge organization, with a huge building, a huge presence, and a huge donor base, yet no one seemed to questions their outputs or their results. They had successfully fleeced the people. At first I was angry. But this is America, where capitalism reigns. Can't be mad at the business people that had come in and made the organization "profitable." But the larger scheme of things............we are watching people who are the top basking in the glow of community ignorance.
As donors, we need to be more vigilant about our donations and our dollars Ask questions, read reports, and follow your gut. If you go to a thrift store, and prices are darn near Walmart of other stores that sell similar merchandise, then you should reconsider patronizing these establishments. Read the Nonprofit Quarterly's article "The Wages of Sin," and feel free to share your thoughts below. And remember, investigate before you donate to local and national charities.
Article Link: https://nonprofitquarterly.org/2017/06/15/wages-nonprofit-sin/
Funding opportunities to feed the elderly
Innovations in Nutrition Programs and Services
The Department of Health and Human Services-Administration for Community Living (ACL)
Funding will support innovative and promising practices that move the aging network towards evidenced based practices that enhance the quality, effectiveness of nutrition services programs or outcomes within the aging services network.
Innovation can include service products that appeal to caregivers (such as web-based ordering systems and carryout food products), increased involvement of volunteers (such as retired chefs), consideration of eating habits and choice (such as variable meal times, salad bars, or more fresh fruits and vegetables), new service models (testing variations and hybrid strategies) and other innovations to better serve a generation of consumers whose needs and preferences are different.
For more information, visit: https://www.acl.gov/grants/innovations-nutrition-programs-and-services
It's been a while, but I am a back! I had life happen, so I took some time off to handle things, take on some outside projects, and regroup. Taking time off doesn't mean I haven't had my ear to the streets and my eyes on the forthcoming trends.
As I've discussed in previous blog posts, each President has his own priorities (I use the term "his" because we here in the U.S have never had a woman President for those who take issue with the use of the term). His intention for the people, regardless of their socioeconomic status are clearly stated by his proposed budget. This President is no different, except his proposed budget cuts so deep into social, educational, and economic development programs that initiatives would cripple man of the good works small, rural, urban, and even some large metropolitan areas have worked so hard developing. The proposed social service programing cuts would starve many women, men, children, and seniors.
Many of the proposed educational programs would hurt poor youth, and place college out of reach for potential first generation college students. Many youth would be forced to join the military to survive, as it would be one of the sure employers for at least 4-10 years.
Now, don't get me wrong, I am not saying we don't need drastic cuts, or we need to make some concessions to make a comeback. I am fully aware that during hard times, we need to tighten our government purse strings in the same way we would do in our homes. But we can't villainize the less fortunate, the poor, the unemployed, the under-employed and communities. Nor can we give a free pass to the politicians that have made policies, signed trade acts, and created laws that have made it nearly impossible for citizens of this nation to dig their ways out of poverty and hopelessness. It's a really strange time here in this nation.
Having seen the current President's moral agenda (the budget), organizational leaders and fundraising staff should be prepared for the worst (sooner than later). Even though the budget hasn't been passed, nor has it been debated, assume some of his propositions will be passed. We don't know which ones, but there were be some. Your agencies should be preparing contingency plans, creating fundraising plans to fill in gaps, or consider developing program/project/organizational ceasing operation plans. The best advice I can give for NP's is to be proactive rather than reactive. Don't let the proposed cuts and program eliminations happen without you having a plan in place.
Lastly, please, please, PLEASE read the proposed federal budgets for yourself. Stop watching the news, getting caught up in all of the sensationalism and hype. Know whether budgets have passed or it is simply a proposal. Call your Congressional Representatives to discuss budget cuts that may impact your community. Call, visit (advocate), and/or write (leave that paper trail) your representatives making your gripes, needs, and petitions known. If your work, your job, and your community will be impacted negatively in the President's proposed budget, speak now...................OR FOREVER HOLD YOUR PEACE! Speak for the voiceless, they are depending on you. Arm yourselves with knowledge, to prepare for your community's future.
Have a great holiday weekend!
Please find President Trump's entire 2018 proposed budget here, or copy and paste the link below into your web browser:
HRSA is currently seeking new and experienced grant reviewers. As a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Grant Reviewer to provide ethical and unbiased objective reviews of eligible discretionary grant applications. Reviewing grant application is THE BEST way to learn how to write comprehensive and informative grant proposals. Reviewers also receive an honoraria (compensation) for their time.
If you are interested in reviewing federal grant proposals for HRSA, Please visit the Reviewer Recruitment Module to enroll. For additional questions, please email RRMTechAssistance@hrsa.gov.
New year, new focus, new audiences. Get Grant Ready has some great new! I'm gearing up for an exciting new year. I've been busy over the past year. I've trained nationally hundreds of individuals with a former partner, written and published my first book titled "Simple Grant Research," written grants, consulted on a number of new and existing projects, and I'm currently working on a very large federal grant application. It's time to get back to my most favorite work of all, the training in 2017...........I'm coming to a city (or a computer) near you.
In the coming weeks we will announce a number of new training topics, tools, and methods for a variety of specific audiences. We will also offer mini webinars for those unable to travel to on-site trainings. Stay tuned for more info in the coming weeks. I thank you for your patience as we retool to offer customers training and material that they want and need.
Kirk's Consulting Services and Get Grant Ready will host our first law enforcement only grant writing & research training of 2016 in Montgomery, Alabama, February 15-16, 2016 at the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Training Facility, 6900 Janet Warner Road, Montgomery, Alabama. This training is hosted by Sheriff Derrick Cunningham and the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office. The cost of this training is $395 per person.
This interactive 2-day advanced federal grant writing workshop teaches law enforcement agencies (LEAs) how to: find and comprehend federal funding opportunities, develop strong federal grant proposals and budgets, online submission processes, how to conduct research in preparation for grant development activities, and much more. The workshop is taught from a federal grant reviewer's (funder's) perspective. This informative opportunity is specifically designed for law enforcement agencies, regardless of size or jurisdiction. Due to the sensitive nature of topics to be discussed and needs potentially addressed, only LEAs are able to register for this event. State and local law enforcement agencies, local police, state police, special jurisdiction police, and deputy sheriffs are encouraged to attend.
Registration is required, seating is limited. To register for this event, please click on the link below:
Nonprofits are unique entities. Kind of like a wild, wild, west of sorts. There are very few rules, no instruction booklet on how things should go. There is no "one size fits all" approach. Each nonprofit must figure out its own way, based on the community it serves. These nonprofits must figure out how to operate, how to hire and retain good talent, and most importantly, how to sustain themselves. The vast differences in how funds are secured, how funds are reserved, and how some nonprofits have more than enough even though, while some well meaning, well-deserving nonprofits get crumbs if that really disturbs me.
As a visionary, grant writer, and capacity-building consultant, I have the unique ability and pleasure of seeing nonprofit pathways as well as their potential pitfalls. I have wonderful opportunities to professionally advise, share personal experiences, war stories, and the likes with my clients (and prospective clients). I am always amazed how different each client is, and how hard they work for the betterment of mankind. What is always frustrating to me though, is coming across young organizations, or not so young organizations that have failed to develop a plan to diversify their revenue streams. Nothing saddens me more to see an organization with all the untapped fundraising potential in the world failing to put the boots on the ground and go to battle. They kind of live year to year, with no real plan for the "what if" bumps in the road that nonprofits tend to have. It's sad and unfortunate, but not hopeless.
Nonprofits boards and executives that REFUSE to take the time to sit down and develop a nonprofit funding model to raise money for the charity of choice MAKES NO CENTS (or sense). Taking the time to develop an organizational fundraising is not only good business, but it's an obligation. If your organization isn't prepared for hard times, a down turn in the economy, another war, a government shut down, a community tragedy, or a cease in financial support from your largest donor, you are doing it all wrong. You can not survive with out funding diversification. Diversification includes:
Spend time strategically planning how to diversify your organizations resources. Failing to do so increases the likelihood of future hardships. Whatever could go wrong eventually will. Don't allow your fear or inexperience in fundraising eventually cause the organization you love so dearly to cease operating. Plan to diversify revenue as soon as possible. It's the only thing that makes cents!
It's Spring. The birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming, and funders are releasing request for funding announcements (RFP's) and funding opportunity announcements (FOA's). Although funders release these announcements year round, Spring time is when a large portion of public funders release announcements seeking applications for funding.
Since it's that time of the year, it's also time to start getting things in order for the proposal submission process. A few housekeeping items need to be checked before deciding whether or not to submit grant applications. The following is a brief checklist, some things to consider with reasoning (from a grant reviewers perspective of course):
Take the time to ensure all of your I's are dotted, and T's are crossed. Doing so makes grant proposal preparation much easier, decreases stress levels, and ensures there are no last minute, heart-breaking moments. A little preparation now can can pay off big in the end. Happy spring cleaning!!!
If you are here................let me congratulate you. You're admitting you may have a problem, or perhaps you're being proactive and preparing to begin the grant proposal submission phase. Whatever the reason, you have decided to prepare your organization for this new phase in the nonprofit funds development realm. You know there are grants out there (or so you've heard). You think you are ready to apply for them, but you don't know where to start. Have no fear...........Get Grant Ready is here to assist you.
Now, let me say this is not always an easy process. It can be quite time consuming considering how the entity. It may be a lonely road, the preparation phase for some organizations may consist of many strategic planning sessions and board meetings. It may consist of formally writing program/project visions down in writing and developing budgets for each. It may consist of forecasting. It may consist of recruiting talented and/or impassioned individuals to assist with development phase. There is work to be done in grant readiness. Hard work. I applaud your efforts and due diligence in seeking to attain knowledge and supports enabling your charity and its efforts to be successful. No one wants to work with anything dead, people love lively vibrant things that work well. You being here is a sign that you are ready for change, and ready for success.
My final thought is this. You can measure success, but you can't compare success. Your small nonprofit, or newly formed nonprofit, may not have the same success (financial success) as some of the older and larger nonprofits in your area. Every nonprofit organization had to "start" from the beginning in the same manner. They may have different causes, different, missions, different focuses, different financial needs, different supports, different advisers, but the one thing that is certain is that they all started from the same place. No one ever talks about the ugly, hard, frustrating beginning. People tend to jump right to the middle, where the evidence of the tangibles are present. Missing are the blood, sweat, and tears conjured up to get to the middle and the NOW. With that said, don't look at your financial situation and another older, more established and financial stable charity/nonprofit.
Use this grant readiness to checklist to assess your organization's readiness. Feel free to post questions. I promise to respond. It doesn't have to be a lonely road. You'll never be successful in securing grants if you haven't done the work. Grant Readiness is as important as your nonprofit's bylaws and incorporation documentation. It illustrates to funders, you're compliant. It tells them that you know the rules of engagement, and you are serious and capable of managing their gift in a manner that is pleasing to them and the target audience for which you exist to serve. Again, congratulations on your endeavors, and I look forward to sharing ways to make your grant writing and grant seeking efforts more fruitful.
Kirk's Consulting Services Grant Readiness Checklist:
About the Author:
Nikki Kirk has over 12 years of experience in management, grant writing, nonprofit program development, community economic development, and nonprofit management consulting.