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10/31/08
HOW TO RECRUIT, INTERVIEW, SELECT, USE, AND ABUSE, A GRANT WRITER - PART FIVE
Filed under: GENERAL
Posted by: Jon @ 5:48 am

Another question to ask yourself about a grant writing candidate: Did we ask for, review and check out their samples?

Make sure you review the candidate’s writing samples BEFORE the interview, not after. This will allow you ample time to review them and prepare specific questions. Also make sure that the candidate gives you a name and phone number to call from someone who worked with them on each sample so you can call about each sample and verify what contribution they made to the final product. Ask for a variety of samples that encompass a variety of budgets and a variety of different subjects. Also, if they have writing samples of materials other than proposals (e.g., articles, brochures, etc.) ask to review those.

Be warned though: there will be some grant writers, including me in some cases, who may ask for the professional courtesy that you only review the samples there in the interview. That is because there are some unscrupulous creeps out there who will copy a great grant that they know is a winner, use the research and wording for their own purposes with no intention of ever hiring the writer. In that case, you will need to allot more time for that writer’s interview slot. And you will still need to check references on those projects and can till do that before the interview.

Any grant writer who says they wrote a grant all by themselves is — to steal a phrase from screenwriter William Goldman — either lying or trying to sell you something.

In my next posting we’ll get into the interview and good questions to ask. Meanwhile, for more about how a grant writer should work as part of a planning team for your grant proposal, please read my new book, RIGHT BEFORE YOU WRITE: THE GROUNDBREAKING PROCESS USED TO WIN MORE THAN $385 MILLION IN COMPETITIVE GRANT FUNDS. Go to www.SandyPointInk.com.

32477 comments
10/30/08
HOW TO RECRUIT, INTERVIEW, SELECT, USE, AND ABUSE, A GRANT WRITER - PART FOUR
Filed under: GENERAL
Posted by: Jon @ 5:47 am

Another question to ask yourself about a grant writing candidate: Are they going to adjust their schedule to meet yours or will you have to adjust your schedule to meet theirs’?

Ask about their schedule - if they try to fit your project into their neat little time compartments - forget it. What you want to hear is that they would like to get the assignment far enough in advance so they can begin working on it sooner and avoid a last minute crush - but they also have to recognize that there is ALWAYS a last minute rush of some sort. And that they will reserve the time to exclusively work on your project as the deadline nears.
However, don’t get cold feet if they schedule several projects at the same time. It is not uncommon for a great grant writer to be working on three or even four different projects that have approximately the same due date. Personally, my record is working on seven different projects that were all due on the same day. And I have the gray hair and nervous twitch to prove it.

But what you need to hear is that as the deadline nears, the bottom line is that the writer will do whatever it takes to get it done. They have to be in a place where they can adjust their schedule accordingly.

More about this in my next posting. Meanwhile, for more about how a grant writer should work as part of a planning team for your grant proposal, please read my new book, RIGHT BEFORE YOU WRITE: THE GROUNDBREAKING PROCESS USED TO WIN MORE THAN $385 MILLION IN COMPETITIVE GRANT FUNDS. Go to www.SandyPointInk.com.

3425 comments
10/29/08
HOW TO RECRUIT, INTERVIEW, SELECT, USE, AND ABUSE, A GRANT WRITER - PART THREE
Filed under: GENERAL
Posted by: Jon @ 5:46 am

Another question to ask yourself about a grant writing candidate: Does our grant writer candidate have a diversity of experience, both in their writing, the subjects they deal with and in the populations they deal with?

Ideally, your candidate will have expertise in one or two areas and a wealth of experience in a lot of other areas.

Do they have experience writing in other disciplines and in other styles and are samples of those writings professional, polished, clear, effective? Does your candidate have any sales experience or experience writing sales or marketing materials? This is important because a proposal is part technical writing, part descriptive writing, part research document and part sales tool. Does your candidate have experience running meetings? Running a program? Does the writer candidate have any experience or education in other disciplines that could contribute to the writing of your grant? For example, a candidate who worked as a substitute teacher might have some insight into an educational grant that others would not. Does the candidate work exclusively with one population or can they demonstrate an ability to ascertain and address the needs of a broad spectrum of target populations.

More about this in my next posting. Meanwhile, for more about how a grant writer should work as part of a planning team for your grant proposal, please read my new book, RIGHT BEFORE YOU WRITE: THE GROUNDBREAKING PROCESS USED TO WIN MORE THAN $385 MILLION IN COMPETITIVE GRANT FUNDS. Go to www.SandyPointInk.com.

3344 comments
10/28/08
HOW TO RECRUIT, INTERVIEW, SELECT, USE, AND ABUSE, A GRANT WRITER - PART TWO
Filed under: GRANT WRITING
Posted by: Jon @ 5:45 am

How can we hire a top-of-the-list grant writer within our limited budget?

To write the best proposal possible, will take the best writer you can find. Good grant writers command a pretty decent hourly rate or flat fee.

So your first question about looking for a good grant writer candidate is probably: How can we hire a top-of-the-list grant writer within our limited budget?

First, as you are well aware now, grant writers love an underdog. And maybe, in addition to your clientele, your own agency is a bit of an underdog: that is, is determined to succeed despite the tremendous odds against you. So if your cause is good, if the bottom line is delivering the best possible human service and not personal gain or ego fulfillment, and if you breathe life by living example into the quote about having the mental fortitude to do the job and take the job seriously, but yourself not too seriously, then you are not out of the running.

Second, most great grant writers I know donate many hours a year (gratis and at reduced rates) to help underdogs with a good cause.

Third, astute grant writers know that if your cause is good and your staff is good and the grant is good — that equals success. Success means that you grow as an agency. Growth means needing and winning more grants. That means that if you’re loyal, and you should be, there will be more work for the grant writer down the road.

Fourth, you can also get several great grants out of a writer for the price of one. You can hire the best to write one grant and then use their words and research as boilerplate for future grants that you write. While we of course caution you not just to cut and paste but to adapt their words to the specific needs of each grant, at least you will have a solid, professional foundation to work from.

Fifth, you can use a great grant writer as an editor, after the first draft. In other words, involve them in the planning and outlining process. Then you and your staff go ahead and do the grunt work, the first words-on-page draft that follows the planned structure. Following that, have the writer come in and do an edit and a polish. This also solves the problem of a writer being willing, but not available, to work full-time on your project.

Finally, don’t be shy about being honest and asking the grant writer directly: “Is there a way we can benefit from your services within the parameters of our limited budget?” With a great grant writer, there is always a way.

More about this in my next posting. Meanwhile, for more about how a grant writer should work as part of a planning team for your grant proposal, please read my new book, RIGHT BEFORE YOU WRITE: THE GROUNDBREAKING PROCESS USED TO WIN MORE THAN $385 MILLION IN COMPETITIVE GRANT FUNDS. Go to www.SandyPointInk.com.

3456 comments
10/27/08
HOW TO RECRUIT, INTERVIEW, SELECT, USE, AND ABUSE, A GRANT WRITER - PART ONE
Filed under: GRANT WRITING
Posted by: Jon @ 5:44 am

A good grant writer/program designer, like a good man (”good man” — is that an oxymoron?) is hard to find. Finding a great one is tougher. Finding an excellent one is the Mother Lode. Why is it so hard to find a great grant writer?

Because there is really is no training ground for grant writers out there. There are no minor leagues. There are very few good grant writing classes. The process of training a grant writer is difficult, expensive and risky.

Astute agencies and programs, once they find a grant writer they can work with and who can win — do what they can to hold onto that grant writer and never let them go and never share them with anyone.

Headhunters and high pay. Because great grant writers are in such high demand the competition to find them and even steal them away from other agencies is fierce. Often times, he who has the best headhunter and the best offer wins.

The issue of compatibility with your staff. You may have found a very talented grant writer with a very impressive winning record, but what if they can’t or won’t work with your staff? What if, forever reason, the chemistry is wrong? What if their working style is drastically different from the working style and philosophy of your agency and its staff? Pretty much you’re out of luck because incompatibility is a sure signpost for failure.

More about this in my next posting. Meanwhile, for more about how a grant writer should work as part of a planning team for your grant proposal, please read my new book, RIGHT BEFORE YOU WRITE: THE GROUNDBREAKING PROCESS USED TO WIN MORE THAN $385 MILLION IN COMPETITIVE GRANT FUNDS. Go to www.SandyPointInk.com.

3441 comments
10/24/08
#5 Helpful Tip For Grant Applicants
Filed under: PROGRAM DESIGN
Posted by: Jon @ 7:19 am

5) ASK NOT WHAT THE FUNDING AGENCY CAN DO FOR YOU BUT WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR THE FUNDING AGENCY

Taken from the “Bill Of Writes” in my new book RIGHT BEFORE YOU WRITE, this is an important concept that 99% of those new to program design don’t understand—nor do 98% of those with some experience. Although, 100% of the time this is the concept that often means the difference between winning and losing. Keep in mind that the funding agency has an overall plan they intend to implement on a larger scale beyond the scope of your local area. They have invested time, resources, expertise and money putting together this gigantic programmatic puzzle of service organizations with one core purpose—to help realize their vision. The goal of your program design and grant application is to become a piece of their puzzle. The funding agency is not interested in how you plan to create and solve your own puzzle. Instead, by applying for funds, your proposal should demonstrate how and where you will help make the funding agency’s vision a reality by making your program a reality.

In no way do I offer up these suggestions as a means to guarantee winning a competitive grant. The final decision is in the hand of the ‘Grant Gods’ and is based on their mission, politics, geography, other funded programs and many other issues. What applicants can control is making their applications more competitive and compelling, and ultimately more fundable in the eyes of the funding agency.

More about this in my new book RIGHT BEFORE YOU WRITE: The Groundbreaking Process Used To Win More Than $385 Million In Competitive Grants.” www.SandyPointInk.com.

4654 comments
10/23/08
Helpful Tips For Grant Applicants #4
Filed under: PROGRAM DESIGN
Posted by: Jon @ 5:14 pm

4) REQUEST SUPPORT FROM A PERSON NOT A PLACE

This tip is relevant to local and foundation grants. Like it or not, who you know, with whom you’ve built relationships, and whom you’ve schmoozed on the funding side plays a key role in the grant-making process. The test for this lies in your cover letter to an application or in your letter that directly requests funding. Is your salutation addressed to a specific person (that’s excellent) or to a group or generic job title (e.g., “Dear Selection Committee)?

More about this in my new book RIGHT BEFORE YOU WRITE: The Groundbreaking Process Used To Win More Than $385 Million In Competitive Grants.” www.SandyPointInk.com.

The fifth of the five most helpful tips I give grant applicants will appear here tomorrow.

3471 comments
10/22/08
Helpful Tip #3 for Grant Applicants
Filed under: PROGRAM DESIGN
Posted by: Jon @ 7:10 am

3) DON’T PLEAD POVERTY OR POSITION YOURSELF AS A VICTOM OF POOR FISCAL FORESIGHT

Too many applicants see grants as a financial band-aid, a quick fix to problems that will replenish funds lost because their existing agency/program experienced unexpected cost overages due to poor management or overwhelming operating expenses. No investor, which is really what a funding agency is, wants to gamble money on an entity that does not know how to manage their money. On the other hand, if the community you serve was recently a victim of an unexpected crisis, then that is extremely fundable. In terms of program design, a crisis is a recent, unforeseen turn of events, setback, or an act of nature experienced by the population served by your agency or program. And, even if your program, agency or community does not have the resources, it needs to immediately address this crisis. Without this crisis, all you will be requesting is funds for current operations or duplicative services, something most grant writers do—and odds are that most applicants don’t win competitive grants.

More about this in my new book RIGHT BEFORE YOU WRITE: The Groundbreaking Process Used To Win More Than $385 Million In Competitive Grants.” www.SandyPointInk.com.

The fourth of the five most helpful tips I give grant applicants will appear here tomorrow.

3674 comments
10/21/08
Helpful Tips For Grant Applicants - Tip #2
Filed under: PROGRAM DESIGN
Posted by: Jon @ 7:08 am

2) COLLABORATE OR DIE!

Ultimately, the process of designing an excellent and fundable program is really the process of building a new, or expanding an existing, collaborative. Too many applicants for grants merely describe what they’re already doing with the same partners they’ve worked with for years. Instead, funders want to hear about new and improved ways applicants plan to collaborate for the specific proposed program they are proposing. And, they’re looking at how each new partner will take the proposed program to the next level.

More about this in my new book RIGHT BEFORE YOU WRITE: The Groundbreaking Process Used To Win More Than $385 Million In Competitive Grants.” www.SandyPointInk.com.

The third of the five most helpful tips I give grant applicants will appear here tomorrow.

3698 comments
10/20/08
Five Most Helpful Tips For Grant Applicants
Filed under: PROGRAM DESIGN
Posted by: Jon @ 6:58 am

On November 15th, more than 125 communities and 50,000 people around the world will participate in National Philanthropy Day® (http://www.nationalphilanthropyday.org/), a special day set aside to recognize and pay tribute to the great contributions that philanthropy – and those people active in the philanthropic community – have made to our community. This year marks the 23rd anniversary of this special day.

While Americans give approximately $300 billion to nonprofits and charitable causes each year, this year’s National Philanthropy Day will also be the springboard for many nervous discussions about how current economic downtrends will negatively impact giving and the ripple effect it will have in the nonprofit sector.

Nonprofits are impacted in four ways.
1. Endowments and foundations that award grants to nonprofits rely on interest compounded from their substantial financial reserves. Depending on the source, annual interested earned by these funds is down 15-30%.
2. Fundraising events rely on individuals writing checks. Who do you know now that is not in recession-mode and cutting back their personal expenditures?
3. Most nonprofits also rely on some form of competitive government grants. Those governmental funding agencies are also looking for places to cut and many intend to cut back on the quantity and amounts of grants they issue.
4. For nonprofits, while trimming back budgets and options is standard operating procedure, the demand for their services is on the increase.

I’m getting three times the usual number of phone calls and emails from both established and upstart nonprofits. And this time they’re not just looking for funding opportunities they are fighting for survival. There is no doubt that the business of giving is going to undergo a systemic shift. Competition for grant funds will be more fiercely competitive. Those who work with and for charities and nonprofits need to be braced to react to those shifts. Here are the five most common tips he gives to those preparing a grant proposal :

1) REMEMBER THAT MOST GRANT PROPOSALS ARE LOST BEFORE THE ACTUAL WRITING BEGINS

Program design – that is, doing your homework about the funding agency and the critical need for the program in your area and then strategically planning a competitive and compelling program – is the first, and most overlooked, step that needs to take place before the actual writing of the grant occurs. This program design process takes a good or above average grant idea and structures it into an excellent program design that wins grant money. Those applying for grants need to retool their gray matter; that is reverse engineer the way they’ve applied for grants in the past. They need to get it right, before they write.

More about this in my new book RIGHT BEFORE YOU WRITE: The Groundbreaking Process Used To Win More Than $385 Million In Competitive Grants.” www.SandyPointInk.com.

The second of the five most helpful tips I give grant applicants will appear here tomorrow.

3252 comments
10/16/08
Abstract Thoughts, Part 4
Filed under: GRANT WRITING
Posted by: Jon @ 12:42 pm

4) THE ABSTRACT SHOULD BE THE LAST PART OF THE PROPOSAL YOU WRITE

The abstract should be one of the very last parts of the proposal that you write. Why? Because it’s a summary of the main points you have already written — not what you intend to write about.

One technique I use to ensure that all the main points are covered is that when we finish the final draft of the entire narrative portion of the proposal we will pull down “SAVE AS” and make a copy that is labeled “ABSTRACT.” Then I go through and delete everything but the main point/s of each section. I’ll also save other pertinent elements such as outcomes, needs research results, catchy phrases, and brief descriptions of certain elements such as a curriculum or a partner agency or an existing program that we intend to fold into our new program.

Now I have an Abstract document that includes all the key points made in the proposal. I also have a document that is formatted the same as the rest of the proposal.

From that, I begin organizing those saved elements, deleting those that are redundant or that I know will have to be removed because of length constraints. By the end of the process, I have whittled down 20-25 pages to one page. This one page is comprised of the same phrases used throughout the entire proposal. This is good because a key factor in persuasive writing is echoing and continually stressing key phrases, or selling points.

Think this is too much trouble? Takes too much time? Saying to yourself, “why bother with all that?”

Remember: By the time the typical grant reader is finished reading your abstract — they are 85% certain whether they are going to recommend your grant or deny it for funding.

3324 comments
10/15/08
Abstract Thoughts, Part 3
Filed under: GRANT WRITING
Posted by: Jon @ 12:36 pm

Can the who, what, where, and how of your proposed program be understood in the first paragragh of your abstract?

Understanding the function of an abstract helps you better understand this question. Many times, the function of an abstract is to make it easy on the decision-makers so they don’t have to go back and re-read your entire proposal to remind themselves what your program is about.

Hopefully you will be fortunate enough to have your grant make it to the final decision process where, for example, the grant makers have narrowed it down to 20 finalists — but only have 12 grants to allot. It’s at this point where: the pros and cons of each program are weighed, similarities are and differences are categorized, geographic location is considered, target population is pinpointed, cost per client is compared, experience and track record of the lead agency is considered. The role of the abstract in this type of meeting is for those decision-makers to have all those facts easily retrievable on one page, at their fingertips.

If at this point your abstract is not clear enough, chances are you lose. These reader/scorers don’t have the time and patience to skim through the reams of facts and figures of your proposal. And c’mon, common sense tells you that a person doling out grant awards is going to lose their faith in you. They’ll think “…the applicant wants us to trust them with hundreds of thousands of dollars and they can’t even get their act together enough to write a friggin’ simple one-page abstract?!

With this in mind, a reader should be able to read the first paragraph and understand:
WHO is the lead agency and the target population served.
WHAT the proposed activities and the desired changes (through-line) are.
WHERE (i.e., community, district, neighborhood) wthe services will be offered and where within that community the services will be offered (i.e., schools, clinics, homes).

Assume that the abstract will be the only part of the proposal — other than the budget — that is carefully reviewed before the decision is made to consider the project further. If that won’t convince you to get every important fact on the first page than nothing will.

Of course, you can only have a good abstract if you have a good program design. Designing a winning grant program is what my new book, RIGHT BEFORE YOU WRITE, is all about (www.SandyPointInk.com).

3650 comments
Abstract Thoughts, Part 2
Filed under: GRANT WRITING
Posted by: Jon @ 12:32 pm

According to one of the forefathers of modern acting, Russian actor and director Constanin Stanislavski, an actor/actress in order to develop continuity in a part needs to find the super objective — or the through line — of a character. That is, what motivates or drives the character during the course of a play? If a tangible goal can be established that the character strives for, than that becomes the single overriding action that all that character’s individual actions serve. Every decision that character makes, and every action the character takes, becomes a through line to achieving the super objective.

For example, a character’s quest in a sports story might be to prove to others that he is not a bum, that he has the grit and guts it takes to be a champion. The through line to every scene is about him overcoming the obstacles and conflict to prove that to himself and others.

Your program and proposal needs a Through Line as well. That is, the super objective your organization wants to achieve. A single overriding quest that every activity, every staff hired, every assessment, every partner, serves.

Let’s use a literacy program as an example. You may introduce the phrase “…empowering the parent/s to become their child’s second teacher…” Well then, that super objective becomes the reason for all activities within that program. Another Through Line might be, “1,000 children, 10,000 books…” meaning that each child and their parents will read 10 books over the course of a year. Then every activity within the program will help achieve the 1/10,000 goal.

Don’t make the reader/scorer guess what your Through Line is. Spell it out for them as soon as possible in the abstract. Having this overall glimpse of where you intend to go with the program will help the reader/scorer fit all the various pieces of your program into place. This Through Line — like those examples above — should be first introduced in the abstract and then resonate throughout your proposal.

More about this can be found in my new book, RIGHT BEFORE YOU WRITE (www.SandyPointInk.com)

3386 comments
10/14/08
Abstract thoughts
Filed under: GRANT WRITING
Posted by: Jon @ 12:26 pm

The next few entries in this blog will be about ABSTRACTS. Why so much importance given to abstracts?

Because, by the time the typical grant reader is finished reading your one-page abstract — they are 85% certain whether they are going to recommend your grant or deny it for funding. This is true, even though most rubrics don’t include the abstract as part of the scoring process. This is true even though most grant writers write their abstract after all is done — almost as an after thought – when their exhausted, cranky, confused and just want to get it over with.

Whether it’s called an Abstract, Executive Summary, Brief Overview, Introduction — it all has the same purpose. The abstract is a clear, interesting, succinct and polished summary of the key components of your proposal: the need, the partners involved, the proposed outcomes, the timeframe, numbers served and the budget. Oh, and you usually have no more than a page to do it in… double spaced. But ultimately, the abstract should be looked at as a sales tool.

I often compare the abstract to an overture. When you sit down to watch a musical, the orchestra begins to play the overture that establishes the tone of what you’re about to see and hear. In this overture, they also establish various themes that will be introduced throughout the piece — themes that underscore the highpoints of the story that is about to unfold. When it comes time to write the abstract, think of it as an overture. And no, wise guy, we don’t expect any of your readers leaving their office that night humming the words to your proposal!

What the reader should expect is that throughout your proposal — starting with the abstract — that you’re going to establish various recurring themes, underscore high points of your program, and present a challenge that you and your community are uniquely qualified to solve…with a little help of the funding agency.

It’s all about good story telling – which is covered in my new book RIGHT BEFORE YOU WRITE (Www.SandyPointInk.com)

More thoughts and suggestions about abstracts in the next entry.

3493 comments
10/13/08
Over and above = funding
Filed under: PROGRAM DESIGN
Posted by: Jon @ 12:13 pm

Most of the lauded grants I’ve been a part of involved the collaboration of two or more agencies that had never worked together. In some cases, we were cautioned by experts that, in no uncertain terms, such an outside-the-box collaboration could not be done. The intention here is to make clear a point that is so important it could be a matter of life or death — for your program design:

Ultimately, the process of designing an excellent program is really the process of building a new, or expanding an existing, collaborative.

Most applicants are satisfied with describing their existing collaboration. I’m suggesting your approach to each program you design should be:

This is our new and improved way we plan to collaborate for this specific proposed program;

This is how we intend to collaborate over and above what we’ve done or are already doing; and,

This is how each new partner will take our program design above and beyond what we’re already doing.

How important is this? As I say in my new book RIGHT BEFORE YOU WRITE (go to www.SandyPointInk.com or click on the link to the left): “COLLABORATE OR DIE!”

3336 comments
10/04/08
But A Good Grant Writer Is Too Expensive
Filed under: GRANT WRITING
Posted by: Jon @ 11:18 am

After trying to write several grants themselves and realizing what a daunting and competitive task the process is and how it can cripple a smaller nonprofit, many CBOs realize that hiring a professional whose only focus is to write the best proposal possible is a great idea — that is, until they find out the writer’s hourly rate and say, you’re just what we’re looking for…but you’re too expensive.” But there are ways to get a topnotch grant writer on board:

First, as you are well aware now, grant writers love an underdog. And maybe, in addition to your clientele, your own agency is a bit of an underdog: that is, is determined to succeed despite the tremendous odds against you. So if your cause is good, if the bottom line is delivering the best possible human service and not personal gain or ego fulfillment, and if you breathe life by living example into the quote about having the mental fortitude to do the job and take the job seriously, but yourself not too seriously, then you are not out of the running.

Second, most great grant writers I know donate many hours a year (gratis and at reduced rates) to help underdogs with a good cause.

Third, astute grant writers know that if your cause is good and your staff is good and the grant is good — that equals success. Success means that you grow as an agency. Growth means needing and winning more grants. That means that if your loyal, and you should be, more work for the grant writer down the road.

Fourth, you can also get several great grants out of a writer for the price of one. You can hire the best to write one grant and then use their words and research as a boilerplate for future grants that you write. While we of course caution you not just to cut and paste but to adapt their words to the specific needs of each grant, at least you will have a solid, professional foundation to work from.

Fifth, you can use a great grant writer as an editor, after the first draft. In other words, involve them in the planning and outlining process described in my new book RIGHT BEFORE YOU WRITE (click on the Sandy Point Ink link to the left). Then you and your staff go ahead and do the grunt work, the first words-on-page draft that follows the planned structure. Following that, have the writer come in and do an edit and a polish. This also solves the problem of a writer being willing, but not available, to work full-time on your project.

Finally, don’t be shy about being honest and asking the grant writer directly: “Is there a way we can benefit from your services within the parameters of our limited budget?” With a great grant writer, there is always a way.

22325 comments
10/02/08
Marketing Messages That Matter
Filed under: PROGRAM DESIGN
Posted by: Jon @ 1:33 pm

Nancy E. Schwartz is a marketing and communications consultant in New York and the author of “The Nonprofit Tagline Report”, a report that spotlights some of the nonprofit world’s best tag lines and highlights ways in which organizations can use tag lines in their marketing. Ms. Schwartz is also the author of Getting Attention, a blog that provides information about marketing and communications for nonprofit leaders.

A great program title and a tagline is also critical to a grant proposal’s success. What is a great name for a program? No one knows, really. Some compare it with what a Supreme Court Justice said about obscenity, you’ll know it when you see it. I think it’s slightly different with a great program name, you’ll know it when you feel it. What I mean by “feel” is that a great program name just clicks. Fits perfectly. Inspires. Seems so simple, so easy. Personally, I get goosebumps when I hear a great program name or a title—that’s my gauge. I also get jealous. If it’s someone else’s great program name I hear or read, I mutter to myself, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

While a great program name can’t be defined because it is so subjective, there are common characteristics of great program names to consider. These are explained, along with a process to come up with a great name and tagline, in my new book RIGHT BEFORE YOU WRITE: The Groundbreaking Planning Process Used To Win More Than $385 Million In Competitive Grant Awards. Go to www.SandyPointInk.com or click on the link to the left.

Ms. Schwartz recently studied the tag lines of more than 1,900 organizations to identify some of the nonprofit world’s most effective messages. As part of her research, Ms. Schwartz found that seven in 10 nonprofit groups rate their tag lines as poor — or do not have tag lines at all. So what makes a winning tag line? Why are they important? And how do you create a tag line that makes others remember what you stand for? Ms. Schwartz will answer these questions — and many more on Tuesday, October 7, at 12 noon, U.S. Eastern time in an on-line discussion sponsored by the Chronicle Of Philanthrophy. This event will also be archived for later listening.
http://philanthropy.com/live/2008/10/marketing_messages/chat.php3

3903 comments
10/01/08
Your friendly neighborhood community foundation
Filed under: RESEARCHING FUNDING SOURCES
Posted by: Jon @ 12:12 pm

Community foundations are nonprofit agencies established to act as superintendents of trust funds and donations by local philanthropists whose mission is to give back to, and support, the local community and local nonprofit agencies. These foundations educate and empower local non-profit groups and agencies to start-up, operate and sustain various programs. They can also serve as a hub to help your program staff network with other agencies, programs, resources and funding sources in your area. Community foundations often have a reference library of research resources and they host various workshops.

Staff there have great insight into who is giving out the money and for what purposes. These foundations often archive all their activities so if you happen to miss something important, you can go there later and watch a video or read a transcript of the session you missed. Becoming a familiar face at and getting on the mailing list of the nearest community foundation in your area is absolutely essential.

These foundations often host “Meet The Grantmaker” sessions that offer the opportunity for you the potential grantee to meet, hob nob, ask questions of—but not shamelessly beg—staff and officers representing various local and national foundations. These meetings should be put on your organization’s “must attend” list and are extremely critical to you getting an edge over your competitors.

Read more about this in my new book RIGHT BEFORE YOU WRITE: The Groundbreaking Process Used To Win More Than $285 Million in Competitive Grant Awards. Available at www.SandyPointInk.com. Or click on Sandy Point Ink in the left column.

3392 comments