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Writing a grant? What for?

Posted: April 1, 2014

Grant-writing workshops are very popular because everyone wants a grant. But it always surprises me how many people come to learn about grant-writing without a specific idea in mind: they just want money for their organization.

To them, the world of funders is like a giant ATM machine.  You put in the correct code (grant proposal) and you get dollars in return to spend as your organization chooses.  If you’ve had this method work for you, consider yourself lucky.  The rest of us need to think carefully about how a grant fits into our organization’s plans.

Last week’s Extension blog ‘Grant Writing Skills’ gives a great description of our workshops being offered around the state, where you can learn the nuts and bolts of writing a strong proposal.  We’ll spend some time at the beginning talking about who gives grants and why, especially in private and community foundations.  It’s really quite simple: philanthropists are people who have a lot of money and have decided to invest it in communities, usually through a foundation.  They grant money to organizations in order to address specific problems or opportunities, such as health, education or social issues.  The people responsible for investing the foundation’s money in the community are trying to find the biggest bang for the buck. ‘Where can we put our money to use most effectively to address domestic violence?’  ‘Who can make the biggest difference in childhood obesity with our money?’

Pick Me!

If you want a foundation to choose you, then you have to tell a great story.  How are you going to spend their money and what will change as a result?  How will you measure the change?  And of course what will this mean for the community?

To do this well, you can’t just walk up to the ATM machine and ask for money.  The more time you spend planning for your grant-funded project in advance, the better the results not just in bagging grants, but in providing critical services to the community.  Isn’t that what your organization really wants to do?

So please, come to one of our grant-writing workshops.  You don’t need a specific project.  Just don’t expect us to point you to the ATM machine!

You can register for one of our Getting the Most From Your Grant-Writing Efforts workshops.  Don’t see one scheduled in your region?  Let us know and we’ll try to plan another session. 

Contact Information

Judy Chambers
  • Educator, Economic and Community Development
Phone: 717-334-6271 x313