by David Tandet
I mean think about it.
Companies selling candy bars dress up their confections in eye-catching wrappers. They give their products cool names to make them stand out from the crowd. Then they hawk their stuff as the most irresistible sweet out there – all for a chance at your pocket change.
But people that want a foundation to hand over tens or hundreds of thousands to fund their projects? They know how worthwhile their program is. And because of that, they sometimes can’t understand why the grant writer, who’s doing everything he can to try to get them the money they need, is making all these suggestions on topics ranging from an LOI’s range of focus to specifics about the needs of the target population that the project will help.
It might seem enough to drive a grant writer crazy! 🙂
But it doesn’t. Here’s why: the successful grant writer knows how worthwhile the 501(c)(3)’s cause really is. And how beneficial the sought after money will be towards enabling the nonprofit to move things along towards implementing one fantastic project!
The successful grant writer understands that it’s that very enthusiasm for all the positive things that project will mean for people that at times prevents the nonprofit from seeing things through the eyes of a potential funder.
People involved with nonprofits are some of the most intelligent, compassionate folks around. Many have devoted their lives to a particular cause. That’s admirable, to put it mildly.
What these terrific workers – many of whom think nothing of putting in 80 hours a week for their cause – need to remember is that a potential funder is considering requests from dozens of other nonprofits that are just as passionate about their causes.
This doesn’t mean that the nonprofit should claim a slightly different mission than it exists to fulfill, simply to win a grant. It DOES mean that the nonprofit realizes s/he is obligated to demonstrate, as clearly and succinctly as possible, why a particular project connects directly to what that foundation’s goals are. Or, as Jon O’Brien puts it, what makes that program “a piece of their [the potential funder’s] puzzle.”
The nonprofit that does that is on its way to funding.