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Entries Tagged as 'Stories'

My First Bidders Conference, Or, How I Learned What I Already Knew

March 14th, 2014 · No Comments

In January I went to and got kicked out of my first bidders conference. For those of you not familiar with the practice, bidders conferences are largely pointless schmooz-fests for potential grant applicants. Aside from being there to show the flag to program officers and to preen in front of potential competitors, bidders conferences are [...]

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Tags: RFPs · Stories

Sometimes Technology Makes Things Harder: Foundation Proposal Submission Edition

February 21st, 2014 · 4 Comments

In ye olden days when dragons flew the sky and grain was still milled with water wheels, most foundations only accepted paper submissions. Most also had relatively straightforward instructions that were reasonably simple; since the submissions were done through paper, applicants could create an attractive, well-formatted submission document. Today things are different. Amazon delivery drones [...]

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Tags: Advice · Foundations · Stories

Fallible FedEx and Federal Deadlines

February 16th, 2014 · 2 Comments

Some things just can’t happen unless the time is right. When we dreamt up Seliger + Associates about 21 years ago, all grant proposal submittals were paper-based, usually involving an original with wet signatures and multiple copies—sometimes as many as ten, despite the Federal Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980. In the early stages of Seliger [...]

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Tags: Clients · Deadlines · Government · Stories

Cold Wave Means More Clients and More Grant Needs for Nonprofits in Wintry States and the Sunbelt

January 5th, 2014 · No Comments

I woke early this morning, as I’m wrestling with an NIH proposal with a very short deadline. A peek at Facebook revealed a post by a friend making fun of the hysterical news stories about cold in the Midwest and Great Plains in January. They’re just more man-does-not-bite-dog story. But news outlets always like to [...]

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Tags: Grants · Stories

The Unsolvable Standardized Data Problem and the Needs Assessment Monster

December 30th, 2013 · 1 Comment

Needs assessments tend to come in two flavors: one basically instructs the applicant to “Describe the target area and its needs,” and the applicant chooses whatever data it can come up with. For most applicants that’ll be some combination of Census data, local Consolidated Plan, data gathered by the applicant in the course of providing [...]

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Tags: Advice · Grants · How-to · Stories · Writing

Reflections of a Grant Writer on the 50th Anniversary of the JFK Assassination

November 22nd, 2013 · No Comments

Like all Americans who were alive at the time, I clearly remember the moment I learned of President Kennedy’s assassination. Fifty years ago I was a 12 year old in 7th grade social studies at the now-closed Carl Sandburg Junior High* in Golden Valley, Minnesota. The terrible news came over the loudspeaker. The girls immediately [...]

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Tags: Stories

Lessons from the ObamaCare Rollout Fiasco for Grant Writers

November 17th, 2013 · No Comments

Regardless of one’s politics or policy preferences, it’s painful to watch the ongoing Affordable Care Act rollout fiasco.* Developing healthcare.gov is obviously a complex undertaking. One thing lost in the cacophony over the botched rollout is that many large scale IT projects fail to launch successfully, with www.heathcare.gov being the most widely publicized example this [...]

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Tags: Advice · Government · Stories

General or Specific—The Challenge of Defining a Project Concept for Foundation Support

September 29th, 2013 · No Comments

When scoping a foundation appeal with a client, the first task is to define the project concept. This may seem simple, but few aspects of grant seeking and grant writing are simple. Let’s assume our client is the Waconia* Family Resource Center and the agency provides a range of family and child support services, including, [...]

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Tags: Advice · Clients · Foundations · Grants · Nonprofits · Stories

A Grant Writer Gets a New Companion and Explains Some Lesser Known Aspects of Certain Nonprofits

July 21st, 2013 · No Comments

Faithful readers will know that I think every grant writer—or any writer—is better off with a dog at their feet. Writing is a solitary activity and even for those of us who rarely experience writer’s block, there are times when one wants a bit of distraction, and watching a dog find the perfect position for [...]

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Tags: Stories

Small Business Blues: Trying to Get and Keep the Attention of Equipment Vendors is a Challenge

June 23rd, 2013 · 1 Comment

Faithful readers will remember previous posts we’ve written about “Tools of the Trade—What a Grant Writer Should Have” and “Tools, Grant Writing, and Small Businesses: How to Buy a Phone System,” both of which offer advice for finding great equipment. After 20 years in business, I’ve learned the hard way that it’s not always easy [...]

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Tags: Advice · Stories · Tools