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Old 14 June 2011, 10:40
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Grant Writing RFI

Has anyone taken a grant writing course? There are several here in my area; everything from the "intensive workshop" style courses to online/distance learning. This is on my dime, so I need to optimize my "self scholarship".

Any experience would help - I'm at ground zero on this project. My end-vision is to have a more portable and self dependent income.
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Old 14 June 2011, 13:52
JumpCut JumpCut is offline
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I'll offer a few big-picture tips learned through much (time-consuming) trial/error.

1) Every organization has its own preferred format for grant proposals, so a one-size-fits-all class may be a waste of money. In some cases organizations will post their format requirements online, and even make successful proposals available to the public for scrutiny, which can be the best way to learn the craft.

2) 'Who you know' is in play, in a big way. Grant-makers are smothered by grant-seekers. Submitting dozens of proposals via a shotgun method tends to be a waste of time. You're much better off finding a few organizations with whom you have a current relationship, or friends within the walls. For example, say the American Heart Association makes several $250K grants per year to individuals, for exercise research. Rather than jump into the mix with 50,000 starving applicants, find a contact at the local branch and take her/him out for lunch and casually mention your idea for a research program. Build that relationship and see if your new friend will help guide your proposal to the right player at the HQ.

3) Partner with a non-profit. In many cases, grant-makers will only give to non-profits. You can skin that cat by linking up with a fiscal sponsor . Once the ink dries, the grant-maker writes the check to your non-profit sponsor, and they in turn write the check to you, minus a small percentage (usually around 8%.)

HTH.
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Old 17 June 2011, 08:40
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Good guidance and much appreciated. Same to the guys who PM'd - thank you!
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Old 17 June 2011, 09:52
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+1 to jumpcuts comments..

also, be advised writing grant proposals for federal grant money is very different than trying to obtain grants from NGO's, non profits, and commerical entities..

chasing Red Cross money is going to be very different than chasing DOT, DHS, DOD, DOE, etc.. money..

many of jumpcuts comments still apply (for example, the format and hot buttons for DHS are very different than DOD... you need to KNOW your potential funding source.. and knowing people on the inside never hurts...)

if youre going after fed gov money get to know the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) most agencies grant programs are subject to these standards/rules.. there are a couple of govt organizations that have their own set of rules.. but this is the best starting point..

State governments are a good resource for grant money as well..
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Old 24 November 2016, 12:50
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I was going to start a thread about this, but alas I finally found something in a search so I'm putting the paddles to it for good reason.

More and more I see there are Vets looking for ways to open their own business, or start the patent process, or get involved in other ventures which require some sort of financial backing. Grants are great for doing this, and as the thread is about Grant Writing Workshops I encourage everyone who is considering taking the leap into self-employment to educate themselves on such.

My girlfriend and I opened our own art studio/gallery, and kids art academy a few years ago on pretty much nothing but first and last months rent. I was just at the tail end of a business deal gone bad, and she had just moved back from Hawaii after getting taken for everything. I was broke and so was she, but we got the money together and found a place to open shop. The other artist's work we displayed was totally on consignment, so it cost us nothing to have the work hanging in the gallery space in order to open our doors. The kicker was being able to stay afloat until we built up our student base, we did this through grants and other creative funding on large projects.

I can tell you there is a way to write a grant, and a way not to write a grant. It is basically a resume for you to convince people it is worth you having the money vs. someone else. Aside from the money part of it, it is also a great way to get your name out there in terms of recognition. Two years ago we started a mural project which when complete next summer will be over 400' long. We are doing this as an art camp project for the kids in the community, which in itself has helped build our regular student base for our other programs.

There have been several forms of funding for this project to include grant money. We have recently started part of a drug rehab program in our studio; along with grant money and other donors to include judges personally donating, this is another way we are able to help the community while growing our business. If you choose to go after grant money then look at it as an investment in your business which will yield its rewards later down the line in other ways. If you are looking to get a grant and thinking the grant itself will be a paycheck then you will be sorely disappointed. Use it to build your business resume so that in the future you can continue to show why you are the person or business who will make good use of funding.

Today we are in our second building as we outgrew the original location. Our student base has grown every school quarter as we continue to do public art projects. We are going to be moving our business to a larger town in the spring as we have outgrown the city we are in. We will continue with our students there on a one day a week basis. We are not rich, but we are happy doing what we love. All this from some grant writing and other creative financing.
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Last edited by Headshot; 24 November 2016 at 12:56. Reason: added content
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Old 24 November 2016, 13:29
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Today we are in our second building as we outgrew the original location. Our student base has grown every school quarter as we continue to do public art projects. We are going to be moving our business to a larger town in the spring as we have outgrown the city we are in. We will continue with our students there on a one day a week basis. We are not rich, but we are happy doing what we love. All this from some grant writing and other creative financing.
If SOCNET had a "Like" button I'd give you a "Like".
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Old 24 November 2016, 17:23
8654maine 8654maine is offline
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Headshot, that is cool.
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Old 24 November 2016, 22:06
Crucible guy Crucible guy is offline
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I have written many grants and my wife started her career writing and administering grants, she now manages 70 grants for the Department of Justice. The most important key to grant writing is to read the directions page on the specific grant you are applying for. They will usually have an instruction page that goes with it and most people fail to follow the instructions. If it says include document "a" then make sure it is included and signed correctly. You would be amazed how many people fail to follow instructions or include required documents. Lastly, it is smart to submit the application early. The worst thing is when you wait until the last minute and then have computer problems or some formatting issue. I know I have said this a few times already but grant writing is simple if you follow the directions to the letter. The first review of the grant will see if you followed the rules of filing, if you did not, round file. If you did, then they will look for the content.

CG
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Old 24 November 2016, 22:25
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Headshot, that is cool.
Thanks guys, and thanks CG for the added advice.

My purpose in giving our business as an example is to encourage those who wish to live the American dream, "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." None of those are guaranteed, but the opportunity is there. Notice it doesn't say anything about material wealth. To some people the happiness comes in the form of seeing if they can make a go at it in the form of being their own boss. Too often people don't get to give it a go because they feel they don't have the resources to make it happen. Grant writing has to be treated like a job in itself, much like looking for a job must be one's job until they find what they are searching for.

Get in the right frame of mind when you start in on a grant, with a clear purpose in mind and a plan to follow through if you are awarded the grant. Don't write it in your PJ's while sipping your favorite adult beverage, get in the clothes you will be wearing while you are doing what you will be doing when you get the grant. Look at some of the many links about writing as a civilian vs. writing like you are a grunt, and learn how to leave out the confusing military references and acronyms that will only take up space on the page. The grant needs to be clear in its purpose, and will only read as such as far as you are clear in your purpose when it is written.
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