Explore All the Options

Well, I love a funded grant proposal!  I should, since I am a passionate philanthropist. This week, I received word that a proposal I had written was funded in the amount of $61,400. This one is particularly interesting and powerful.

Firstly, I applied for this grant through numerous entities. Grants, like sales, is a numbers game! What’s the worst that can happen? If I applied for the same grant through three funders, and two of them offered an award, the worst that could happen is we have to decline an award, right? That’s lesson #1.

Secondly, this project was one of passion. The awarded entity is a mostly volunteer fire department who was in desperate need of an exhaust system for their station. Lung cancers are a killing force to be reckoned with in the fire fighting sector; and some of that is caused by the diesel exhaust. Even though the bay doors are open, these poor men and women are breathing in deadly toxins. The exhaust removal system is closed circuit, keeping that toxin away from their lungs. Passion for your philanthropy is lesson #2.

Thirdly, it has become a crucial part of my career to explore every available option. A trend I have witnessed among grant professionals and nonprofit organizations is they give up on a project as soon as funding is denied. One way to beat that is to follow lesson #1 and apply to several entities for the same project.  A second method is to keep a running list of projects and needs on your desk. When something is denied by two or more funders, then it may need rethinking – perhaps it would be better to have a fundraising strategy unrelated to grants.  But never just give up on the need! Timing is also part of this mix. I have had denials and approvals in every way possible. For example, I applied to a foundation twice in consecutive cycles and was denied both times. The third time, I was awarded more than I requested! Envision all the possibilities and plug away at each one. Your persistence and flexibility will be rewarded.