Get Caught in a Jam? Don’t Worry, We have Tips On Funding

Grant Guru is a new, occasional feature in which we draw on our knowledge of the philanthropic universe to answer your questions. It is part of our continuing effort to enhance our coverage.

Dear Grant Guru: I’m an education grant-seeker who is stuck in a jam. How do I get the money to deliver a program for my special-needs population while I’m caught in the day-to-day grind of teaching the kids? Please help.

Grant Guru: We hear these complaints all the time: It seems to be a bit of a Catch-22 situation. Probably the best place to start is by concentrating on meeting the needs of your population with the best program you possibly can. But realize winning grants really is part of your job.

Too often, educators consider writing grants or attaining the resources the instructional program needs not part of their jobs.

Closely related is that grant seekers need to think of funders as customers. A good salesman will study and listen to what a customer really needs or wants, and the good grant seeker will read and re-read the grantor’s RFP, literature, 990s, and the type of grants they have funded in the past. If we are lucky enough to win a grant, then the grantor becomes like a partner.bus1

“I once had the opportunity to have an audience with a big foundation’s CEO,” Grant Guru says. “When I asked, ‘Exactly what are you looking for in grant applications?’ she burned my ears for over 45 minutes.”

The larger question is how do new grant seekers attract the eye of a funder or get themselves listed on a funder’s “potential approval” list?

It’s simple. By building a better mousetrap, or giving a great innovative program idea to the grantor. Grantors want to go with winners. The way to win a grant is to present needs in a proposal that makes the reader want to cry.

Have a vexing problem? Some thorny question you can’t get answered? Call (410) 934-7652 or use the form here:

About Frank Klimko

Frank Klimko is a nationally known journalist, grants expert and speech writer/speaker. He has years of experience helping nonprofits devise lists of the right funding opportunities and secure funding from these foundations and corporate entities. Clients have focused on an array of areas including child care, homeless, hunger and K-12 education. Additionally, he is a Freedom of Information Act expert, who has helped numerous clients with securing proprietary information from the federal government. Currently, Frank Klimko writes the Children & Youth Funding Report and Private Grants Alert, which are Washington DC-based publications. CYF is a daily publication covering Congress, the Education Dept. and the various federal regulatory agencies. PGA, another daily publication, covers the world of private philanthropy.
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