Thursday, November 19, 2009

Which Comes First the Search for Funders or Writing the Proposal?

Similar to the old adage regarding the chicken and the egg-which do you do first when seeking grant funding? Do you find the funder or write the proposal? There is no magic formula to obtaining grant funds, however if you have a written program plan in place prior to searching for funders you can really narrow down your search criteria. It may seem counter intuitive to have a grant proposal (or program plan) already written before looking for the right funder, but I do typically find a higher level of success when making sure everything including the budget is written out in plain language before even searching for potential funders.

Write out the program plan first, which can then be adapted to individual grant proposals that meet the individual funders guidelines. Then begin to search for potential funders that have similar interests, and may want to fund your program or organization.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New Look

Check out my blog's new look. Please let me know what you think. You can also follow Grant Consulting Services on Twitter @ Grantwriter, become a fan on Facebook @ Grant Consulting Services, become a friend also on Facebook @Valerie A. Nelson, and get connected through Linked In under Valerie A. Nelson. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Philanthropist

NBC has an interesting show premiering tonight called the Philanthropist. One of the tagline's used in the promo spots is "He can have whatever he wants, but he just wants to help." The description of the show as seen on the website is:

"Teddy loves money, women and power, but following a severe flood in a Nigerian town, he is haunted by the memory of a young boy he rescued. Teddy is spontaneous and impulsive and quickly decides to channel his passion, power and money into helping those in need. The danger and risk to his life is the only way Teddy can feel genuinely alive and he'll do anything in order to achieve his goals and keep the adrenaline pumping; putting his business head and money-making skills to good use through bargaining with the self-righteous, making deals with drug barons, and trading with the nefarious."

I watched a few of the clips, and the show looks quite interesting. Another show about giving to people in need is always welcome. It looks like the Philanthropist will be action packed and filled with adventure. I am looking forward to watching it

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Federal Grant Opportunities

There is a light at the end of the tunnel...We all know the toll that the current economic landscape is taking on America-and the world. Corporate bankruptcies and consumer's spending less have everybody nervous. However, there is some good news on the horizon.

To date the Federal government has allocated over $126 billion in grant funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. $36.7 billion has already been paid out to states and other organizations. Some of these funds are being spent to help states to improve their infrastructure (Roads), education programs, and increased unemployment benefits.

Government agencies are releasing Requests for Proposals (RFP's) on a daily basis. Typically the due dates for grant applications are about one month after the RFP's are released. The applications can be quite arduous-to say the least, so it is important to have a project or program that is at least in the later part of the concept stage when responding to an RFP.

There are a lot of new funding opportunities available for new technologies that especially relate to greening the planet. To keep track of new grant opportunities, check out, and also look at the Obama administration's Recovery website.

Much work is yet to be done, but we should begin to realize the positive impact of these grant funds within the next several months.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Recovery Act Update

Today, I had the honor of meeting Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm during a town hall meeting about the Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The meeting was extremely helpful in getting a better idea of how the funds will reach the state and local levels. A majority of the funding is being released through formula grants to already existing programs. For example, people eligible for unemployment benefits will see an increase of $25 per month as well as an extension of benefits to 79 weeks. This is not a new program, rather an increase in the already existing program.

Some individuals will benefit directly from the Recovery funds through tax credits-such as the newly increased Earned Income Credit. People over the age of 65 and/or people living with disabilities will receive a stimulus check for $250.

Non-profit organizations have a chance to apply the Recovery Act funds as well. There are many grant opportunities to date that are considered competitive grants and are open to all qualifying organizations. Some of the categories that these competitive grants will be awarded in are: Economic Development, Education and Research, Energy, Environment, Health & Human Services, Job Training, Public Safety, and Technology. Almost all of these grants will need to be applied for directly through the Federal Government. Some of the specific grants that will be awarded will be for projects such as: Early Head Start agencies to expand and increase the number of families served in existing programs, funds to supplement and expand ongoing efforts to provide shelter, food and supportive services for the nation's hungry, homeless and people in economic crisis, as well as grants to provide part-time employment opportunities for low-income seniors.

It is expected that the majority of the grant applications will be due within the next 90 days or so. In addition, there will be more arduous reporting requirements for organizations that receive the Recovery Act funds.

Grant Consulting Services can assist your organization with the grant application and reporting processes.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Economic Stimulus Package

By now most have heard about the enormous $780+ Billion dollar Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, that was recently signed by President Obama. The measures are so enormous that it is difficult to understand precisely what is included in the package and how it will eventually affect nonprofit organizations and the people they serve. I am compelled to do my due diligence and understand where the funds will go, so I am taking the time to read the over 400 page stimulus plan.

At times, I would rather be curled up with John Grisham's latest novel or another great read, but want to try to understand how the organizations I work with will benefit from the money that will eventually reach the state and local levels.

Don Griesmann has already done a fabulous job of researching program areas that offer funds to community organizations in his blog article titled "24 Economic Stimulus Programs for Non Profits."

The Obama administration has also put together a nice website at that gives details about the program and its expenditures. You can also read the legislation in full by clicking on the following link:

Monday, February 16, 2009

Non-Profits Anxious for Stimulus Package

Today, President Obama is expected to sign the multi-billion dollar economic stimulus package. All sectors of society are waiting-more like hanging on for dear life for the benifits of these measures to reach them. Non-profit organizations are especially strained for funds and other resources due to reduced giving trends and organizational cutbacks.

In response to the budget strain, Michigan Governor Granholm is cutting back nearly all arts and cultural grant funding. In addition the Governor is recommending increasing the non-refundable grant application fee from $300 to $1,000. This move will make it nearly impossible for smaller organizations to apply for the very small pool of arts funding still available through the State.

Smaller organizations that relied on these grant funds in the past will need to cut back their services and/or join forces with other arts organization as well as seek funding from other sources.

Non-profits will have to continue hanging on until the benefits of the stimulus package are realized at a local level. That will likely take more time.