“Ask Dalya”: Grantwriters as Strategic Leaders (Part 2)

orchestraToday we pick up where I left off in Part 1.)

I recently presented a webinar entitled “Grantwriter as Strategic Leader: Your Crucial Role.” It covered a topic not often discussed in the nonprofit world: how can grantwriters assume a leadership role in their organizations? Grantwriters are actually perfectly positioned to be inspiring, confident, and competent leaders who can help their organizations plan strategically for their grantseeking futures.

I got so many great questions, I thought I would share some of them here. Following is Part 2 of this article (Part 1 appeared yesterday).

Q: What do you recommend for handling team members who do not want to participate in grants?

A: Everyone in the nonprofit sector should know that at some point, they are likely to be part of fundraising (it’s the nature of the beast). Most nonprofits are not set up like businesses with income-generating arms.

See if you can demonstrate how much better the grant proposal will be with the input of that non-cooperative team member. After all, no one else has  their expertise! Then try to make it as easy as you can for them to participate. For example, if time is the problem, consider drafting the piece with blank lines for them to fill out with the information that only they know (i.e., “_____________________”). It’s much easeier for them to fill in the blanks than to start from scratch.

Q: At my organization, the director doesn’t see the value in having a full-time grant writer. Thus, program staff does grantwriting. Do you have any advice for folks who are in that dual role?

A: Grantwriters are often not enmeshed in the day-to-day of our organizations’ programs, so we can adopt an outsider’s perspective. But even if you ARE involved in both program and grantwriting, imagine yourself switching hats so you can see things from both separate viewpoints.

Q: As a new grantwriter with a small network, what are some ways in which I can find/network with new potential funders on behalf of my organization?

A: You definitely want to start out with doing as much research as you can to find potential matches in the funding world: the Foundation Center’s database is a great first step. There are also many more resources online for ferreting out those leads. Once you have identified some good matches, go ahead and approach them in their preferred ways (email, phone. etc.).

I also suggest attending as many nonprofit fundraising events as possible. If you meet any funders there, try to learn about their interest areas, values, and funding strategies. Keep your “pitching” to a minimum and try to understand where they are coming from. But be prepared with a few brief talking points to interest them in learning more about your organization.

And once you have some funders on your side, ask them for referrals to other contacts in the funding world. Know that networikiing is a long-term strategy that will pay off over time.

Q: Do you know of any online tools to increase a new grantwriter’s skills without learning by fire?

A: As a matter of fact, I do! I would recommend checking out the 6-week Grantwriter’s FastTrack Coaching Program, which is specially designed for new, emerging, or returning grantwriters. We go into depth on all of the above-mentioned issues – and much more. Learn more HERE.



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