If a story is not about the hearer, [s]he will not listen. And here I make a rule: a great and interesting story is about everyone or it will not last. – John Steinbeck
To help you celebrate and thank you for your support, I’m giving you a Double Holiday Gift! It’s perfect for anyone working with grants who needs some feedback on a Letter of Intent.
PART I: A chance to win a free review of your LOI
PART II: 4 free recordings of LOI feedback and training
Could you — or a staff member — use some customized feedback on a Letter of Intent (preliminary grant proposal)? While colleagues may be helpful, or just too busy, a third-party expert perspective is often exactly what you need to view your work as a funder might.
Here’s where the Double Holiday Gift comes in:
PART I: Enter to win an expert, written review of a Letter of Intent for your nonprofit organization or one you support! The LOI should be 1-3 pages in length, and written for a foundation or corporation. The review will take place anytime between January 15 and March 31, 2017: your choice. Valued up to $175. Entries are accepted through December 31, 2016. Enter to win a Free LOI Review HERE.
The winner will be announced on or before January 12, 2017.
PART II: 4 free recordings of my professional reviews of LOIs. Each recording also includes a brief training. You can find them all on 4good, a free online platform for the social sector:
I hope you enjoy the season with those you love!
Q: We are writing an appeal letter and we’re trying to figure out what pronouns to use. You see, we’ve taken your advice to heart that we should include our readers in a “conversation on paper.” That means using the words “you” and “your” as much as we can. But sometimes we have to talk about what the organization is doing. It gets confusing. Help!
A: Yes, it can be a bit tricky at times, if you’re not careful.
A simple switch from the “we” of the organization to the “you” of your reader goes like this:
Original: We want to bring native plants back to our community. But we need your help!
Suggested revision: You can help improve our city’s environment by planting and saving native plants. They bring many benefits to our community and help us avoid eco-trouble down the line.
Did you see what I did there? Changing the perspective like that is pretty clear.
But did you also notice that in the suggested revision there’s a “we” also — and it now includes the reader? That second sentence is now talking about “our city’s environment” and “our community”. No longer is it “we” the organization needing “your” help.
The rule of thumb operating here is this: Continue reading
Q: How can a nonprofit CEO, Director, or Board member facilitate successful grantseeking?
A: Grantseeking is a team sport. As a nonprofit CEO, Director, or Board member you can help guide your team to victory — but you can’t do that if you hang back on the sidelines.
If your nonprofit is like the vast majority out there, you need (at least some) grant income to advance your mission in your community. Your role as a leader is to marshal the right strategy and resources so your grantseeking team can succeed.
Whether your team consists of staff, consultants, and/or volunteers, you need to help set (or at least know) the game plan so you can manage effectively. Without your vision and planning, your team will lack direction, priorities, and motivation.
Even if you are not personally involved in your organization’s day-to-day grantseeking activities, you need a solid grounding in how grantseeking happens. That is, you need to know what to expect from the process and how you can help it along. By preparing for success you will increase your likelihood of attaining it.
I’ve spoken with leaders of many new (and not-so-new) organizations who have not properly prepared for grantseeking. They simply want to see more money come through the door right away. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work that way. They have often been disappointed.
In my experience, strategic leaders who are starting or upgrading their teams’ grantseeking efforts best position their organizations for success when they:
Is grantseeking high on the agenda of a CEO, Director, or Board member? It should be. Without the support of nonprofit executives, even the strongest grantseeking teams must often watch opportunities pass them by.
To learn more, join me for my February 15 free webinar, Grant Strategy for CEOs, Directors, and Board Members: What You Need to Know to Succeed.
[By the way, you can find more “Ask Dalya” questions and answers HERE.
Question: I’m working on a grant application, and I find myself referring to our organization both in the third person and the first person. The third person sounds more professional, and I feel more comfortable “bragging” about our accomplishments in the third person. But the first person sounds warmer and more personal, and I think it tends to convey greater ownership/passion. Which approach should I take?
Answer: This is a common situation, and there is no hard and fast rule about it. I have seen both.
Personally, I tend to go mostly with the first person but use the organization’s acronym when it seems feasible and appropriate (not to overdo the “we”, to get the funder familiar with the organization’s name, and to sound official).
By the way, your focus should be more on what you do for and with the community and less on you, as much as possible. The third/first person issue should not be that big of a deal; don’t let it disrupt your flow.
PS: You can find more “”Ask Dalya” questions and answers HERE.