Tag Archive for: government

Keeping in Touch with Your Foundation Donors

Teri BlandonBy Teri S. Blandon, GPC, CFRE; Vice President for External Relations, PAI

The 2016 election caused massive disruptions to many people, personally and professionally. As I work for a women’s reproductive rights advocacy organization, the election results caused us to pivot quickly. Immediately, we had to pull back our annual appeal letter (which was at the printer) and completely rewrite it to reflect the new reality. On an organizational level, we have had to significantly revise our 2017 program plan, which will impact our upcoming foundation proposals and reports.

The election may have caused similar disruptions in your nonprofits. While there are a lot of unknowns about what the future brings, there are concrete things you can and should be doing to maintain positive relationships with your institutional donors.

  • Talk with the community you serve. The campaigns were extraordinarily acrimonious, and stirred up a lot of negative feelings and uncovered deep schisms in our country at many levels. How has this played out in your community (however you define “community”)? Whether you operate locally, state-wide, nationally or internationally, no one has been left unaffected by the campaigns and election. Your nonprofit is on the frontline — what are you learning about the people you serve that could be useful to your funders?
  • Check in with your program colleagues. What worries the program experts about the incoming Congress and Administration? How are your programs and community likely to be affected by policies at the state and national levels? Perhaps there was some good news in your state elections — for example, some jurisdictions increased the minimum wage which will positively impact many of the groups we serve. Make sure you are aware of any discussions going on about how your nonprofit may have to change or adapt your programming in the coming months.
  • Talk to your foundation donors. Almost all of our foundations are now talking internally about how their strategy will shift in light of the Trump-Pence administration. While these discussions will likely take some time, you have a golden opportunity to position your organization as a provider of important and useful intelligence. Thinking back to my first bullet point — what do you know about how the community is feeling/reacting? What is happening within your community to address the issues churned up by the election? And pulling in the information referenced in my second bullet point — what is your nonprofit doing about it? In the case of my organization, we were able to pull together an analysis of the probable funding cuts and policy changes that will happen after the inauguration, and distributed it to our top funders. (The best part is that this was the idea of our Programs staff!) We intend to keep them updated as new information becomes available. We received several emails in response expressing how much the program officers appreciated the information. This wasn’t about asking for money (that will come later); it was about making sure our funders had accurate and timely information they can use when discussing their own strategy.

You are not powerless — you have important information about how upcoming policies and funding decisions affect real people. Use it to advocate for the people you serve by sharing it with your donors. It will position your organization as a provider of services and intelligence.

International Grant Professionals Week ends March 20th with Grant Professionals Day!

Danny Blitch, MPA, GPC

Grants Manager, City of Roswell, Georgia


February, 2015

Grant funding is important to most nonprofit organizations and government agencies, as it makes achieving missions easier. It is one of the ways organizations pay for the services they provide. Grants, combined with fundraising, program income and direct clientIGP_Day_Logo service fees, generate the revenues organizations need to sustain themselves. In short, grants help nonprofits serve more people everywhere.

Many grant professionals do not do their work for the paycheck, the recognition or for accolades from our employers. Rather, almost universally, they are grant professionals because they like to help others. They find comfort in being able to take a mountain of information and condense/develop it into a successful grant proposal.

The Grant Professionals Association has partnered with the Grant Professionals Foundation and the Grant Professionals Certification Institute to recognize grant professionals for their work. Whether full-time or part-time, grant professionals are the heavy lifters who work with grants in one form or another: they are grant seekers, grant developers, grant makers, and grant managers. They may also be executive directors, professors, city clerks, researchers, county managers, program staff or volunteers. They may wear one hat—or twenty. Regardless, grant professionals are important, and their contributions are vital.

We’re planning activities for each day starting March 16 through March 20. Each activity is designed to recognize the grant profession and the importance of our credential, creating world-wide awareness of the life-changing work we do every day. Want to know how you can be involved? Whether you’re a grant professional, member of a GPA chapter, or part of a nonprofit organization, government agency, or business, you can join us by taking a moment to recognize the grant professional(s) you know. You don’t have to shout from the roof tops or buy us lunch… although both would be okay. But, taking the time to send a quick note, a heartfelt thank you or give a friendly pat on the back will mean the world to us.

So on March 20, 2015, I invite you to pause and recognize the specialized work of grant professionals everywhere who are so deadline driven they often schedule their vacations and the births of their children around the “federal silly season.”

International Grant Professionals Week 2015 ends March 20th with Grant Professionals Day. Don’t miss the opportunity to wish your favorite grant professional a “Happy… Grant Professionals Day!”

Grant Development: An International Perspective


GPF Board Member, Becky Jascoviak, MBA

Grant Writer, Kids Alive International


March, 2015

I am privileged to serve as the Development Writer for Kids Alive International, a faith-based organization rescuing orphans and vulnerable children from abuse, neglect, abandonment, and absolute poverty. We operate residential homes, schools, care centers, and community programs for over 6,000 children in 15 countries worldwide providing hope for today, dreams for tomorrow and purpose for a lifetime. Kids Alive has been serving the “least of these” for nearly 100 years. www.kidsalive.org

It’s 4:00 am and your Skype ping sounds off from your laptop you left open as it searches through thousands of photos of places you’ve never personally seen. Groggily, you get up to answer the Skype call, just now realizing that the email you sent to set up the call did not indicate the time zone as Central Daylight Time instead of the now-ringing Eastern African Time. Fortunately, the Keurig is only a few steps away.

Writing and managing grants for international programs from a stateside office carries a certain set of worthwhile challenges. Whether it is navigating proper channels of government, tribal councils, or seemingly simple visa documentation, there are always parts that come across as illogical and inefficient to the American norm. What we value in having all the information placed in sequential order with clearly defined references, can be lost on those areas of the world that value relationship over process and where a four-hour phone call replaces a 28-page documented trail of evaluation.

It’s not just the logistics of communication that can be challenging but also language barriers, idiomatic expressions, and cultural relativities as well. Inquisition is the key to discovering real meaning. For instance, it is easy to place my own cultural context on field reports from around the world. Directors provide grades as part of a program evaluation, however they reflect a school year that is based on a calendar year – different implications should certainly be placed on that evaluation. Asking lots of questions, about things that seem mundane have led me to the best cultural discoveries.

This, however, is what makes all the challenges worth writing grants that take three times the amount of time, must be translated, and tell stories about kids I’ve never met. Every day, I get to be part of making an eternal difference in the lives of kids and families who have no hope, no future, and no safety net of any kind. I know I’m helping to not just change a life for a little while but transform a family for generations. And, I get to restore play to children forced to grow up way too soon. That is worth every early morning Skype call, photo library organizational stresses, and the occasional culturally embarrassing flub.

To serving more with excellence … and for all the children who get to sleep in a bed tonight, eat a warm meal or go to school for the very first time…


First Time and Fabulous!

First Time and Fabulous!
Kristin Holowicki, Grant Coordinator, City of Coral Springs, FL

January, 2015
As a first time attendee of the Grant Professionals Association (GPA) National Conference, made possible by the generous scholarship from the Grant Professionals Foundation and my local South Florida GPA chapter, I was determined to get as much out of this experience as possible. But how was I going to squeeze workshops, volunteering, and networking all into 2 days? Answer: I’m a grant professional…juggling multiple projects is my life!
On the first day of the conference I attended the “First Timers Breakfast.” The presenters provided an overview of the conference agenda and advice on how to get the most out of the workshops. My first session was the Special Interest Group which for me was Government. Although not new to grants, I am new to my agency, a local municipality. While it was great to see some familiar faces from my home state of Florida, I was anxious to meet my nationwide counterparts to discuss grant opportunities, possible collaborations, and obstacles we face in our pursuit of grant funding. I quickly realized we share a common bond. Introductions were filled with insight into the challenges faced: from bosses who think grant money grows on trees to getting project staff to submit requested documents in a timely manner (deadlines are real!). Clearly, a grant professionals’ job is never done. The session rolled over into lunch where we continued networking within our SIGs, complete with informal conversation, sharing experiences and exchanging business cards.
After lunch I attended the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Reform and the Uniform Guidance Workshop by Gil Tran. Mr. Tran was a great presenter and breathed life and funny stories into the dry subject of OMB Reform that will go into effect December 26, 2014. Mr. Tran’s advice: “Keep Calm and Understand the Rules.”
One of the differences he touched on was the importance of the new language that will be included in the new guidelines. A breakdown of some key changes:
•    Definitions of “should” and “must”:
o    Should = best practices
o    Must = required
•    Shall is out; Should is in
•    Must is the new shall; May is gone
On day two I attended a workshop on taking the exam for the Grant Professionals Certification (GPC) credential. I have been considering tackling this challenge and the workshop made the GPC test process feel a little less intimidating. The presenters provided useful information about qualifications for the exam, the multiple choice questions and the written portion of the exam.
After taking 25 pages of handwritten notes over the 2 day period my most important conclusion (other than the fact that I need to get my laptop fixed) was that this was a dynamic group of professionals with a wealth of knowledge to be shared. Because of my positive experience with GPA, I have just made the decision to run for Vice President of my local South Florida GPA Chapter and plan to pursue my GPC credential in 2015.
The GPA staff and hosting committee from Portland did a phenomenal job of coordinating all aspects of the conference. It was one of the most organized conferences I’ve ever attended. I volunteered for the GPF silent auction which raised $5,100. This all would not have been possible without the support of the GPF and local South Florida GPA Chapters scholarship.
Here’s a breakdown by the numbers:
•    Number of miles traveled (Portland to Fort Lauderdale and back) = 6,600
•    Pages of handwritten notes from workshops = 25
•    Number of business cards collected and emails exchanged = over 100
•    Number of Voo Doo Doughnuts eaten = 1 (Captain my Captain Doughnut topped with vanilla frosting and Captain Crunch Berries Cereal – YUM!)
•    Number of attendees at conference (sold out) = over 600
Thank you again for this opportunity. I hope to see everyone next year in St. Louis for the 2015 GPA National Conference.