I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard nonprofit professionals bemoan the process of grant writing. (I can’t tell you because I didn’t keep track, really. But I heard it a lot.) It’s true - writing grants takes lots of time - researching foundations, gathering program information, tracking deadlines, etc. And grant applications involve the process of persuasive writing, which can be challenging for some. Grant writing also creates a kind of vulnerability. Here you are, exposing your best hopes and dreams for the change you want to see in your community and showing it, boldly and brazenly to a group of strangers on a grant review board. Terrifying.
Despite all that, I, apparently, am an odd duck, an outlier, a weirdo. I love Grant Writing. I see grant writing as a concrete process whereby dreams are made into reality. We get to start with the question: What would we do if we had the money? What innovative program can we create to solve a problem? What program that is working well needs ongoing support? Those questions are fundamental optimistic and forward looking, which is where I like to be.
I am also intrigued by the foundation research process. Having access to a comprehensive grants database opens up a world of connections, abundance, and possibilities. Searching through the database to find the foundation with the right fit feels like a treasure hunt. (Or a like a good session at a thrift store.) I never know what I’m going to find but I’m sure there’s something good there.
When I’ve found a fit between a program and a few foundations, the actual application process begins. And while it can take lots of effort and editing (especially when the form only allows a limited word count), I love this process, too. I really enjoy the logic puzzle of putting together the elements of the program with the funder’s goals. I like matching our dream to theirs and making it look like a clear win/win.
There, I’m exposed now. I love grant writing.