By Heather Stevenson
About six years ago Michelle and I were sitting having coffee at Java Station, having just been introduced by a mutual friend because we are both grant writers. We chatted about some shared challenges, and quickly bonded over the nuances of grant writing–from limited character counts to complex grant guidelines. We celebrated how much we liked the turn toward core support by Weingart and Hutton-Parker, and how we definitely shouldn’t staple the Towbes application! We were loving how great it was to commiserate, laugh, and share ideas for some grants we were working on.
Midway through that coffee, I mentioned that I was about to start working on an LOI to the Bower Foundation. Michelle looked at me and said, “I hate to break this to you, but the deadline was last week.” They had changed the deadline but I wasn’t aware of it! Of course this was completely my own fault. My tracking system had some serious flaws that allowed this to slip through the cracks.
Needless to say I was upset, but I resolved that this would be a catalyst for changing how I did business. Not only would I change my tracking system, but I would make an effort to become connected to others who are doing this work. I was so isolated from other grant writers that I didn’t have a good “safety net” to help keep me from making a mistake like that.
A short while later, Michelle and I started The Write Team. We have benefited in countless ways by having a team that works together to make sure we all succeed. After six years of tinkering with and fine tuning our procedures, we have developed what we think is a great grants management system. Now, we are offering the community the same sort of reliable system we enjoy. Through The Write Team’s partnership with NPRN, we have created the Santa Barbara Grant Center, which has some handy tools to help you manage your grants and get plugged into a community of other grant writers:
We know that many of you already have excellent tracking systems, but you might find something new to add to your tool box here. Our downloadable grant tracking tool is pre-populated with information for 30 local funders, such as deadlines, contact information, website links, and more. You can customize the tracker by deleting funders you don’t apply to and adding ones that aren’t already on the tracker.
Our database includes funder guidelines, application deadlines, Word templates for online/PDF applications, up-to-date funder news, and examples of organizations supported by each funder. We also have the 2017 common grant application in Word and Excel.
We are more effective (and have more fun) when we work together! The online community allows you to gain support, ask questions, and share your knowledge with other grant seekers.
(You are reading it right now!) This monthly blog delivers ideas and perspectives from Heather and Michelle at The Write Team (and occasional guest writers) that are relevant to your work as a grant seeker.
Grant Center Updates
Sign up for Grant Center updates to receive timely information about funder deadlines, guideline changes, and other news of interest to grant seekers. For example, we just found out that the Santa Ynez Valley Foundation is no longer going to be administering the Santa Barbara Foundation Express Grants for the Valley area, and that the Wharton Foundation has moved out of town. As soon as we know about things like this, you will know too.
We are excited to introduce the Grant Center to our community, and we look forward to hearing your feedback about what’s working, what’s not so great, and what we can add to make this as helpful a resource as possible!