Grantwriting browsing by category


How To Win Grants From Banks

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Banks are a source of grant funding you may not have tried.  The first question on your mind may be: where do I find bank grant opportunities?  Banks are everywhere, in every state and every community.  However, banks vary greatly in their grant making programs, and some may have no formal program at all.  Those with formal grant programs may have funding priorities and guidelines like other corporations.  Some banks may be open to any community needs.  I’ve come across hefty applications and short applications.  I’ve seen both local grants and the more competitive regional grants.  Some larger banks have foundations that handle their charitable giving and many consider sponsorships as well as grants.  With annual charitable giving in the hundreds of millions of dollars, banks are worth a look.

There are two places to start your search: locally and online.  Look around you.  What banks have a branch in your community?  They are all potential funders for your organization.  Does your organization bank with any of them?  (That’s not a necessity).  What banks do your board members use?  Which banks are the closest to your facility?  These are just places to start.  As the development director, you can walk into a local bank and ask who the community giving officer is.  You may be met with a blank stare or you may be given the name of the branch manager.  That manager will lead you to the correct person.  To initiate the conversation introduce yourself and ask when their next grant making cycle is.  You may be handed an application, warmly told that they love your organization, or informed that there is no application process and you just need to write a proposal letter. I like stopping in a bank in person and making that contact.  If that person knows of your organization that is a good thing.  Especially when they say, “just bring your application to me and I’ll submit it to the committee.”  Often bank funding is decided by branch representatives so you want that one person fighting for your proposal.  Of course, you may prefer to research online instead of in person.

How To Win Grants From Banks by Victoria M. Johnson

Banks Want to Support the Communities They Serve!

When I typed in bank community giving in my search engine (such as google or yahoo or bing) several options popped up, including:

US Bank

People’s United Bank

TD Bank

Bank of America

Wells Fargo

Chase Bank

You can also search online by typing in your state or city name in your search engine, for example, when I typed in bank community giving California more options popped up such as:

Union Bank

California Bank & Trust

You can also type in your bank’s name and the words community giving.  Or go directly to their website and use their search feature with a word like: community, charitable giving, corporate giving, foundation, or social responsibility.  These options take more time than the first two options above.

Once you go to the bank’s website you’ll find grant guidelines and deadlines and a contact person.  Follow the guidelines (and my tips) just as you would for any other grant proposal.  Remember, you can’t win a grant if you don’t apply.  Good luck!

Lessons I Learned From Jane Goodall

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

I had the privilege of meeting Jane Goodall in person.  She was the featured speaker at the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) conference in San Diego.  At the time I didn’t know why Jane Goodall would be invited to a fundraising conference—after all she has spent her entire career in jungles with chimpanzees—but I was delighted at the thought of hearing what she might say.  After a few anecdotes Jane revealed that she fell in love with Tarzan as a child and she thought he married the wrong Jane.  “He married the wimpy Jane,” she said.  “I would have been a better match for Tarzan.”  Everyone in the audience agreed.

Jane told us that she’d never forget that her career started because of a philanthropic donation.  If it weren’t for that first grant award she never would have been able to pursue her dream of living among wild animals.  She remarked that in 1960 she had no degree, no formal training, no organization backing her, no permission from the African government, and no money.  But she had the chutzpah to pursue her dream anyway.  She went off to Gombe, Africa—with her mother, because British policy did not allow a woman to move to the jungle alone—and began the adventure of a lifetime.  That first grant got her started and more grants kept her research going.  Now 50 years later, Jane continues sharing her knowledge of chimpanzees, as well as awareness of the urgent threat facing wild chimps.

Jane and Freud

Here’s what else I learned:

1. Jane’s passion and dedication for her cause comes through when she speaks, in her mailings to donors, the JGI website, and in her books.  Her mission and purpose is on everything!

2. The Jane Goodall Institute relies on more than grants these days; they use direct mail campaigns, social media campaigns, sales of products, sponsorships, and other methods.  The JGI diversifies it’s fundraising.  I concur diversification in raising donations and raising awareness is key to sustainability.

3. The one thing all these above vehicles have in common is Jane’s belief that we can make a difference.  And look at all she has accomplished in fifty years by making us believe we can make a difference, too. That’s what I think grantwriters should learn from Jane—we must show others how their grant will make a significant impact.  Make the reader believe that their support will change lives, or change the world. (That’s the Grant Whisperer’s mantra)!

4. A single grant launched Jane’s career and the important work she set out to do.  NEVER underestimate the power of a single grant.

5. I totally agree—Tarzan hooked up with the wrong Jane!

Special Guest – Karen Kwan “Grant Writing For The Arts”

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Listen in as Karen Kwan shares her secret tips for arts organizations seeking grants. She also discusses how storytelling can make a powerful difference.

Karen Kwan specializes in institutional giving and grants management, having served as an independent grant writing consultant and development staff at various non-profit arts organizations in Silicon Valley, including San Jose Repertory Theatre, Bay Area Glass Institute, Palo Alto Art Center, Dimension Performing Arts and California Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, and raised over $5.5 million in the past six years. Karen joined Community School of Music and Arts (CSMA) in May of 2010 as its Institutional Gifts Officer.

Click on the black circle/ white arrow below to hear the 16 minute episode.

Listen to internet radio with GrantWhisperer on Blog Talk Radio

Ethics and Grantwriting

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Ethics includes a person or organization’s moral principles, values, and philosophy.  As a fundraiser and grantwriter, it is imperative to conduct oneself in a professional and ethical manner.  Consider the following:

1. You represent your organization.

2. You represent your organization’s organizational values.

3. You affect your organization’s image and reputation.

4. Your practices and your behavior affect your organization’s ability to raise funds.

Practice the profession with integrity.

At all times you must strive to demonstrate professional and ethical practices.

For grantwriters that means you should practice accountability in the way you present your organization in your grant proposals. Ensure that you inform potential grantors with accurate information, a truthful history, real accomplishments, and correct budgets, etc.

Do not exaggerate. Do not mislead. Do not lie.

Do not cover up information that would make a funder turn you down.

You also need to demonstrate sound accounting principles and practices.

Manage the gift acceptance process. (A gift acceptance policy or guidelines can define the steps your organization follows to receive and record grants and contributions).

Inform donors about the use of their funds. (Some funders will ask how their funds were used; some grantors require a written report after the funded project has ended). Some might not ask at all, but you should certainly let them know the results of the project.

Practice accountability by adhering to donor intentions.

You can only spend grant funds in the manner allowed by the approved grant proposal; or the instructions that came with the check; or, if you want to change any elements of the funded project, by approval of the grantor. (It’s important that everyone involved is on the same page regarding how the funds will be spent—BEFORE you submit the grant application)!

How Stories Can Strengthen Your Grant Proposals

Friday, February 4th, 2011

If you haven’t yet visited my Blog Talk Radio Show, this is the week to do it. Special guest Andy Goodman visited on the February 2nd episode to talk about Storytelling the Next Big Thing. He talked about the 6 categories of stories and how you as fundraisers and grantwriters could use each type of story in your organization to advance your mission. Now for those of you who have been reading my book, Grant Writing 101, you will notice that I wrote about some of these same topics that Mr. Goodman points out, although I didn’t refer to them as stories.  But he presents it differently and I like that. It is always good for you to hear things presented another way until you hear the explanation that grabs you and causes you to say, aha, I get it!

Storytelling As Best Practice

But Mr. Goodman also points out stories that are not in my book. For example, he talks about the ‘Creation Story’, which is the story of how your organization started. It’s the spirit of your organization and it’s vibrant history. These are compelling stories to gather, and as effective as his other stories not only for advancing your mission, but also for grant writing. Click here to listen to the program.

Watch Your Tone of Voice

Friday, December 10th, 2010

What does tone of voice have to do with grantwriting?  Plenty.  Just as when you’re talking to your child when they’ve done something good, or your spouse when they’ve done something bad; and just as a manger talks to you at work, tone means everything.  When you’re writing a grant proposal keep your tone in mind.

Tone of voice is your attitude.  You don’t want to come across as over-confident, yet you don’t want to come across as needy, with your hand out.  In grantwriting there is a happy medium.  That’s what you want to aim for in your grant proposal.

Often the grant itself will determine your tone. If you’re requesting a grant for ill children in a long-term care hospital, your tone will be more serious. You’d want a tone that offers a sense of hope for the children and their families (with the grantor’s support).  If you’re writing a grant for children’s musical theater, your tone will be more upbeat and fun.  But in ALL cases, your tone stays true to your organization’s mission.

You Can Write A Grant Proposal

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010
Welcome to the Grant Whisperer blog! This blog will provide tips and inspiration for those who need to write a grant proposal. If you work for a non-profit, volunteer in your community, or are involved with an organization that serves the community in some way, you may need to raise funds. The Grant Whisperer is here to help. In today’s economy, community organizations need funds more than ever. You can write a compelling proposal to gain community support and help your organization win grants to survive. I’ll let you in on grantwriting secrets. I’ll let you know when I discover new techniques. And I’ll introduce you to some grantwriting experts so we can learn from their experience together. Join in the discussion, ask questions, and get inspired to write a grant. My goal is to help you make a difference in your community. Together, we can change the world, one grant proposal at a time.

Start Blogging

Friday, May 7th, 2010

Grantwriting Tips coming Soon!