January 6th, 2010 12:45 EST
Difference Between a Good "Grant Writer" and a Good "Grant Getter"
People ask me frequently if I know of a good grant writer. I used to think that it was possible to find an excellent grant writer by going on one of the many websites, such as http://www.elance.com or http://www.guru.com and finding someone who is highly experienced in complying with the forms, formats and the rules of the various grants that are available for businesses, non-profits, and other organizations.
But as I`ve gotten involved in the non-profit world, and as I`ve become surrounded by people who are the most outstanding grant writers (judged by their ability to procure millions of dollars) I`ve come to realize that it`s not about being a good grant writer. If I was to go out and hire someone, I would not look for a good grant writer. From now on, all I want is a good "grant getter."
This is not a joke, and it`s not semantics. The difference between a good grant writer and a good grant getter is millions of dollars and an enormous amount of experience to boot.
It should have been obvious to me, based on the way that I conduct my own business, but I somehow thought that the non-profit or grant world was different. But it`s not.
In my for-profit world -- including venture capital, real estate syndication, and hard money -- people do business with people they know. People do business with people they trust. In the money business, it`s a pretty tight circle. So why should the grant business be any different? It turns out that it`s very much the same.
The difference between a good "grant writer" and a good "grant getter" is networking.
The best "grant getters" are the ones who are in the field, talking to the people who are putting out the money. Grants are not documents in libraries. Grants are placements of capital by real people at real organizations that really have an interest in doing good, based on whatever the criteria and parameters are that they have established.
The best "grant getters" are the ones who are networking with the people who have the money, just like the best people who raise business capital are networking with the venture capitalists, the angel investors and others who write the checks.
Consider Juana Lambert. As the CEO of the Los Angeles Boys & Girls Club (one of the premier Clubs in the nation), Juana is responsible for "making it happen" for the 7,000 children that the Club serves. As a member of the Los Angeles Boys & Girls Club`s Board of Directors, I know what Juana produces. Under Juana`s grant-getting administration, the Club has taken in several million in grants from federal, state, and city agencies -- not to mention private organizations.
Last year Juana helped the Club to raise nearly $750,000 to build a state of the art "Dodger Dream Field" on an acre of valuable Club real estate. Juana has also procured hundreds of thousands more dollars for upcoming renovation projects, including the repair of our Olympic-size swimming pool and gymnasium facilities. Our Board has worked in concert with Juana through our careful stewardship on the implementation side of the capital improvement projects.
It`s no different in any segment of the money business. The best "grant getters" know where the money is. They know who the people are who have the money. They have a strong sense about exactly what it is that they`re looking for, and as "grant writers", they know how to put together the package in a way that`s compliant with the rules of the grant so that when the opportunity presents itself to ask for the money, they not only write it down accurately, but they also are in touch with the people who are giving away the money.
This helps in two ways. First, they only apply for the money that`s realistically available to them. Secondly, if they have some inside knowledge about what the grant providers want to promote or accomplish, then they`ll have a good shot at getting the money that they`re asking for by emphasizing the right benefits or attributes.
Keep this in mind next time you need to raise some money. Does the person who you choose to help raise the capital or get the grant know the people who they`re talking to? How well do they know the space? How well do they know the surrounding issues that the people providing the capital or the grants really care about?
If you don`t get those questions answered in advance, then you`re probably not going to succeed with your fundraising initiative.
Remember, just like good grant writing is superseded by good grant getting, good business plan writing is really superseded by exceptional fundraising. Because at the end of the day, "show me the money" is the name of the game.
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We are in the real estate syndication business. We invest in properties and we offer seminars to assist others in acquiring the skills needed to syndicate properties. This topic is very relevant for helping you in raising funds or investment capital for any real estate investment, whether it be for commercial property or another kind of investment property.
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About Joel G. Block, President of Growth-Logic, Inc. Often dubbed a "Growth Architect" by his clients, Joel Block advises companies on explosive growth strategies by driving revenue and sales. Well known in the capital markets, Joel is a successful entrepreneur, speaker, advisor and faculty member of the iLearningGlobal community.
To bring Joel into your company, please visit http://www.joelblock.com or http://www.growth-logic.com. Also, be sure to check out our newest project: a blog to organize the blogs that cover entrepreneurship -- http://www.entrepreneur-hub.com. And finally, for film makers: http://www.hollywood-dream.com/ and http://www.filmfundingblog.com -- our newest projects.