Trends in the Grant World 2014

“It’s a jungle out there.” – Randy Newman, songwriter

The past twelve months have been very challenging on the foundation grant front. If you work in a Jungle monkey and babynonprofit, I hope that you budgeted your expected grant dollars conservatively! It has been harder to obtain grant funds recently in Massachusetts. Why?  Note the following  trends.

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WHY PERCENTAGE-BASED COMPENSATION IS BAD NPO BUSINESS

Many smart business people like to pay people based on a percentage of their performance. If you make more sales, get more contracts, you get a bigger cut of the business brought in.  The number one question I have been asked over time is if I am paid though a percentage of grant funds that I obtain.

The answer is no – never. Like most other professionals, I charge a flat hourly fee. Development professionals who are members of the Association of Fundraising Professionals abide by a strict code of ethics that forbids percentage-based compensation, since it is a conflict of interest. What? Many business people work under a percentage-based model, you say. And that is correct.

But non-profit organizations are fundamentally different than for-profit organizations. The mission of a non-profit is not to make money, like their for-business counterparts, but rather to meet a community need. The business of philanthropy is to meet community needs, for which individuals get a tax write off.  If you insert a person in between your organization and Ms. Big Donor or Mr. Foundation to raise money, you want to be sure that person has your best interest in mind, not theirs.

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Do you REALLY need a Grant Writer?

So you think you need a grant writer. You have done your research, and have landed at Proposals, Etc.  Problem solved. Well, you aren’t quite there yet. At Proposals, Etc. we are expert proposal writers. Proposal writers that are very successful at obtaining grant funds.

Grant Writers Versus Proposal Writers

Unfortunately, we don’t write grants. Grant writers are the people at foundations and corporations who actually sign off on the money to give you. What a fun job they have, yes? If you need help formulating the proposals to get access to those funds, then we are your professional proposal-writing team!  So the next time someone asks you whether you need a grant writer or a proposal writer, say yes. The correct answer is that you need both.