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An Update from Growth Grant Recipient Tricia Gopalakrishnan

After many weeks of research and looking into different Grant Writing programs, I decided that this advanced course would best help me to improve my grant writing skills and, eventually, help me further my career. I’m really excited to share with you that this course taught me a lot of intricate details about grant writing that I’ve been waiting to learn and this information benefited me greatly!

The main objectives I learned from Dr. Bev Browning were:

• Becoming proficient in the proposal format used by the vast majority of public foundations

• Learning what to do and what not to do on your cover sheet, narrative, background page, and your stakeholder and third-party evaluation plan

• Discovering the quickest and most efficient ways to gather the information you will need to develop your proposal's attachments, including information on your organization's structure, administration, and finances.

• Gaining a full understanding of the criteria funders use to determine whether your grant proposal gets funded or rejected.

Dr. Bev Browning structured each lesson to include the overall breakdown of how a grant should be written, what information grant funders look for in each section, why each section is important, how the sections should be formatted and written, and websites/links for more learning.

The section that benefited me the most was the point of view from the grant funders. As a newer grant writer, I always wondered how grant funders choose their grantees from the hundred of proposals they receive. It was a truly a mystery to me until Dr. Bev broke each section down and explained what information grant funders are looking for and why the information is relevant. For example, in the Partnerships section of the grant, grant funders are genuinely interested in the applicants organization. Foundation and corporate program officers, as well as government peer grant reviewers are trained to look for information detailing the applicant organization's linkages to other organizations. Up to this point in time, I hadn’t been paying too much attention to this section. In my mind, it wasn’t the most important part of my proposal. To my amazement, Dr. Bev stated that partnerships are actually a very important of the proposal because it can answer some very important questions that the grant funder has about our organization or program such as, “Do the partners represent a broad sector of the applicant organization's target population?” and “What is the level of each partner's commitment; is it contribution monetary or in-kind?” Her explanation made me take a second look at this section of my proposal and rewrite it to include more in depth details about our partnerships.

Another take away from this class was learning how to better structure the objectives for my programs. She taught me how to write SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound) objectives and provided me with examples she has written from her past grant proposals. This information truly was invaluable because objectives and outcomes have been a challenge for me. Providing me with questions to ask myself when writing my objectives such as, “Who or what is expected to change or benefit” or “When will the change occur or is a completion date specified” really helped me to write SMART objectives and avoid vague generalities. After reading this section a few times, I really believe that my objectives are a lot of stronger and truly provide much more valuable information to the program officer or grant peer reviewer reading our proposals.

Overall, this course was extremely beneficial to me and I learned so much! I cannot thank the Young Nonprofit Professional Network enough for investing in me. This opportunity to learn and grow in the nonprofit sector truly has been life changing. I can’t wait to explore different classes to take later this year!

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