On 11/18, CLI presented a free grant writing webinar with lecturer Linda Peavy. Below the video, you will find the transcript.
Victor Bull 0:05
Good evening. And thank you for joining us for the Cleveland Life Institute grant writing webinar. I’m Victor Bull, president of the Cleveland wife Institute, and not-for-profit institute that addresses management skills for Social Entrepreneurs. Much of the information needed to apply for grants is covered in our 12-week program. Our next class begins in January of 2022. And so scholarships are available. And now Dr. Kregg Burris will introduce our speaker.
Kregg Burris 0:40
Hello, everyone. I’m so glad that you’ve been able to join us tonight, we’re still having people log on. And we appreciate it. Tonight, we have an exceptional guest as part of our ongoing outreach and ministry that we have two people Life Institute, and Tonight’s topic is grant writing. And we have I say, expert, live to tell a bit about yourself. But I’ll tell you about our connection with Linda. About two years ago, before the big pandemic, our church was looking at a special national grant. It’s called a sacred space grant through the Lilly Foundation.
We contacted Linda to come in and the year before we actually applied for the grant. And we had people from our church work on it, and is a national grant with all sorts of people applying for this. It was a sizable grant. And we didn’t get to the front door. We were really kind of shocked and disappointed because we had worked really hard on this grant. And it just didn’t go anywhere. So then we reached out to Linda and Linda, she just went right after it, she worked unbelievably hard. And we made it through that first round, really to one of the finalists. And we did not get that particular grant. But it was no fault of Linda, her hard work her knowledge, her experience was just phenomenal. And back when we had a follow-up meeting from the grant, I found out that there were other factors involved. The reason why we did not get it, again, nothing to do with Linda.
She is awesome. And so as we thought about setting up this evening for the opportunity to talk about grant writing because all nonprofits struggle with money, all organizations, whether you know, they’re all looking for how can we fund our program? How can we grow? How can we reach more people? How can we accomplish you know, the mission? And money is oftentimes what is needed money in volunteers. And so the topic of writing grants is absolutely critical. And I could not think of anyone that I’m more pleased, or happy today to have with us as part of this evening’s program is Linda PV. So a nice welcome, Linda, I’m so glad to have you. This is a joint we’ve been looking forward to. And I we just want to turn it over to you and you can begin the presentation.
Linda Peavy 3:13
Well, thank you so much. Thank you so much. Pastor Barris, I so appreciate it. I want to give thanks to Victor and utterly who’s working in the back for having me here for inviting me to spend some time to share the information I know will be helpful for you and your passion in terms of how you go about seeking grants what the process is like because it is a process and what to expect, you know, once you move through the path of seeking grants and getting grants, and then what takes place afterward. And I’m also going to share some of the nonwriting techniques that are going to be important as well. So I’m going to get started because I have a lot of information. And I’m going to share my screen and start with the presentation. And I’ll share a little bit more about myself once the presentation starts. So thank you, everyone. I’m so pleased to be here.
Thanks to everyone who’s joining us Tonight. And hopefully, this will be an extremely helpful two hours for you or an hour and a half for you. So I’m going to share my screen here and I want to make sure everyone can see me and hear me okay. All right. So can everyone see my screen and hear me okay? Is the lighting okay? Is the audio Okay? Want to make sure. Okay, I see some nodding of the head. So I’ll take that as a yes. So we’ll get started. I’m going to show you just a brief commercial, a television commercial about my company. And then I’ll get into more details about me My background in what I do.
But this will give you a pretty good overview of the work that I provide. And the work that I’ve been providing for a number of years in the area of marketing and communications, but particularly, grant writing. Unlimited you owner of a power consulting, my passion is to place your organization on the path to excellence. Are you struggling to communicate your message to reach target audiences or secure funding for marketing communications to grant writing, we’ve achieved your goals. We’ve worked with high-profile clients and have secured $17 million in funding for charter schools and nonprofits. Call today to discuss with more successful smiles and how to accomplish something. Okay, so again, that’s a little bit about my organization, slip off consulting. And I’m here to really provide to you five specific keys to looking and seeking and finding grants, specifically, specifically, I’m sorry for your social justice ministries or your programs or your projects.
And so a little bit more about me, I’ve spent the last 13 years with my company, I founded it quite some time ago. And I work a lot in the area, again, of grant writing. So over the past 13 years, I have written $17 million worth of funding, and business development for organizations, predominately nonprofits, but for profits as well. And a number of different areas, education, religious programs, low-income education, programming, youth development, programming, jobs, development, new technology, curriculum, resources, salaries, innovative programming, working a lot with different charter schools throughout the country.
I’m also often hiring for more than just grant writing, but to develop the application. So that request for a proposal I’ve written I’ve developed that proposal, I’ve been hired to score the template, whereas the grant applications come in, and there’s usually a way in which they’ve scored. And I’ve provided grant administration as well. And I also help nonprofits, not to just write the grants, but to develop those relationships and partnerships with community organizations, as well as with the funder. And we’ll talk more about that later because that’s really important. So again, write the grantee report that comes after you secure the grant. So this is just some of the work that I’ve done.
I, I certainly own my own business. I’ve been in business for 30 years. But guess what, I’ve also been the leader of a nonprofit. So I know where a lot of you are. I was the former executive director of an arts organization here. And in that position, I was brought in, and guess what, one of the first things I had to do was write a grant for my own salary. So talk about pressure. I know what it’s like to be a nonprofit that sometimes be that was the one-woman office and then literally have to write a grant for your very existence. So I know where a lot of you are. There are so many wonderful nonprofits that are doing just tremendous grassroots work. So I applaud you.
And I’ve literally spent the last 25 years working with nonprofits. I’ve started I started my business 30 years ago, but before that time, I worked with a number of different denominations, from the American Baptist churches USA where I served as the I was the associate publisher and director of marketing. I was director of marketing for the United Church of Christ for their pilgrim press publishing house. I’ve worked with so many different denominations, I served as the Communications Consultant for the progressive National Baptist Convention. So my work with faith-based communities literally goes back over 20 years.
And so why this class, right, why this class now? So there’s a couple of reasons nonprofits and for-profits need help with funding, right, you need to be able to have a diverse stream of funding. So from grants from maybe fundraisers from the capital campaign, so it needs to be diverse. And there’s a lack of qualified professional grant writers to help. So I always say there’s a difference between a professional grant writer who I am and someone who writes grants. And I often hear, unfortunately, horror stories about people who have been taken their money people tell them oh,
I’m going to promise you you give me $500. And I’ll promise that I’ll get you a grant. And that’s just not the way in which grant writing works. It is a system, it is a process. And as a qualified, professional grant writer will tell you, nothing is guaranteed. It’s all about working your way through the system. Also, grant writing is a skill, and it can be very costly. Also, I know that you’re here because you are a social entrepreneur and that you have incredible ideas and incredible programs that are in the area of social justice. And I’m going to talk about this a little bit later. But the Diversity
The equity and inclusion area is probably the hottest funding area that there is right now. So there is money available, it is about knowing where it is knowing how to get it, knowing how to present yourself in the best light, and doing the follow-through. And so here’s the secret. You don’t have to be a professional grant writer to secure grants, you need to learn the keys to writing grants that will get you to notice your application notice and approval. But again, you need to learn the process of what happens before you submit the grant, during the process of writing the grant, and then even after you’ve submitted the grant because there is a process and procedures to doing so in a successful way.
So we’re going to go through five different keys, how do you prepare, right? I want you to be able to master the critical processes before you even consider grant writing, how to do the research. So you have to determine who are the best funders for your socially conscious organization, then what to write, you’re going to learn the way in which you’re writing that will truly showcase your organization services doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned organization.
Or if you’re starting a brand new company. There are grants out there for startups, you don’t have to have been in existence for five years or 10 years. There’s there are opportunities for both. And then how do you write? How do you write specifically and in a way in which you’re presented as the best candidate for that grant? And then there are some other little secrets that I want to share with you about getting noticed, right? Because grants are super competitive. So how do you make yourself stand out in a sea of grants? And so I do want to ask you, as I go through the presentation, please, as I go through every component, write your questions into the chat. At the end of the presentation, I will go through the chat. I’ll start from the beginning and I want to answer as many questions as I possibly can after I end the presentation. So as I move through, you know, don’t be shy, please, please, please put your questions into the chat.
And so I want to start with COVID-19 because it totally changed the landscape of philanthropy and in the giving world. So before COVID-19, it was almost unheard of, for money for grants should be given to for-profit organizations, right. But one thing that COVID-19 presented was just how vulnerable for-profit organizations are, you know, there is no safety net when the money’s gone, the money is gone. And so through that realization, you had a lot of organizations, a lot of foundations, giving money, or sometimes pulling money together, that would be available for for-profit organizations. So for those of you who are entrepreneurs who are thinking about for-profit organizations know that the money is available.
So that was one huge shift that took place, money being moved into areas so that it’s available for profits. The other significant area that you’re seeing now, and it really happened because of George for you’re just seeing the pool of money available now. And that is this area of social justice and racial equity and diversity, equity and inclusion. So after the George Ford incident happen, you had foundations, you had major corporations, even mid-sized corporations, setting aside money specifically to support nonprofit organizations, specifically nonprofit but some for profits as well, that was developing or is developing or want to develop projects and programs that somehow deal with this area of social justice and racial inequality. So the money is available right now Just it’s going to be who is in the best position to be able to have a program that really speaks to this need.
Also, after COVID-19, so many organizations needed to pivot their focus, right? So especially faith-based organizations where you are accustomed to having in-person services, and now all of a sudden, right, you’re having to have church ministry online. And for some churches, this was totally new. For others. It was seamless, the transition was seamless. But for many, this was a new thing. But there’s opportunity there in terms of Well, where do you go from here, you may still want to go back into having your in-person services. But so many churches attracted so many new people because of their programming, which was online. So how are you going to continue, to take advantage of what could be new parishioners and new church members? So it really changed the way in which many faith-based organizations were doing was what was operating.
And so I want to start off with preparing to write. So even before we get into the meat of a grant application, I want to go over the basics, because some people may know this information, others may not. So I want to make sure we’re all starting from a level playing field. So a grant is a sum of money given by a government or other organization for a particular purpose, right? Grants are not paid back. Now COVID-19 made that definition. A little interesting, because as you know, with so many of the PPP, they call them loans, right. But for some organizations, they became grants that you didn’t have to pay back. And for other organizations, you did have to pay them back. But the grant grants are not paid back.
And so keep that in mind, you know, as we move through, that is what makes these opportunities so unique for organizations, this is money that’s available that you do not have to pay back. And one thing I do want to stress, especially for the nonprofit organizations, I’ll talk more about this later, your 501 C three status, that is going to be critical, right. So as you prepare to seek grants, if you are nonprofit, you will need your 501 C three, no, I do know that there are some organizations that apply for grants, they don’t have a 501 C three, they like to go through what’s called a fiscal agent. So a fiscal agent is another nonprofit that has a 501 C three that’s responsible for shepherding the money for you. But I can tell you, from my experience, over 95% of foundations, and organizations want you to have the 501 C three. And so what is it is a tax-exempt charitable organization designation that can only be provided by the Internal Revenue Service.
So if you’re a nonprofit, and you want to see grants, get your 501 C three, right now, from what I understand, it’s about a three to six-month process, with the IRS being able to sort through the applications to approve or disapprove whatever their what their decision is going to be for the 501 C three. So if it’s not something that you have, I would recommend getting that process started. And then the application proposal is simply the document that you’re going to complete in order to ask for the grant funding. So these are just some grant basics. So over 86,000 foundations in the United States in 2015, provided over 62 billion with a B billion dollars right worth of grants. 92% of those foundations were independent organizations 3% were corporate. And when I say corporate, so for example, you have an institution like KeyBank, they have their own foundation. So that’s the corporate foundation 1% were community organizations. So that’s similar to the Cleveland organization, the Cleveland Foundation, which is a community organization, however, look at the 2019 foundation giving increase to $75 billion, which was a two and a half percent increase in 2008. And I show you these stats. So you know, the money is not only there, but the money is growing. And so as you prepare to write, I’m an editor. S
o I’m a real stickler about grammar, regardless of whether or not you’re a professional writer or not. Just please, I ask people just go through basic writing, just so that you know so that you’re prepared. These are the five basic writing skills proper spelling and punctuation. You don’t want to have spelling errors grammar errors in your application. Good reading comprehension. So what you’re writing the sentence that you’re writing. If I was to read it, am I comprehending what it is that you want me to understand? sentence and paragraph structure, there are nine different sentence structures, knowledge of different types of writing or writing a novel right?
Writing points is different than writing a dissertation. Editing and rewriting, I cannot stress that enough editing and rewriting, I always edit and rewrite every grant application that I’ve ever written. I’ve written hundreds, I don’t know probably 1000s. At this point, I always edit them. There are always rewrites, there’s no such thing as a perfect grant application. There will be pieces of it that you need to reread and rewrite and do the editing. I happen to love Grammarly, which is an editing software package, I have the professional Grammarly, which, if you can afford it, I highly recommend that you get it, I think is maybe about $100 a year. But I love Grammarly. Because as you’re writing, it will notate better sentence structure, grammar. Again, I have the professional version. But I stated here because I want you to be able to look at this particular article. And I’ll make sure that this gets put into the chat, improve writing skills dramatically by doing these 15 things, this article is so fantastic. It doesn’t matter if again if you’re a professional writer, I’ve been writing for a long time I read it and I was helped by it. So I’m going to highly recommend that you be sure to go to this article is absolutely fantastic.
And it will help it will make you a better writer. So again, you’re preparing for grant writing, there are documents that you need, your EIN your employer identification number, again, that 501 C three document if you are a nonprofit, again, don’t use a fiscal agent, if at all possible. Most nonprofits will not approve grants to a fiscal agent. And this is really, really important, especially for your for-profit organizations and your nonprofits, make absolutely sure that you are in good standing with your state, go to the Secretary of State website, make absolutely sure that you are legally allowed to operate in your state. I was giving a webinar literally a couple of days ago, a young lady got into the chat and said she wanted a grant because she was the only organization that applied who was in good standing with her state. And she was able to document that.
So this is so important to make absolutely sure that you are in good standing with your state and that you’re legally allowed to function and to have a business that operates your list of Board of Directors’ list of staff that’s critical. We’ll go into some of these as we move forward with letters of support. Absolutely important. Those of whom you’ve worked for those of whom you have provided some type of service to organizations in the community that know the work. Please gather your letters of support before you start the grant writing process because you never know what timeline they’re on. So if you have a grant that’s coming up, and that deadline is a couple of days, you don’t want to just start sending out your letters of support, you want to have them already available. Your audit financial statement. Now let me just say a couple of words about this. So many of the major organizations require an audited financial statement.
That’s not true for every foundation. That’s not true for every funder, but when they ask whether or not you do have an audited financial statement, it is what they expect you to be able to provide. But it goes back to make sure and this is so important that your financial documents are in order. Do you have a current balance sheet? Do you have a current income statement? I can’t tell you how many nonprofits I talked to that want to go after grants but they don’t have their financial documents in order. So this is very important. Again, the audited financial statement is a requirement for some foundations and funders. But not all will state what their requirements are in their grant guidelines.
Also, your current operating budget what do you expect Back to be your revenues. How are you functioning based on a certain number of revenues versus your expenses? Most of the grant applications will require the current operating budget. And also think about any other funders that you have. Because this becomes really important. If you have other organizations that have donated to you that have provided in-kind services that have provided grant money, any of your supporters create that list, because no foundation of funder wants to be your sole source of income, they want to know whether or not you’ve been able to get funding from other organizations. And in many cities,
I can tell you that if if you’re able to get funding from the major foundations, sometimes it’s a little easier for you to get funding from some of the smaller ones because they know that you’ve been able to prove yourself to the larger foundations and the larger organizations. So they’re going to see that you’ve been basically bedded right by some of the other larger nonprofits that provide funding. And so again, you’re preparing the process of grant writing. So there are typically two types of grants, grants for general operating support, and then your program slash project. Grant, you have to decide what you’re going to apply for knowing that only about 32% of foundations even provide general operating support to their grantees. Most funders want to support a program or a project, you have to decide what’s best for you. Think about where you are, do you need infrastructure? Do you need money to create a framework for your organization? Do you need a building? Do you not have it? Do you not have a specific?
Whether it’s independent contractors, or are salary personnel? What is it that you really need most in your organization? And then you determine, Well, should I be going after general operating support? Or do I already have an established program and I really need money to support that particular program? So next, we go into how do you do the research, right? How do you find a foundation or a funder that’s going to meet the needs of your organization? Well, finding grants is kind of like searching for you know, that awesome collectible at a flea market for those of you who visit flea markets, right? They rarely just like land out of the clear blue sky in your lap, you really have to go digging for them. And this makes sense as it’s money that you get to use for your awesome programs. So you should have to put in some work to be able to find that perfect match for your organization. So how do you go about doing the research?
Well, these are a number of grants search engines that you can use for your research candidate that org is the leading resource for information on philanthropy. They have access to literally millions of grants. It is a paid subscription, I think is about $50 a month. If you’re looking for federal grants, you’re going to grants.gov grant watch calm. I like Grant watch because they’re organized by subject area really well. And they also provide last-minute grants. If you specifically have grants that are for minority organizations, urban awareness. usa.org is a fantastic organization that provides training, they provide a consistent list of different grants. Grant Station comm really provides in-depth information on funders, planning tools, and tutorials.
If you are an educational organization, firstname.lastname@example.org is great. And then grant don’t I’m sorry, Grant Gopher again is really great for educational organizations. Now for religious organizations. The Lilly Foundation is absolutely the largest funder for religious institutions in the country. They provide a multitude of different grants from RE completely redoing your business, the structure of your church, if you’re doing renovations, if you’re planting churches, if you’re trying to grow your ministry, the Lilly Foundation is just the number one resource for religious support in terms of grants in the United States.
And so I believe all of these I know there’s a fee for a candidate for grant watch grants.gov is completely free, urban awareness is free, you sign up to get their emails, now they do charge for training Grant Station is fee-based, get at funding. COMM I believe is free. So you’ll have to go on that website and then grant gulper, Lilly foundation is an organization. So you can always go on their website and sign up for their newsletters. So these are some of the mechanisms that you’re going to use to search for an organization that is going to match your mission. And that’s really key is aligning the mission of that foundation with the mission of your organization. And so that’s how you go about doing the research, right. So if the mission of the foundation is to help disabled veterans, and your organization is a veteran-based organization, that’s going to be a match. So in all of those search engines, when you go to the website, there are incredible search mechanisms there.
You can search organizations, by city, by state, by their areas of interest. And that’s what you’re really looking for their areas of interest, where they find them, and you want to make sure that there’s a match there. That’s one of the reasons why so many organizations don’t get funding. They look at some of the major foundations like the Ford Foundation, and they know that they have tons of money, or they look at the Gates Foundation but are they funding, what your particular organization is providing? Is there a match there between the mission of the foundation and the mission of your organization? So the more you know about your potential funders, right, you’re going to use that grant list to find who they are. And then the more you know about them, the better chances are you have been awarded because there’s a match there. And I do significant amounts of research. And sometimes if I’m working, for example, for a veterans-based organization, and I’m researching for foundations, I’ll look and see.