Grant Writing Gone Wrong: A Story (Sort Of) Based On True Events

2018-11-30T10:36:28+00:00July 23rd, 2018|Tags: |
  • Grant Writing Gone Wrong: A Story (Sort Of) Based On True Events

In the late summer of 2018, General Director Miranda O’Riley calls upon her nonprofit’s volunteers to answer the call and take up their keyboards in an effort to focus its fundraising tactics on grant writing. After several rejection letters and months of social networking, the plan achieves its first great success.

But as the nonprofit becomes more reliant on grants, its fundraising capabilities quickly dwindle. Poor cost-benefit analyses soon lead to diverted budgets and shoddy one-time estimates. To alleviate her organization’s anemic programs, O’Riley ambushed her benefactors in a midnight asset raid, floating the nonprofit’s programs with its operating reserve. Historians and accountants will later call this move “a head-scratcher.”

In a last-ditch effort, General Director O’Riley orders her officers to work overtime, competing for a federal grant well over $500,000. One such officer, Rider Blokk — a debonair loose-cannon with a brash spirit — quickly rises through the ranks under O’Riley and was promoted full-time to Major Grant Officer, First Class. This is his story.

My dearest Martha,

It is with a heavy heart that I type this email on my eight-year-old laptop. Words can only express to my betrothed how I long to return home to my kith and kin. Alas, I must burn the energy-efficient lightbulbs at both ends once more this evening. Lest I not be able to email you for another day, I’m compelled to write some words that do not pertain to my Letter Of Intent’s second draft.

The General Director has indicated our movements to be swift as we approach yet another deadline for an infernal federal grant. The other officers are confident in our victory, but I can only practice careful pragmatism in the face of fundraising. Our programs owe a great deal of gratitude toward our earliest grantmakers, born in the morning stages of our great cause. Yet, our recent tactics only see the painful eyes of rejection, our unsolicited proposals blasted to oblivion like pawns in an unnecessarily violent chess match. Umpteen attempts to scale the networking wall on LinkedIn have been repelled, and I fear it is only a matter of time before our field intelligence goes dark and future advances will be rerouted.

For years since past, our morale was kept abreast almost entirely by our grant writing prowess. We seized our short-term investments and clung to our mission statement as we marched through foundations’ doorways. But now, in our darkest time of turnover, mission creep has shifted the landscape and unrestricted funds are but manna in the desert.

I have sought, with the most due of diligence, for benefactors willing and able to match our previous grants, all to no avail. They are mesmerized — no, blinded — by our overhead faux pas and are hesitant to lend any aid, much less an in-kind donation. How gladly would I turn back the timecard and invest my efforts into a giving day or peer-to-peer fundraiser. Yet our deadline is nigh, and the coffee reserve diminishes with every conference call.

O Martha, how the sweat springs from my brow with every key stroke and cost-benefit projection! Should this proposal not fill our deepest desires, I shall be fraught with malaise and contempt for my Microsoft Word template. Yet, in the throes of ambition, I embrace the forthcoming trifles as a gateway to future financial stability.

Maybe someday, we will view this infamous grant proposal through rose-colored glasses, standing on the shoulders of a diversified fundraising portfolio. I can only pray the Program Officers see our timeline as concise, our needs statement as detailed, and our budget frugal.

If I should not succeed in my efforts to curtail this negative flow, tell my mother I love her dearly. If I should not make it back by Sunday night, please save a plate for me in the fridge and I will microwave it later.

All my love,

Rider Blokk
Major Grant Officer, First Class

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