Every so often it's important to take a step back and reflect on not only your own successes but also those around you. The following are three success stories that my colleagues have shared with me and the lessons I have learned from them. These grant writers are also current eCivis Grants Professional Services team members.
1. Success Shared: Don joined us as an independent contractor in 2011. He is a federal government grant reviewer and involved in many community activities. In 2012, he won over $600,000 in 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) grants for his clients in year 1 of a three-year funding program.
Lesson Learned: After Don shared this story with me, I decided to contact all the 21st CCLC state directors to see if they had virtual peer review opportunities and if they paid a stipend for a reviewer’s time. Much to my surprise, three states responded and I submitted my qualifications. In 2013, I was selected for three peer review opportunities. Two were at the state level and one was a national peer review for the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
2. Success Shared: Judith joined our independent contractor database in 2012. She is an international grant writing consultant with a win rate topping 95%. Her successes include $500,000 in funding from the Lumina/Kresge Foundation for a network of community colleges, $250,000 in funding from the Murdock Foundation for a small rural hospital, and $3 million in contract funding from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for a hospital association that had never written a proposal.
Lesson Learned: When I first started working with Judith, she was very specific about the type of work she was interested in accepting and the required fee range for her services. What at first seemed like high fees to me now makes a lot of sense. Judith’s skill sets in her fields of expertise speak to her topic-level knowledge and track record of winning highly competitive grant awards from federal funding agencies. After sharing Judith’s credentials with potential clients, it was encouraging for me to quote higher rates and see them race to secure Judith’s services.
3. Success Shared: Kim joined our grant writing team in 2011. She has a highly successful grant writing and grants management consulting business with clients that span the U.S. One of her most memorable successes includes a $133,000 federal grant award (the only one made under the funding program in her state. The award came from the Institute of Museum and Science Services (IMLS) – Museums for American – Engaging Communities Grant Program. Kim is a highly creative writer who incorporates a storytelling approach in her community-focused grant applications. Her effective grant writing resulted in an award to the Birmingham Zoo to support its Africa Zoo School program, which planned to serve 1,200 students and 40 teachers over two years.
Lessons Learned: Kim and I have been colleagues for over a decade. We have always shared our frustrations and successes. Several years ago, we teamed to co-facilitate a grant writing workshop in her state. I have learned so many things from Kim. First, remain calm at all times. The client’s crisis is not our crisis as grant writers. Second, it’s okay to work silently and remain behind the scenes; after all, that’s when we can work our best with no interference when we’re on a deadline. Most importantly, Kim has taught me that we don’t have to have an answer for every grant project-related idiosyncrasy. It’s okay to simply say we don’t know and that we’ll get back with the client when we find the answer.
Continuing This Dialogue: This article has been like a trip down memory lane for me. I am humbled that my colleagues are so generous in sharing their successes and failures. I’d like to invite you to share your successes with our blog editor along with the lessons you’ve learned from your colleagues in the grant professional industry. Here are some food for thought questions to kick-start your memory: What did you learn from another grant professional that has helped you be the grant writer or grant manager that you are today? Have you ever observed how other grant writers or managers approach their job or consulting project and wished that you could possess the same skill sets or levels of confidence?
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