As a nonprofit leader, you face the constant challenge of securing funds to keep your organization running smoothly. With so many grant opportunities available, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. That’s why I want to introduce you to Meredith Noble. Co-founder of Learn Grant Writing, who discovered her passion for grant writing during the 2008 economic recession. Through her online platform, Meredith shares grant writing tips and strategies with others in the nonprofit sector. Join us on this journey as we uncover the secrets to working smarter, not harder, in the quest for funding. By implementing these grant writing tips, you’ll learn how to build a prosperous nonprofit organization that thrives in today’s competitive landscape.
Meredith Noble’s Journey
Meredith began her career in grant writing after graduating during the 2008 economic recession. Unable to find work, she conducted informational interviews to identify potential career opportunities and ultimately discovered her passion for grant writing. After working as a full-time grant writer for an engineering firm, she burned out and vowed never to write another grant again. However, she soon found herself consulting and teaching others how to write grants, eventually leading her to create Learn Grant Writing, where she shares grant writing tips and strategies.
The Global Grant Writers Collective
Learn Grant Writing is best known for its Global Grant Writers Collective, an online community for those looking to improve their grant writing skills or build their careers in the field. The platform offers a comprehensive course, community group, and coaching program that aims to provide unparalleled support and education for grant writers. Participants in the program include both freelance grant writers and those working within nonprofit organizations, all seeking to learn and implement grant writing tips.
Becoming a Grant Writing Unicorn
Meredith’s journey continued with her book, “How to Write a Grant: Become a Grant Writing Unicorn.” She developed an efficient process for writing by outlining, audio recording, and transcribing her thoughts before editing the final version. The book is divided into three sections. The first answers the top 10 questions she’s asked as a grant writer. The second section addresses questions she wishes people would ask. Lastly, the third section focuses on mindset, including the Dunning-Kruger effect and its impact on learning new skills.
The Dunning-Kruger effect describes a pattern in which people initially feel highly confident when starting something new, but their confidence quickly drops as they realize how much they don’t know. Understanding this principle helps individuals embrace the learning process and persevere in gaining competence.
Building a Successful Grant Writing Business and a Balanced Funding Strategy
Meredith emphasizes the importance of a solid funding strategy for nonprofits and advises against the “spray and pray” method of writing as many grants as possible. Instead, she encourages grant writers to focus on creating a well-rounded revenue portfolio for their organization, with grants serving as the icing on the cake rather than the foundation. A diverse funding portfolio can include individual donations, corporate sponsorships, and earned income, among other sources.
Meredith also explains that a grant should ideally make up no more than 20% of a nonprofit’s overall budget to ensure financial stability. A well-planned funding strategy should outline the grants you plan to pursue over the next 12 to 18 months, ensuring that they have a high likelihood of success and offer a good return on investment in terms of resources and time.
Strategic Grant Writing and Building Strong Relationships
The key to successful grant writing lies in critical thinking and research. Rather than blindly applying for any and every grant opportunity that crosses your path, take the time to carefully evaluate each one. Determine whether it aligns with your organization’s mission and if it’s worth the time and effort to pursue. Additionally, it’s essential to build relationships with grantmakers throughout the year. This will not only help you gain a better understanding of their priorities and requirements, but it can also increase your chances of being awarded funding when the time comes to submit an application. Implementing these grant writing tips can significantly impact your organization’s success.
Creating a Prosperous Nonprofit
Meredith believes that a prosperous nonprofit is one that invests in its employees and supports their professional development. This not only helps retain valuable team members. It ensures the organization stays up-to-date with the latest grant writing techniques and strategies. By working smarter, focusing on a comprehensive funding strategy, and diversifying revenue sources, nonprofits can build a stronger foundation and ultimately achieve greater success.
Meredith emphasizes the importance of finding patterns in our work, planning ahead, and being intentional in our actions. This approach creates spaciousness, which she believes is the key to a prosperous nonprofit. By focusing on high-impact tasks and following Pareto’s principle (the 80/20 rule), nonprofits can prioritize their most important work and create a viable, prosperous organization.
Ongoing Support for Grant Writers
One of the unique aspects of Learn Grant Writing’s program is its focus on providing ongoing support for grant writers, even after they’ve completed the initial course. Members can access additional content and resources as they reach new career milestones. This ensures they continue to grow and develop their skills over time and learn new grant writing tips.
Resources for Aspiring Grant Writers
To learn more about grant writing, Meredith recommends visiting LearnGrantWriting.org for a free class and a helpful budget template. You can also find her book, “How to Write a Grant: Become a Grant Writing Unicorn,” on Amazon or at your local bookstore.
Becoming a grant writing unicorn takes dedication, mindset, and strategic planning. By understanding the principles that underpin the learning process, finding patterns in our work, and applying effective grant writing tips, we can create spaciousness in our lives and achieve success in the nonprofit world.
Links mentioned in this episode:
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