Monday, April 4, 2011

My New Favorite Grants Book!

Grant Writing 101:  Everything You Need to Start Raising Funds Today by Victoria M. Johnson really is my new favorite book on grants and fundraising in the broadest sense.

It's not unusual for me to be asked to review books on grantseeking or other issues related to nonprofits - either by authors themselves or by their publishers - but what is unusual is for me to be totally head over heels for one of these works.  I even plan on giving this book as a gift to friends and colleagues in need!

And here's why:

Johnson's guide is an on-point, need-to-know arsenal for those seeking funding.  No time is wasted in obtuse theory or historical ramblings; this book is aimed at those eager to jump right in and grab their fundraising reins.

The author rightly insists that one must know one's organization, its program(s), and the purpose of the funding sought before researching potential funding partners or putting pen to paper to write a grant proposal.  Why?  Because if you don't know what you're looking for, how can you find it?

Johnson translates the multitude of "types of support" variously referred to in grantmaker literature into seven purpose-driven categories--to which novices and gurus alike can relate.  Types of grantmakers are similarly organized into nine flavors, briefly defined, that serve to quickly orient one to the world of funding sources.

With this basic groundwork in place, Johnson then turns to the different questions one must answer with each of the various parts of a proposal.  In-text examples of do's, don'ts, sample wording, and even budget layouts are blocked and highlighted to catch the reader's attention at the point of need during the reading and writing process. 

But, no, she doesn't stop there, the author graciously and wisely prompts the reader not to stop once a proposal has been submitted, but instead use the opportunity to prepare for one's future fundraising needs.  For instance:  How might a grantseeker appropriately communicate with potential funders before and after submitting a grant?  What does a grant matrix look like and why do you need one?  What does an extremely short grant application look like--or an incredibly thorough one?  Different grantmakers will be looking for different formats.  Johnson helpfully closes her book with a variety of sample proposals and a resource list for further learning.

I never thought I'd say this, but if I could only recommend one grant book and one only--this would be it.  For now J

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