Granting useful behavior

Hmmm, two food posts in a row. Time to change things up a bit. I know, I’ll do a book review.

Demystifying Grant Seeking, by the Browns, Larissa Golden and Martin John.

For a while, back when I was in charge of a library, I worked on some grants. I figured out some things, but really wish I’d had this book back then.

It is not a book on how to write grants. No, it’s better. It’s how to set up and run a grant-writing office that’s tailored to your organization. It does so with several simple but brilliant acts.

One of the brilliant things it makes you do is break the normal grant process. Normal is, “Hey, there’s a grant that’s sorta in our field, let’s apply.” Here, it’s “Hey, this is our mission and these are our projects and objectives and such. NOW, let’s see who is giving groups like us money. Finally, let’s apply.” It seems obvious phrased that way, but it’s not.

The authors take the time to discuss how to organize your files for optimum work – and do so in paper first and computer later. As an information specialist I’m going to tell you that THAT section is priceless. See, it’s not only how to do it but WHY to do it that way. You get two great bonuses from that sort of instruction. With that learning you’re able to expand to handle things that don’t quite fit. And you also are able to understand if your office works just a bit differently so you have to NOT use that system. (With a bit of stretching, knowing why and knowing how you’re different can get you a long way to setting up YOUR system.)

Unlike pretty much every other grantwriting book I’ve read, this one assumes you’re going to keep writing grant requests, and that if at all possible you’re going to be back to your grant sources next year and the year after that. In other words, it helps you pace yourself and organize yourself for the long haul instead of “big payoff now, suck gas forever more.”

If you’re connected to the grants people in a non-profit or any other organization which uses grants, you need to read this book. I’ll go even further. If you request money on a cyclical basis from other organizations – loans, grants, whatever – you need to read this book.

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