One reason I enjoy grant writing is its predictability. The person, foundation, or organization – the grantmaker – asks for specific information. A good response gathers the information requested, puts it into a compelling story, and adds just a little bit more than asked for. When you’ve done grant proposals for a dozen years, it’s no big deal.
Biographies though … even short ones … made me a bit nervous. Would you like to know why?
I recently mentioned that nonprofits are some of my heroes. They are part of an entire community I admire. This community includes nonprofits, grantmakers and local leaders.
I’ll say more about the grantmakers another time. But a vital part of our nonprofit community are the local community leaders. At the intersection of these three parties, services are proposed, funded, and delivered.
Local community leaders sit on nonprofit boards of directors, where they provide guidance and oversight. They open their networks, connecting nonprofits to community resources. They make funding matches successful. When it comes to supporting grant pursuits, they provide an intangible but critical element…Credibility.
We help nonprofits work through capacity issues-their ability to meet and surmount challenges and to sustain their missions into the years beyond a grant. The presence of just one exemplary leader on a nonprofit board offers the grantmaker reassurance and peace of mind. Because of their interactions in the community, you’ll often find a non-profit board has not one, but several active business and community leaders.
You might not know these fine people by name. But when you see good things happening where you live, they—or people like them—are probably playing an important role.
Speaking of stretching, look into a nonprofit that is doing something meaningful to you. Take a deep breath, then volunteer! Who knows? I may be asked to write your biography one day soon. I’m getting much more comfortable with it.