Thursday, May 21, 2015

Book Review: Grant Writing For Dummies by Beverly A. Browning

Ugh. This book was a slog. But I made it through the whole thing.

I get it, there are an awful lot of different types of nonprofits looking for different types of grants, but I was disappointed. The author mostly went after the low-hanging fruit. Every once in a while she'd acknowledge that an organization might not have had previous grants and therefore can't show success, but her only solution is, if you're new, partner with someone. If you're not, you're screwed. That's not super-helpful. All her examples are things like getting funding for a program to improve childhood literacy or getting a grant for a program to feed hungry families in a neighborhood. That's all well and good but what if you're at a nonprofit that essentially doesn't have fundable programs (trust me, this exists. It's the nonprofit I'm trying to write grants for.) What if what you need is money for general operating expenses? She mentions in passing once that getting GOE money is possible, but that's it. No tips on how to do it. No suggestion on what types of grantees to look for. And she's also assuming that the grantwriter is a full-time professional, who has time to make dozens and dozens of calls before and after the grant, not a volunteer doing this on nights and weekends who just doesn't have that kind of time. I also was unimpressed with her admitted dislike of new technologies like online grant submissions.

I did learn a bit and I will use some of the information, but I felt the author had a supercilious tone and didn't seem to understand what this process is like for the little people. In fact, for underfunded nonprofits with no paid staff and no fundable programs, the message of this book is Just give up. It shouldn't be.

I bought this book at Barnes & Noble.

1 comment:

Justin Cline said...

I just wrote a piece on finding funding for underfunded nonprofits and it can be very, very difficult. Websites like Charity Navigator funnel most of the money to all of the largest and most well established nonprofits, leaving younger and less well funded nonprofits behind.

My site is not a nonprofit, but we are a health and wellness shop that seeks to raise money for nonprofits. My site is not the only one out there that wants to do this, so there are some options available for partnerships.

Something I'm looking into now is to offer affiliate commissions exclusively to nonprofits so that whenever they bring customers to the store, you make money for the nonprofit. This is another example of what's possible, ways of earning some revenue even before your grantwriting is done.

good luck to all