But I Don’t Know What to Write a Grant About!
When I teach students in my grantwriting and program development classes, one of the most frustrating aspects of the process is having students not be aware of any problems that need fixing in their communities.
On the other hand, one of the most rewarding aspects of the classes is getting students to just open their eyes and ears to see and hear more clearly what is going on around them.
Reading beyond the textbook is clearly helpful but even better is to have contact with people outside of one’s own usual networks. Social work students should be immersed in situations where they see issues, problems and needs. Public administration students should have the opportunity to get outside of city hall to interact with residents in parts of town that often don’t see many representatives of governmental institutions. Business students are not exempt from this call to action, either, as the world of nonprofits and social services have a need for their skills, too.
Even seasoned practitioners may want to ask if this quote applies to them as well. We all can become overly used to the status quo. It’s comfortable. We know what to expect and we know the situation. But it is easy to become blind to emerging problems and new concerns when we know about the concerns and cares we are already working to ease.
The value of strategic planning is that it sets time aside to look, once more, at our surroundings. Maybe what we’ve focused on has been eclipsed in importance. Taking the time to look, to hear, to touch, the actual world around us and the people in it, may send us new signals, and new directions to add to our itinerary.
If you’re interested in more thoughts on contemporary social work macro practice, grantwriting and other nonprofit-related topics, be sure to read my blog at richardhoefer.com