What’s the #1 Biggest Timewaster for Learning to Write Grants?

How to go straight to the winning column instead!

What is the #1 Time Waster for Learning to Write Grants?

What is the #1 Time Waster for Learning to Write Grants?

The first and second times I wrote a grant were hard (see my #1 best-selling on Amazon book Funded! Successful Grantwriting for Your Nonprofit for the full story).  Plus they were unsuccessful, so it wasted my time and the tie of the people who reviewed them.

It’s embarrassing to admit, but since I was a brand-new intern, as well as a neophyte grantwriter, it shouldn’t be too surprising. But those three words haunt me to this day, and led me to want to assist aspiring grantwriters in the future, if I ever got good at the task.

The three words I’m referring to are…

Trial and Error.

Some things are good for trial and error.  Learning to walk, for example.  Learning to write a bicycle, or skateboard.  It’s an ok approach with magic tricks (except the one with sawing the person in half—that’s not so good for trial and error!).

But grantwriting?

Not so much.

Writing grants is much more of a high wire, no-net sort of activity.  If the funds don’t come in, programs can be cut, jobs lost, and clients left without services.  So, if the bet you can do to learn is trial and error, you’re endangering a lot of important elements of a nonprofit.

Can you learn a lot by trial and error?  Of course!  But it is a slow and inefficient approach to learning.

What can you do instead?

I’ve got a solution to the problem of losing a lot of grant proposals by depending on trial and error.

It’s called the Funded! Successful Grantwriting for Your Nonprofit online grantwriting course.  It’s based on my #1 book of the same name, and is the exact same material that students in my graduate level grantwriting course get.

This is not some one or two day workshop—leaving you on your own to continue the time and money-wasting “trial and error” mistake.  This is the same as a three hour graduate course that leads you from never having written a grant to being able to submit it successfully.

Stop wasting time—get Funded! By checking out the material here.

Stop wasting time!  Go get Funded!



Grantwriters’ #1 Problem and What to Do About It

My mother's advice just doesn't work!


Why don't you work ahead__ (rh.com)

When I was in college, I once told my mother how busy I was and what the work demands were.  Like mothers everywhere, she wanted to help, so she gave me the following advice:

“Why don’t you just work ahead a little bit every day?”

“Thanks, what a great idea!  Why didn’t I think of that?” was my unspoken thought.

When grantwriters tell me what their #1 challenge is, there’s sort of a similar dynamic—I’m told over and over again, that the most difficult challenge is that there’s never enough time in the day to research the grant opportunities from government and foundations, develop relationships with potential funders, research needs in the community, find evidence-based solutions to propose, work with program staff to ensure the plans made are realistic, coordinate budgets with the financial people in the agency, write the actual proposal, submit it on time, and do this on top of their other work.

I’m curious why this happens, but I definitely don’t ask them “Why don’t you work ahead?”

What I do ask, though, is what they do when the work can be crushing and the tendency to abandon “self-care” is strong.

Here are some of the actual responses I’ve received:

  • “I schedule my work in blocks of time.”
  • “Better time management.”
  • “Working a lot.”
  • “I carve out time weekend days to write grants.”
  • “Better communication as to why it is in their interest to give me the information I need.”
  • “Spending more personal time on grantwriting.”

These are short-term solutions, at best, as are many more that I hear.  But so often, it sounds like they’re just telling themselves to “work ahead”.

When this doesn’t work, it may lead to another case of grantwriter burnout, like the grantwriter who said “I’ve basically given up.” Or the one who admitted “I’m looking for another job.”

Other grantwriters tell me a different story, one that sounds more hopeful, and one that pulls in resources beyond just themselves.

  • “I work more closely with my CEO/mentor.”
  • “To talk with the different people to generate ideas.”

Sometimes, grantwriters have no one else in their organization to turn to for mentorship, or they feel that they don’t want to be vulnerable in asking for help from within their organization.

I’ve been in that spot, and I know how valuable it can be to have someone to talk ideas over with, or seek counsel from, or just get a fresh perspective from.  Even this can be hard to do, if you don’t have anyone you trust to be objective and knowledgeable.

You may not have ever thought to hire someone to be that person who coaches and mentors you, who can give you a clear critique of a current draft of a proposal, or just help you with information you might not know.

I could be that person for you, just as I have with many others.

Not forever, not for the long term, not even for very many hours.  But just enough to let you relax and talk over a few ideas, and to help you get over a particular stumbling block.

You don’t need a lot of help, or very often.  But you may need it now as grant season heats up again (as it always does in the Spring).

Aren’t you tired of facing the grind and the #1 challenge of grantwriters all on your own?

The fee is affordable and well-worth the hope and help you’ll receive.

If this is something you’d like to consider, email me at richard@richardhoefer.com .  We’ll set up a time to see if what I can do is what you need doing.  If not, no harm done.

Write to set up a time to chat—there’s nothing to lose and possibly lots to gain:  your peace of mind, a burden shared, burnout avoided, and, possibly, thousands or even millions of dollars for your organization.

What’s YOUR #1 challenge as a grantwriter or nonprofit executive?  Write and share!