Star Wars and Grantwriting: “May the Force be with you.”

What Star Wars Can Teach Grantwriters

Yoda Force

“May the Force be with you.” Yoda

This may be the most famous line from the entire Star Wars universe. The Force is a mysterious power. As expressed by Obi Wan Kenobi, the Force is “an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.”

There are two sides to the Force, and two groups of believers. The Jedi used the Force for good and protection. The Sith turned to the dark side of the Force, using emotion and violence to control others. Which part of the Force do you work for?

When I think of grantwriters, most of them would be Jedi Knights, wise in the ways of using their powers for good. They are doing their best to craft proposals that are actually in the public interest, not just for the good of their organization. Their research is thorough, their facts are verifiable, and their program designs are logical ways to achieve beneficial outcomes.

A few grantwriters I’ve known are less Jedi-like. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that they are practitioners of “the Dark side”, but they at least now and then want to put their own interests above anyone, or anything, else.

These are the grantwriters who fail to do proper research into who appropriate funders might be for any particular organization or concept. They throw together grant proposals using the mindset of “quick and dirty”—a fact here, a conjecture there, a doubtful chain of logic throughout.

These grantwriters are more interested in collecting their fee for sending out a proposal than in having an organization be funded. These are the fundraisers who “mentor” inexperienced students into writing grants but never share the financial benefit of turning in the proposal with the mentee.

Professional fundraisers (including those who write grants) have a Code of Ethics. Jedi Knight grantwriters are sticklers for these principles. Sith grantwriters are not above negotiating for a percentage of successful grants on the one hand, or cheating employers by turning in shoddy proposals over and over.

To all aspiring grantwriters who read these words, I want to encourage you to be on the light side of the Force. Get a master grantwriter to help lead you and train you in the ways of the Force that lead you to be beneficial for your community.

If you wish to find yourself a mentor who can help you in this path, then I know you’ll be interested in “Funded! Successful Grantwriting for Your Nonprofit,” an online course designed for grantwriters with all levels of experience.

It covers everything you need to know about grantwriting, from finding the right funder to turning in the proposal. You’ll learn the secrets of master grantwriters for describing the need for your program, the solutions that funders want to support, how to talk about your capacity to excel, putting together an evaluation plan, showing how to become sustainable, and so much more.

This course will bring new grantwriters up to speed in just a few weeks. It also energizes and brings fresh ideas to experienced grantwriters, helping their Jedi spirit blossom anew.

To get on the EARLY BIRD notification list, sign up here.

Enrollment will be limited so that each can have the attention they deserve. If you’re not on the EARLY BIRD list you may not be able to enroll. So don’t take a chance on missing out and let your competition go first. They may be “dark side” grantwriters!

Enjoy the new film, and “May the Force be With You!”

Star Wars and Grantwriting: “Perhaps I can find new ways of motivating them.”

What Star Wars Can Teach Grantwriters

Darth Vader Motivation

“I assure you Lord Vader, my men are working as fast as they can.” Imperial commander
“Perhaps I can find new ways of motivating them.” Darth Vader

Motivating people is tough.

When you’re working in a team to get a grant proposal out the door, and you’re in charge, it can be incredibly frustrating to fall behind schedule. You’ll be tempted to put the pressure on, any way you can, because you know the importance of the funding that you’re going after.

In addition, there’s always the pressure that you, the grantwriter, feel to do it all yourself. In essence, you become your own Darth Vader to find a new way to “motivate” yourself. When you’re running at full speed, it becomes quite difficult to do even more.

Even people who were once well-motivated by idealism and desire to serve, may become burned out.

Taking into account that we live in a changing world, we need to look at motivating ourselves and others in a way to get superior proposals out the door. One way to do this is to take a step back and figure out a way to re-invigorate ourselves with new information and approaches to grantwriting.

We all know that returning to basics can help even highly skilled people, whether they are actors, athletes, or grantwriters. We also know that learning new things can be self-motivating.
When was the last time you turned to the tool of learning as a motivator?

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to learn about grantwriting from the comfort of your office or home, using online technology (and maybe the phone) to take your skills from where they are now to being able to write stronger grants consistently?

Welcome to “Funded! Writing Successful Grants for Your Nonprofit” an internet based course that leads you from finding appropriate funders to submitting a top-notch proposal.

If you want to increase your knowledge of all things grantwriting; if you want to be more likely to experience the thrill of bringing funds in to support your cause; if you want to KNOW that your proposals are fully capable of scoring well against the toughest competition, then you owe it to yourself to learn more.

Created by Dr. Richard Hoefer, a professor with over 30 years of successful grantwriting experience, you’ll learn the skills that few grantwriters know.
Students praise Dr. Hoefer for his teaching skills and the materials he has created.

This course is coming soon to a galaxy near you–be on the alert for more information coming your way. Soon you’ll be able to click to find out more—exactly what you’ll learn (it’s a LOT), the benefits this training can bring you and your organization, and the affordable price that can be repaid multiple times over with your first successful grant!

This is bound to motivate you to write seriously competitive grant proposals!

Star Wars and Grantwriting: “Stay on target!”

What Star Wars Can Teach Grantwriters

Stay on Target

Stay on target!” Gold Five (Rebellion pilot) to other pilots attacking the Death Star

Plans and goals are needed to move towards success.

It is vital to have an overall game plan and a way to stay on target until the proposal is submitted.

The leaders of the Rebellion analyzed the smallest details of the Death Star’s plans to find an unlikely, but possible way, to attack and destroy the Empire’s monstrous weapon. Once the plan was developed, the fighter pilots of the Rebellion had to train for and then execute the plan.

In order to work, the pilots had to know the plan but also not be distracted by small details of their environment, such as anti-space craft weapons and enemy fighters trying to kill them. Many Rebels died to give Luke the chance to take his shot. In the end, of course, Luke “stayed on target” and destroyed the Death Star.

There are some interesting parallels with writing grants.

Because of the complexity of writing most grant proposals, it is vital to set forth a game plan, including due dates for aspects of the project. This ensures timely completion.
Once the plan is in place, it’s still easy to get caught up on anything other than the grant that’s due soon. We all have so many duties, or tasks that aren’t actually writing. Research, editing, meetings can be tough to “stay on target.” Even when we are actually writing, proposals get to be long and we can lose track of what we’re writing about! Different ideas get introduced at different times by different stakeholders. When we re-read our drafts, there can be all sorts of dead ends, unrelated paragraphs, and even required sections left out of the proposal.

Checking back with the RFP to determine the exact things that are being asked for is another necessary way to stay on target. RFPs are complicated documents, with vital information often scattered in different sections. Master grantwriters understand that each RFP they respond to needs to be read in detail, more than once. While they don’t actually “memorize” the RFP, it can be very useful to review each section frequently.

Just as the Rebellion pilots learned the details of the Death Star they were attacking, and trained how to approach their mission in order to have a chance of success, grantwriters need to look at their RFP in the same way. How can you be successful if you don’t know the details of the project, and the target you are working towards?

It’s hard to find affordable and excellent training that helps newcomers to the field as well as experienced grantwriters. If you want to learn more about how to find foundation and government funders, nail a needs statement, locate evidence-based program ideas, and get the latest information on all the other aspects of writing grants, you’ll want to be on the lookout for an announcement of a powerful online grantwriting course called “Funded! Successful Grantwriting for Your Nonprofit.” It’s coming soon to a galaxy near you!

Star Wars and Grantwriting: “Help Me Obi Wan Kenobi, You’re My Only Hope”

What Star Wars Can Teach Grantwriters

Leia Help me Obi Wan

“Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi! You’re my only hope!” Princess Leia

Desperate people may call upon you for rescue.

Princess Leia (and the Rebellion) were in a difficult situation. Annihilation of their cause was on the horizon. She knew she needed a person of rare talent and ability. She was calling on a true Jedi Master, one who had trained with top-notch instructors like Yoda for many years. For decades, he had practiced with his light saber and he had learned to use the Force to enhance his senses. Obi-Wan could wave his hand and decisions would change.

It wasn’t clear that even a Jedi Master of the level of Obi-Wan Kenobi could save the situation but he had the competence based on his background and continued efforts needed to be successful.
As a grant writer, you may feel that your entire organization is leaning on you like you’re their only hope. That’s a lot of pressure! And it isn’t usually a fair thing to do to you.
After all, the board is supposed to make sure there’s income to meet expenditures, and they are supposed to help raise funds as well. But, as we all know, sometimes boards abdicate that responsibility.

If you’re the executive director of your organization, sometimes you are the chief grantwriter as well. In that case, you may actually BE the organization’s only hope. Even if your entire job is writing grants, the executive director and the board may be relying on your skills to bring in sufficient revenue, no matter the perilous odds.

Are you really ready for that level of expectation?

Have you desired to be a grantwriter, using the force of your writing skills to influence people’s decisions? Have you spent years training and getting better, under the watchful eye of a mentor or coach?

If so, congratulations! May the Force be with you!

If, on the other hand, you got into grantwriting because “somebody has to do it,” you may not have received much preparation beyond a basic one or two day introduction to grantwriting seminar.
Or perhaps you have some experience but long to really be able to get a solid and systematic grounding in writing grants.

Wouldn’t it be nice to get direct feedback on your ideas from a coach who’s been there, writing successful grants for decades and teaching fledgling grantwriters for years?
And, wouldn’t it be great to be able to do that from the comfort of your office or home, using online technology (and maybe the phone) to take your skills from where they are now to being able to write successful grants consistently?

Stay tuned for an important announcement about a new online grantwriting course coming soon to your galaxy!

Star Wars and Grantwriting: “Never Tell Me the Odds”

What Star Wars can Teach Grantwriters

Millenium-FALCON-feat

“Never tell me the odds.” Han Solo.

You can talk yourself out of even trying if you’re not careful.

When Han Solo is escaping capture by the Empire, he pilots his ship, the Millennium Falcon, towards an asteroid field. C3-PO tells him his odds of success are 3,721 to 1—in other words, near certainty that he will get them all killed. Han’s response is to tell the droid “Never tell me the odds.”

Some grantwriters want to know the odds (at least in general terms) and will only go after those requests for proposals that they feel they have a better than even shot at. “After all,” they reason, “there’s limited time and I need to focus where my chances of success are greatest.” This is the prudent course of action that allows them to select a few proposals to write and increases their “win” rate.

Other grantwriters are more like Han Solo. They have faith in their skills and their craft (the craft of writing grants, in this case). They don’t care if there will be only a few proposals funded. They are sure (based on experience and their gut) that they will beat the odds. This sort of self-confidence (some would say brashness) encourages them to go for long shot grant proposal. Sometimes they succeed, and sometimes they don’t.

What is your approach to this type of situation?

No matter how you decide, you’ll want to stay tuned for an important announcement about a new online grantwriting course coming soon to your galaxy!