Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Two Day Grant Writing Retreat with Dr. Drew Attracts a Visitor from Guam

At my last Two Day Retreat, I was startled to learn that we had a participant who flew in all the way from Guam. Her name is Zenaida Natividad, Ph.D. She was trained at the University of the Philippines and took a doctorate in education with an emphasis on research and evaluation. Guam is a territory of the U.S. It is an island in the North Pacific Ocean that is about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to the Philippines. Dr. Natividad wrote her first successful grant about two years ago when she won about $224,903 in 2008 from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for a group called Sustantia. Sustantia is focused to teaching children and parents about proper nutrition to address the problem of childhood obesity on the Island of Guam. She succeeded with this grant application, in part, because she was given total authority to make it work. One of the most important secrets of success in grant writing is the successful delegation of authority. In my experience, I've seen a lot of charities and schools miss out on important opportunities simply because they were running their grant writing programs according to the rules of a larger committee. Where grant writing succeeds at a profitable level, I've usually found that one person has been put in charge and held responsible for grant writing activities - this was the case with Dr. Natividad whose first grant was an extremely prestigious and lucrative one. Dr. Natividad has travelled to the U.S. and Brussles to present papers on the good work she is doing for the children of Guam. I was deeply honored to get to know her better during her participation in our most recent Two Day Retreat.

The Never Quit Guarantee: We Keep Writing Until Your Charity Wins a Grant

As you may know, I'm working with a business coach, Jay McDowell, who is helping me improve my business model and staff organization. In the process, we have developed a unique selling proposition (USP) which has already made a difference for my consulting business and changed our relationship with our clients in a favorable manner. Today, we offer what I like to call our Never Quit guarantee which states that we will keep writing until your charity wins a grant. To me, this guarantee is not that hard to stand by since preparing additional copies on an existing grant is a low cost, high perceived value proposition. Moreover, as the charity learns from its rejection letters (and phone calls) it will become increasingly focused on creating a powerful argument that really breaks loose funder resources. Besides, I never felt completely comfortable with the existing model where I write some grants and then disappear for a year. I care too much about the clients our charities serve and about the survival of these charities themselves. At any rate, I'll be curious to hear your reaction to our new guarantee. As always, I appreciate your feedback, so do not worry about my feelings. My goal is to make the new Drew & Associates operate like clockwork.