We believe in having creative titles here at Green Avenue. From Grants Guru, to Fabulous Fund Finder, to Chief Grant Getter, to Fundraising Fanatic, we feel like our titles highlight our roles better than CEO, CFO, etc.
One team member who is taking a leave of absence called herself a Connector for Good. I love this because it shows an often overlooked value that we bring to nonprofits.
When people think of fundraising consultants, especially ours, they tend to imagine people writing grant proposals, creating development plans, performing prospect research, and other typical money-making activities. These are all good and certainly valuable.
However, there’s one other, sometimes bigger way we help organizations. Many of us have been around the grant world for years, if not decades. We not only know how to write winning proposals and seek out the best funding sources - we have the connections to help nonprofits get in the door a little easier.
Let me share an example. One of my clients, a small town located north of Indianapolis, needed some start-up funding to create a pocket park in their downtown. This pocket park would be a much-needed gathering space and a boost for the town’s economic development.
I instantly thought about our local electrical utility and my friend Mark who works there. I’ve known Mark since 2009 when he served on the local sustainability committee that I led. After all these years, he’s become not just a work associate, but a friend.
I reached out to him via email and we set up a call for the following Friday afternoon. My client couldn’t make it, but I pitched the pocket park to Mark. He encouraged me to send him a summary in order to get an invitation to apply for a small grant.
Two weeks later, we got the invitation, and my client and I submitted the grant application. I”m confident we’ll receive the $2,500. While this sounds like a small amount, to this town, it’s a tremendous opportunity to get some seed funding to start on their campaign to raise more funds next year. I know I’ll be witnessing a grand opening event for this park in the summer of 2024!
Grant consultants know funders on all levels - local, regional, state, national, and federal. We know the small family foundations and the corporations. And if we don’t know someone, chances are we can reach out to other grant consultants who do! In Central Indiana, we have an informal group of grant professionals who reach out to each other at least a couple of times a month with questions.
Our “connection for good” often saves clients a tremendous amount of time. Consultants can make those introductions and sometimes get past the dreaded “red tape!” I’ve even heard of consultants helping nonprofits connect with funders and not even needing to complete an application! THAT’s tremendous.
If you’re new to the grant world, consider hiring a consultant. They’ll not only do the typical grant applications, prospect research, and planning work for you - they will (literally!) introduce you to some remarkable people to help you reach your fundraising goals faster.