50 Shades of Grant Writing

50shadesImagination is sexy. Grant writers have huge imaginations, sometimes we’re accused of having implants.

Grant writers need to have large imaginations because so many of their clients don’t know what the hell they want to do. Writing a grant can be pure fiction like, “50 Shades of Grey” Book 1 by E.L. James.

“In a daze, I place my hand in his and we shake. As our fingers touch, I feel an odd exhilarating shiver run through me. I withdraw my hand hastily, embarrassed. Must be static. I blink rapidly, my eyelids matching my heart rate.

Translated into 50 Shades of Grant language:

“Bedazzled by the agency’s large endowment, our Executive Director consummated the partnership  in an MOU (appended). Everyone is vibrating about what’s coming next. Must be low blood sugar. Our ED expects the partnership to rise rapidly and extend into fertile areas for expansion.”

A sexy grant writer can turn on their imagination and write a grant that makes the funding agency salivate.

The best imagination combined with experience grounded in grant implementation brings zest to the narrative that a lesser writer can’t produce. Careful writing won’t spark a reader’s imagination, there’s no tingle in that Grant spot.

Giving It Away for Free

womand with giftIt’s really hard for those who earn a living at it that there are so many others who are giving it away for free. I’m speaking of grant writing, of course.

It happened to me again a few weeks ago.  A client was choosing between me and another writer.  I quoted my fee, and the other writer said she would write the grant for free, as long as she got the contract for the evaluation. It’s hard to compete against that, in spite of the fact that what she proposed is an unethical practice.

It’s easy to understand why grant writers/evaluators would want that deal.  The evaluation contract is much more lucrative that the grant writing piece, and it usually continues for several years. However, grant writing and program evaluation are separate skills sets.  In many cases, qualified program evaluators also write grants, but there are many grant writers who try to fit into the evaluation world because of the money.

The problem is that it’s almost always not allowed by a funding source to make an agreement for a service provider to be funded through the grant before the grant has even been funded and without going through a funder-approved selection process.  For government grants, that means following your organizations established procurement process. For private funding sources, it could mean including the funder in the selection process or giving them a chance to review the process and approve the selection.

The ethical issue is that a grant writer proposing such an arrangement is a) giving the client the idea that such a thing is acceptable to the funding source when it almost always is not, and b) taking advantage of an organization’s desire to save money, even if it pushes them to do something that is illegal, at worst, or unallowable, at best – all so the writer can get his hands on a bigger pot of cash.

I am asked by potential clients to step into agreements like that more and more often these days because it is being offered to them by other grant writers.  I always say no.

Unless it’s someone I really love (an organization I personally support and have decided to make a personal donation to), I never give it away for free.

Have We Met?

woman modelYou spot her across the room and slowly swagger over to say hello. You’ve got your intro line all prepared and you’re ready to make your pitch.

You smile.  She smiles. Then you take a deep breath and say, “After a year of therapy, I am so ready for a new relationship.  How about you?” She stares at you in disbelief for a second or two and then walks away.

In retrospect you realize that, since you had never met before, you probably would have been better off starting off with some basic facts like your name.

It’s the same with grant writing.  When you’re writing a proposal for a potential funder, you need to remember that the funder has never met you before. They don’t know who you are, your hopes and dreams, who you serve, or how long you’ve been serving the community. They don’t know anything about you. So start off with the basics.

Tell them who you are and what you do and what you propose to do. Build your case strongly, making no assumptions. Make sure that your proposal really gives them a good understanding of who you are.

Then you might have a chance of getting a date to the dance – a funder who wants to support your cause.

Charge an Ethical Fee

Grant writing fees can be contentious. Some people think all consultants are overpaid, others think we’re sexy and worth our weight in gold. But being paid well is not the same as charging unethical fees.girl with boat on head

Here are some points to consider in setting fees:

  • Does it make you feel good?
  • Do you communicate what you will do for your fee?
  • Do you deliver a satisfying experience?
  • Is there a happy ending for your client?
  • Are your talents on display throughout performance of the service?
  • Are you ashamed to talk about how much you make?
  • Will there be bad publicity if your fees are talked about?
  • Did you do anything the client did not expect?
  • Does your contract protect both of you?
  • Is your client using someone else’s money to pay you?
  • Does your client leave your office out the side door?

Some grant writers charge a percentage of the grant and others write the grant in exchange for the evaluation: neither practice is considered ethical

Ethical grant writers are sexy.

Grant Writers Beyond Compare

I do not like a millionaire,
Oh, they are rich,
I do not care,
For sexiness, there’s no compare,
Tween grant writers and millionaires.


I do not like a playboy either,
They’re sleek and tan,
Yet do they neither,
Grab my heart with style and flair,
O’r grant writers I lust and stare.

Trust babies hold least appeal,
In spite of spending zest and zeal,
Their swank lank tan,
With age departs,
It’s grant writers who steal my heart.


A king, a czar, a racing car,
May sparkle, flash, a shooting star,
Replete with gold seducing all,
But fame and fortune soon will fall,
For grant writers my engines stall.

7 Beats of a Sexy Grant Narrative

  1. The Hook

The establishment of the needs which creates conflict, empathy, and a deep desire to help in the reader.

A woman parks her car, gets out, and walks down the worn wooden steps to the beach where removes her shoes and ambles to the water line where waves are crashing onto the rocky shore.

2. Inciting Incident

This is the part of the needs where the writer shows how the need is unmet by using numbers to define the extent of the needs.

The lonely lover wanders the beach throwing stones into the surf and wondering what went wrong in her life. Suddenly, she is swept off the beach and away from shore by a rogue wave. She’s sucked under in the foamy surf and comes back up choking and calling for help.

3. The Turning Point

Fortunately for the reader, you are providing the answer to the needs. You offer a goal and objectives to resolve it.

The woman founders in the water while a tanned and shirtless grant writer drives a speed boat, flying over the waves, locks of auburn hair flying in the wind. He spies her arm desperately waving for help and he steers the boat towards her.

4. The Midpoint

There are more needs to be met than the grant budget can provide for, but fortunately, the writer has partnerships to talk about that bring additional resources to the rescue effort.

Suddenly, a shark fin appears near the woman, the man sees it but the woman doesn’t, he speeds up but he knows won’t get there before the shark does.

5. Second Turning Point

Now the writer has to pull out the secret weapon, current and valid research that supports the solution and assures the resolution of the needs.

The hero now stops the boat and pulls out a high powered rifle to shoot the shark. He’s a former Navy Seal and expert marksman; the woman sees the gun and thinks he is aiming for her and ducks under the water out of sight, down where danger is waiting.

6. The Dark Moment

The grant narrative reaches the point at which the intervention is tested, the results are measured, evaluation is implemented.

Our hero knows he has time for one shot to save the woman, the shark fin is slicing ever lower into the water as the predator takes aim on the woman below the surface. The man’s taut forearms are steady as he stands on the bow cooly timing his shot with the rising of the hull, he squeezes the trigger as the fin disappears below the water, there’s a small splash behind the fin and a loud pop, then silence.

7. Joyful Resolution

The grant writer is confident about the plan in the narrative and it will certainly resolve the needs and require dissemination so that similar needs in similar places can be resolved.  The plans for expansion of the project can be described as funders flock to the effort.

Our hero restarts the speed boat and races toward the spot where the woman went under the waves. The water is red with blood. He dives over the side into the water and strokes strongly downward where he sees the woman struggling to reach the surface, the shark is far below her is spiraling into the deep marked by a crimson trail. They break the surface and they ride the wells to shore where they embrace like lovers and kiss deeply on the sand.

Romantic structure in a grant narrative can be sexy!

Structure is adapted from, “Writing the Romance Novel: The Seven Beats” by Kay Dacus.

Photo Credits – RACHEL GILMORE (Woman Watching)

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The Grant Writing Equivalent of the Push-Up Bra

 A good push-up bra has a specific purpose – to provide support and make the wearer look her best (o.k., better than her natural best). If it didn’t accomplish that purpose, no one would wear them.

And the quickest and easiest way to get that “lifted up and looking good” effect is to wear a good push-up bra. Sure, you could get breast augmentation surgery, but that’s a long term solution, plus it’s very expensive and somewhat dangerous.  You could try special exercises, but that, too, is a long term solution and the result you’ll get is not as good as you’ll get with a push-up bra.

What does this have to do with grant writing?

There has to be a quick and easy way to improve your grant writing without taking the long road through course work, years of trial and error, and rejection without really knowing what you are doing wrong.

There is.

If you review some grant samples you’ll see examples of successful proposals and you’ll recognize the patterns and the application of the basics of effective grant writing.  Think of it as a self-study course.  And I’m not talking about a few grant samples.  In order to see those patterns of effective writing and how many different writers approach different grant challenges, you’ll need to read lots of grant samples.

That’s where GrantSample.com comes in.  You can get unlimited access to hundreds of sample grants. You’ll see hundreds of examples of successful grant narratives for federal, state, and private grants. There are also budgets and budget narratives there for you to review. It’s the largest collection of grant samples available on the web.

So get busy strapping on that push-up bra of successful grant writing and lifting your writing out of the crowded mosh pit of mediocrity.  Then you can start getting the attention that the beautiful people (successful grant writers) get.

Wouldn’t that be nice?



Nine Ways for Sexy Grant Writers to Cool It

I have a theory, it’s Sexy grant Writers who are responsible for global warming. I can’t scientifically prove it, but when it’s hot, a sexy grant writer is bound to be right in the middle of things. Planning ahead can help a sexy grant writer and their partner stay cool when it’s sultry.

Here are nine tips for staying cool when the sun of grant writing sexiness is just too bright.

  • Conference call with your client behind slices of cucumber on your eyes.
  • Buy the bendy straws and sip lemonade in your hammock.
  • Edit under your mister.
  • Get your honey to rub an ice cube on the back of your neck.
  • Lick your favorite popsicle.
  • Dictate from the pool, to the pool boy.
  • Slurp up a cold double scoop.
  • Build your budget au natural.
  • Slip and slide between drafts.

There are lots of ways to cool off when you’re a smokin’ hot sexy grant writer, but it’s an ongoing challenge. Keep a list of suggestions for cooling off handy and never run out of ice because let’s face it, you sexy grant writers are going to melt a lot of hearts (and glaciers).

Photo Credit: Belovodchenko Anto

When a Sexy Grant Writer Loses their Vitality It’s Time to Re-Tool

Sometimes it’s tough to be sexy. It’s tough to look your best all the time, especially when you’re stuck behind a computer for 14 hours cranking out a brilliant narrative.

Here are some tips for keeping that sexy grant writer shape. If you follow these tips, you’re bound to look and feel sexier. (Of course we offer the standard disclaimer that before undertaking any physical exercise routine, check with your doctor to make sure you’re physically capable and not going to suffer unexpected side effects like keeling over).

  1. Stop eating European salads and eat local, fresh, and as much leafy green stuff as you can fit on your plate.
  2. Start an exercise routine and make it something you like.  It does not have to be rigorous, just make sure it relaxes, make it regular, and make it a routine.
  3. Each time you in-grow (shrink out of) your clothes, go to the Goodwill and give them away (out-grow is a word, so there must be an in-grow).
  4. Weigh in every week without fail to monitor your weight and each time you are at the drug store check your blood pressure.
  5. Take care of your back. A strong core is the foundation for a healthy back so work those abs.  Learn to do crunches while you walk.  It takes a little practice but then you get double benefit from your walking!
  6. Avoid the computer slump and hump.  Every couple of hours get up and put your hands on each side of a doorway and gently stretch your shoulders out, stand up straight and pull your shoulder blades together.
  7. Drink lots of water!  It not only keeps your skin young and your organs functioning well, it will make you get up to run to the bathroom every couple of hours (see #6 while you’re up!)

That sexy grant writer shape of yours is important to maintain!  It takes work and effort to sculpt that physique that’ll make people say “You’re Funded!”


Celebrate Grant Submission

Finishing and delivering a grant is one of the best experiences a sexy grant writer can have, am I right?

You spend weeks pushing through writing, rewriting, revising, editing, and publishing and all the while the tension grows as the deadline creeps closer.

The excitement caused by that approaching climax is almost too much to bear; you know it’s true, don’t be prudish.  It’s that thrilling rush at the end that makes the nasty business irresistible.

Let’s face it there’s a lot of pressure building over the weeks of writing.  People are counting on you for a big payoff and you can’t let them down.  Your urge to let the grant all go before it’s ready is strong, but you hold fast and keep stroking the keys until everything feels perfect.

Finally, the hour draws near and it’s time to lay it down. Take pains to slow down now and pay attention to details so you dazzle the readers sending them into starry-eyed fits of ecstasy.

If you’re a little breathless and a little sweaty, no worries, it is the sign of a sexy grant writer. Don’t feel at all shy about grabbing that package and delivering the job yourself.

(OK, OK, so it’s really called a submittal isn’t it?)


Ten (7) Ways a Sexy Grant Writer May Indulge in Spring

Spring has sprung around California in a BIG way.  Life is springing forth all over the landscape!  Pollen is pouring out, squirrels are wildly pursuing each other, hawks are doing naughty things on the telephone wires; it’s a lavish display of nature’s renewal and reproductive energy.

What can a sexy grant writer do but respond to all that – well, ENERGY? Here are ten ideas to spark your own spring squirrel chase and high wire act.

  1. Buy a kite and take another sexy grant writer with you to fly it. Remember to take someone with longer string to fly higher.
  2. Pack up the picnic basket and hike into a grassy meadow for a bucolic afternoon. Remember the sunscreen so you don’t end up re-creating that scene from “A River Runs through It.” (Oh come on, rent it already…Brad Pitt is in it.)
  3. Grab your fishing pole, grab your honey’s hand, and hike up your favorite stream. Remember to forget your swim suits!
  4. Dust off your beach umbrella, hose down your boogie board, and bleach your huaraches (so they’re springtime fresh) and head for the beach. Be sure to apply sunscreen every hour – to each other – until you’re out of sunscreen – or in need of privacy.
  5. Plant a vegetable garden with that sexy grant writer to eat healthy and eat up loads of vitamins for stamina and vigor in preparation for those wah-wah-licious long nights of summer to come.
  6. Drive out to the wine country (no matter where you live in California, it’s not far [except in Death Valley]) and go wine tasting, eat some gourmet cheese and crackers, then hand feed that sexy grant writer some luscious red ripe grapes.
  7. Take the catamaran from Long Beach to Catalina and stroll around  Avalon for the afternoon sipping cold cocktails by the shore. Then rent a bungalow for the night and take a moonlight horse ride across the island and let the moonlight and the bottle of wine take its natural course you sexy grant writing beasties.

OK, so I was supposed to write ten but now you went and got me all worked up and there’s spring weather outside and somewhere in the breeze outside there’s someone looking for this sexy grant writer.  I’m heading off to the wine shop now, see y’all in Catalina!

Sexy Grant Writer Accessories

We searched for outrageously sexy accessories that all sexy grant writers will want to maintain that  SGW aura. Each of these accessories by themselves could produce some white hot grant writing sexiness, but taken all together…well, forget about it, it’s too steamy to talk about here.  This is a family blog.

The O.R.B.  – A Super Sexy Bluetooth Phone Accessory

ORBIf that special guy hasn’t given you the rock yet, here’s a way to put that vacant real estate to good use. It’s called the O.R.B. and it’s so sexy your grants will be pre-funded. It’s a ring, it’s a Bluetooth, it’s pure logic model sexiness.


Sign up online to be the first Sexy Grant Writer to get one at an estimated $129.



Kempler & Strauss Sexy Phone/Watch (The name’s…Bond… Grant Bond…)

Perhaps this accessory is more in tune with male sexy grant writers unless you’re an ultra chic and fashion-forward female strutting on the high risk/reward lights of the runaway.

A watch – that’s a phone – that’s a watch.  Yes it’s Bluetooth enabled and even interacts on the road with your sexy wheels.

See it online here.



Vivienne Tam’s HP Butterfly Lovers Digital Clutch

A sexy grant writer can always raise the startle factor just by walking into the grant planning meeting in a Vivienne Tam dress, but how about adding a hot HP Digital Clutch? A sexy grant writer knows how to break the spell of iPad dittoism sweeping the world.

Visit Vivienne’s Site here!










Noon Solar Hand Bags

Sexy Grant writers set trends across the fashion spectrum and this ultra-green power solution is one more way a SGW can shrink their sexy carbon footprint. There’s a battery in the bag (3 oz) it’s charged on the outside is a paper thin, flexible, waterproof solar panel. The solar panel charges the battery pack to supply power for your cell phone or iPod, day or night. (No, it won’t power your laptop just yet.)

Get your sexy solar hand bag here!



High tech accessories, now that’s sexy!


Top Seven Ways to Spot a Sexy Grant Editor

An important aspect of being a successful grant writer is finding a great editor.  A sexy grant writer can’t use just any editor, consistency demands that we use a sexy editor or we risk writing that is horribly – shall we say, uninspired. Face it, sexiness meshes well with sexiness, so choose a sexy grant editor or you risk throwing water on your sparks.

The sexiness of an editor may be subtle so we’ve come up with some hints to help you spot one.

  1. Behind Jordana eyewear, a sexy grant editor can tell you how awful your draft is while you eat it up like hand-fed sweet grapes lying on a chaise by the pool at Bellagio.
  2. Sipping a triple shot non-fat soy latte after 24 hours of writing you’re rigidly riveted by a lecture on appropriate use of the comma splice.
  3. You enjoy her description of your parallel structure as hideously parabolic while your chin rests on your hands admiring her Nude-As-Naked toenails showing through her Pikolinos Maracaibo’s.
  4. You love how her yummy peach-tinged lipstick matches the highlighter she painted all over your grant narrative.
  5. It’s titillating how she tugs on your dangling participles and her insistence on grinding out active copy is not negotiable.
  6. Grant writers at 24 Hour Fitness comment on your renewed motivation to narrow your margins and trim your ending.
  7. The scalloped fringe of her Dolce&Gabbana dress makes the fact that your program design is completely unintelligible an entirely enjoyable revelation.

You must be prepared for a little rough treatment when you share your narrative with a sexy grant editor but why choose bland when sexy is more interesting?

Top Eight Ways to Appeal to a Sexy Grant Writer

Grant writers are always in BIG demand on the dating scene so you’ll need to know us better to catch one of us.Sexy Grant Writers are appealing

1)      Always promise a happy ending. (We love getting funded)

2)      Always tell us your needs (We like to design the perfect program)

3)      Always tell us how you’re going to evaluate performance. (We love an intimate assessment)

4)      Always make your objectives measurable. (cuz we know you’re more than significant)

5)      Always detail your budget. (We have expensive tastes)

6)      Don’t bind our narrative. (We like it loose)

7)      Always describe your management plan. (We prefer not to be surprised)

8)      Always start early and keep revising your style until it hits all the sweet spots. (Our sweet spots love a skillful editor)

Top 12 Reasons Grant Writers are Yummy

We know we’re delicious, but some people are afraid to try new things.  Exotic delights like grant writers scare some people off before they even take a bite.  There’s nothing to be afraid of and how do you know unless you try it?

  1. We put the nosh in your knish.Sexy grant writers are delicious like this loaf of french bread.
  2. We puff your pastry.
  3. We tantilize your taste buds.
  4. We terrorize your tiramisu.
  5. We back up your baklava.
  6. We sop up your sauces.
  7. We toast your buns.
  8. We grind your peppers.
  9. We put the cream in your puffs.
  10. We sauté your mushrooms.
  11. We knead your dough.
  12. We bake your biscuits.

If these aren’t enough reasons to savor that sexy grant writer – if you need a little more culinary instruction – brush with olive oil and put in a warm place to rise.

Other posts you may enjoy:

Top 10 Reasons to Read Sexy Grant Writers if Your are a Vegetarian

9 Ways to Pamper Your Sexy Grant Writer

Top Ten (plus 1) Reasons to Subscribe to Sexy Grant Writers

1. We’re sexy (and you fit in) Sexy grant writers love to be fed chocolates at poolside.
2. You’re sexy too ( and it’s nice to be reminded)
3. You’re secretly attracted to Nick.
4. You deserve a break from writing narratives.
5. You like it edgy.
6. Your Mom won’t approve.
7. Your Dad can’t send you a friend request here.
8. Your zen master told you it enhances feng shui.
9. Dr. Oz said it induces release of pheromones.
10. It blows your skirt up like Marylin Monroe’s.
11. It’s like being hand fed Godiva chocolates poolside by the love of your life.

Now you only need to act and subscribe!  Just click on the subscribe button in the laft sidebar and you’re in!

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Top Ten Reasons Grant Writers are Sexy

Graphic Credit – Gabriella Fabbri

More Tips on How to Attract a GWM

This is the post you’ve been waiting for.  The last 7 of 14 tips on how to attract the perfect Grant Writer Match to complement your grant writer sexiness.GWM

We hope that the first 7 lines have landed you that perfect GWM and that you have engaged the services of a talented wedding planner.  In case you still haven’t scored the perfect match, here are 7 more perfect pick-up lines to connect you with that GWM of your dreams.

1. I’ve got a measurable objective for you.

2. You’re so hot, you deserve a letter of support.

3. Here’s my response to your narrative.

4. Your goal is my objective.

5. You #1 on my checklist.

6. You and me, header to footer, think about it.

7. I’m your original, can you bind me?

Related Posts:

How to Attract a GWM

Grant Writers are Sexy Beasts

How to Attract a GWM

Let’s face it, grant writers are a catch.  Witness all the personal ads looking for a match with us!  Maybe you’ve missed it, but people looking for us are everywhere. They advertise themselves under a clever acronym – GWM (i.e., Grant Writer Match) – we are plainly a HOT commodity.GWM

You need to take the right approach to connect with that perfect GWM.  Here are 7 of the 14 top pick-up lines that can instantly tell a GWM that you know your RFP’s.

1. I’m the design for your needs.

2. I want YOU on my MOU.

3. If you were literature, I’d give you a citation.

4. I’d like to evaluate your design.

5. Can I be one of your activities?

6. I’ve got a budget for your benefits.

7. May I illustrate your design?

Check back soon for the last 7 lines that can help you attract that special GWM; or, subscribe to Sexy Grant Writers and our posts can be emailed to you!

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Grant Writers are Humble

The Grant Writer with the Winnie the Pooh Tattoo: Chapter 7

Nick found Boris outside his office pacing the hallway.  “Hello Boris.” “Thank you Mary, Nick come with me.” Boris pivoted at walked down the hallway at a determined pace, Nick fell into step beside him.  “Where are we going?” “Situation room, I’ve got a team on this now, something is up and you’re hot, we don’t know why.” “Yeah, tell me about the heat, I barely made it out of the Metro.” “What?” Boris stopped in his tracks and turned to face Nick. “Who was it?  Did you recognize anyone?” “No, I never got close enough.  I got one fast look at the guy underground, and I thought I knew the face, but he was a good 200 yards away, so I couldn’t be sure.” “Let’s go.” Boris wheeled and set off down the hallway with Nick hustling to keep up.Nick, the Sexy Grant Writer with the Winnie the Pooh Tattoo

Boris swiped his security card in a reader on the wall, then set his chin on a rest while his retina was scanned.  The door skid back suddenly and Boris ushered Nick inside where within a circular bank of computers, monitors, sat four other agents 3 of whom who hardly looked up when they entered so intent were they on their monitors.  The fourth rose and walked swiftly across the room to greet Boris.  “What have we learned John?”  “Not much so far, but we’re just starting. We reached out to every primary contact in Moscow to start listening on the street.” “What about Karnikov?” “We sent him over to the hotel, he’s “interviewing” the hotel clerk now.  He’ll talk if he knows anything but he probably doesn’t know a thing.” John is a lean young Asian man who Nick estimates is thirty.  Probably an MIT grad with a Ph.D. in cryptology or some arcane spy science. John appraises Nick Boris introduces him. “John this is Nick Serranto, it’s his girlfriend who was abducted in Moscow.  Nick retired from the Agency a few years ago.  You know the rest, what you don’t know is that Nick had a tail on the way over.” “Where did you see them?” “I saw them twice.  First in the metro, one underground, another one up top at the exits.  A black town car at the curb, couldn’t see if there was anyone else.”  Boris interrupted, “You didn’t tell me you saw them twice.” “Boris You didn’t give me a chance before you bolted up the hallway! They bought the Tonic routine, the town car was across the street from Quigley’s by the time the taxi drove past.” “I wasn’t sure if you being cautious with that routine Nick.  You haven’t gotten that rusty I guess.” “I opened the cell and it had a tracking bug in it, hard wired into the phone battery too, slick device.” “Naw, that’s old news now, probably old KGB junk,” John interjected, “The new stuff from China can’t even be found unless you’re an electrical engineer.” “Where’s the phone?” “I dialed the cable company where you’re on hold for hours and jammed it into the taxi seat.  I figured they’d chase a yellow cab around.”

“John!” came from across the room.  A young black woman peered out from behind her monitor, her face glowed in bluish light. “Come here, I’ve got something.” All three men skirted the inner circle of desks to form up behind the woman’s computer. “What is it Kara?” “Bad news…”

Previous Chapters:
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3 

Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6

Little Know Facts about Sexy Grant Writers

Little Known Facts about Grant Writers In an effort to bring greater transparency to the field of grant writing, here is a short list of things you may not know about a grant writer. While each of these is not true of all grant writers, we imagine that many of them apply to most grant writers. Sexy Grant Writers are mysterious people like this man standing in the desert with his arms outstretched.

1. We sometimes write proposals in our bunny slippers

a. We have bunny slippers

2. We always put the roll on over, not under

a. We always put the seat down

3. We can’t ignore the chocolate in the cupboard or the pie in the fridge (they call to us)

4. We’re lobbying for a Pulitzer to be given in grant writing

5. We sometimes read narrative drafts in the bath tub

a. Sometimes we just sing “Evergreen” (Love Theme from “A Star is Born”)

6. We sometimes take your phone call on the 9th green

a. The phone always rings on our backstroke

7. Our blood pressure spikes 12 hours before a deadline

a. We eat oatmeal to keep our blood pressure down (or just put some in the bath water)

8. We have an unreasonable paranoia about signature pages

Grant writers are a curious lot. We like people, but we work alone. We dislike writing restrictions and yet we follow restrictions carefully. To know us is to love us!

Photo Credit – Troy Stoi
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1)      It keeps your celery crisp

2)      It juices your lemonSexy Grant Writers are vegetarians - large gourde

3)      It stuffs your gourd

4)      It peels your potatoes

5)      It splits your peas

6)      It pokes your papaya

7)      It peels your banana

8)      It tickles the fuzz on your peaches

9)      It makes your Brussels sprout

10)   It massages your mango

You get the message.  Now get the nutrition, subscribe to Sexy Grant Writers.

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Photo Credit: Andrew Beierle (yeah, blame him)

Top Seven Reasons that Sexy Grant Writers Love Dessert

Let’s face it, a good meal can be turned into a great one with the right dessert.  Admit it, you deserve something extra special now and then. Desserts can pamper your inner sexiness and here are ten good reasons why.Sexy Grant Writers love dessert - pretty woman at dinner with wine

1)      Tiramisu is like an approval letter in your mouth.

2)      Crème brulee is like a tough-shelled client who’s really sweet underneath.

3)      A banana split is one of our new years resolutions – it’s there, eat more fruit!

4)      Chocolate decadence cake keeps us awake for those late nights.

5)      Strawberry shortcake is perfect for editing drafts.

6)      Apple pie a la mode is like an excellent collaborative.

7)      Whipped cream is good on a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g.

Sharing a gourmet dessert with that special Grant Writer to complete the perfect meal is sexy.

Other posts you may enjoy:

Top Ten Reasons Grant Writers are Sexy

Top Ten Reasons Size Matters to a Grant Writer

Photo Credit: Juanita De Paola

Nick Sorrento: Chapter 6

Nick sat in the back of the taxi silently, steeped in thought.  None of this made sense.  Nikita wasn’t an agent and never had been, he’d been out of the game for years now.  So why Nikita, why were they after him now after all this time.  The driver headed down Massachusetts Avenue toward Foggy Bottom where they’d catch the Roosevelt Bridge into Virginia then head south past Arlington Cemetery to the Pentagon.The Grant Writer with the Winnie the Pooh Tattoo

Nick began thinking like an agent.  Whoever the man in the Fedora was knew where he lived, he knew he’d be heading for the Metro.  Nick froze, pulled out his phone and stripped off the back and removed the battery.  Nothing, but a pro wouldn’t put a bug where it would be obvious.  Nick took small screwdriver out of his computer bag and opened the back of the Nokia phone. “OK, there you are.” Nick whispered. A tiny chip wired right into the phone’s harness so it would run off the phone battery.  “Slick” muttered Nick, “Never go dead.” Nick left the bug in place and replaced the back.  He’d use the phone once more then discard it.  By now they’ve tapped into the account, names, phone numbers, emails, they had every piece of information it held. Nick dialed Boris’ office.  The secretary answered, “Agent Bovalcheck’s Office” “Hey Mary, it’s Nick” “Hi Nick what’s shakin’ bacon?” “You don’t want to know Mary, is Boris there?” “Yeah Nick, hold on please” Mary always had a crush on Nick even though she was old enough to be his mother and had been married to the same man for 45 years. “Nick, where the hell are you? I thought you’d be here by now.  I was starting to worry.” “Yeah I got held up. Hey let’s meet a Tonic  for lunch, I’m starving.” “No problem, you’re buying.” “Sure Boris, whatever you say.”

Nick hung up the phone and tucked it down into the crease between the top and bottom cushions of the seat, down into the candy wrappers and lint where nobody would find it for a long time. If they were using it to track him, they’d be chasing the taxi. Boris knew that Tonic was a diversion, it was a real restaurant in the West End near GW Law, but Nick and Boris weren’t going there, if someone was listening – and they were – they’d be waiting there as Nick passed. 

Nick knew they’d drive past Tonic on the way to the Roosevelt Bridge so he ducked low as they zipped along through traffic.  Sure enough another Town Car was waiting across the street, two dark figures visible behind the tinted glass. “Man they’re all over me.” Nick muttered.  Soon they were across the bridge and heading south.  Nick flashed his ID at one guard at the check point who went inside to make a phone call, another guard did a search under the hood, in the trunk, then underneath the cab with mirrors on long poles, a third guard led a bomb-sniffing dog around the vehicle. “Man…” thought Nick, “…things have sure changed since I got out.”  Nick left the service just prior to 9-11.

The taxi dropped him off and circled away and toward the exit.  Nick entered a second security checkpoint surrendered his weapon, and passed through a metal detector, and a guard with a wand. “Raise your arms please palms open and upward, turn your belt buckle inside out, remove your shoes.” “Hey Nick” It was Mary sent down to escort him in. “Hi Mary, how ya been?” “Could be worse, could be better.” “How’s Ben?” “Ben’s Ben, same old stuff, Redskins, Orioles, Blackhawks, and Budweiser.”  “Come on Boris is anxious to see you.” “Not as anxious as I am” They walked in silence to the elevator.  Mary knew better than to ask what was going on.  She wasn’t cleared for that level of security.  But Mary knew from years of experience that whatever was going on, it wasn’t good since Nick had been out of the game for over ten years.

Sexy Grant Writers Enhances Feng Shui

Grant writers know that proper environment for writing creates the right attitude.  That’s why our Sexy Grant Writers blog is so powerful at enhancing your Feng Shui (ness).  Read regularly and you can’t help but start re-aligning your office furniture, buying bamboo plants, and little sand boxes with rakes.   Here are the Ten Top reasons why you should make Sexy Grant Writers a regular part of harmonizing your grant writing atmosphere.Sexy Grant Writers enhances your Feng Shui - Picture of bamboo

10) It moves your Qi in a positive direction.

9) Your astrolabe points here.

8) It’s one of your wandering stars.

7) It keeps your Yin and Yang in balance.

6) It enhances your elements (especially FIRE).

5) I divines your Bagua.

4) It keeps you from going Red Phoenix.

3) It’s one of your Four Pillars of Destiny.

2) It keeps your bamboo limber.

1) It congeals your Qi.

Is virtue a thing remote? I wish to be virtuous, and lo! Virtue is at hand.  Confucius, The Confucian Analects

Nine Ways to Pamper Your Sexy Grant Writer

Pamper your sexy grant writer with a nice warm bath.You may think grant writers have it soft sitting in a nice chair all day writing.  It’s true we can have our coffee there and maybe a nice cookie while we work.  But just try writing for ten hours with only a few bathroom breaks.  Your shoulders cramp, your forearms cramp, your calves cramp, your eyes get tired, it’s a grind. While it’s true that we’re even sexier when tired, we do enjoy some refreshing pampering.

Here are nine ideas about how to pamper your sexy grant writer:

1)      Bring a vase of cut flowers to sit beside the computer to bring color and fragrance to the grant writing process.

2)      Buy some warming oil and give your sexy grant writer a shoulder massage. (close the office blinds first, that adds to the atmosphere and keeps you both out of jail.)

3)      Make a run to the local coffee shop for some spectacular coffee drinks then invite your sexy grant writer to sit on the porch.

4)      Buy a pedicure certificate and offer to read a grant draft while your sexy grant writer takes a break for an hour to go to the salon.

5)      Cook a pot of special soup or stew, buy some excellent bread and butter so your grant writer can take breaks and eat well without having to cook.

6)      Run a hot bath, dim the lighting, put on some Barry White, add some bath oils, light a candle, then get in and text your grant writer to join you (if you need more directions, don’t waste the hot water).

7)      Bring a tub of hot water into the office, remove your sexy grant writer’s shoes and socks and soak their weary feet while giving them a foot massage.

8)      Pack a suitcase for two and after your sexy grant writer submits their application, drive directly to a nice hotel on the coast for a couple of days.

9)      If you and your sexy grant writer have kids, do #1; #3; #5 and then take the kids out for the day. Do #2; and #7 when you get back, get a sitter before executing #8, and skip #6 unless you want more kids.

Sexy grant writers love to be pampered; it makes us all feel all squishy and wah-wah-licious inside.  We deserve a little pampering too because grant writing is hard work, even if we aren’t getting blisters.  Spend a little time pampering your grant writer and they may just pamper you back. 

Now that’s sexy!

Related Post:

Grant Writers are Sexy Beasts

Photo Credit: Roger Kirby

Nick Sorrento – The Grant Writer with the Winnie the Pooh Tattoo: Chapter 5

Nick kept running up the escalator until he reached the last person between him and the sunny exit above, a pretty young woman. Nick stopped beside her and smiled, she returned his smile batting her chestnut eyes playfully. They engaged in light conversation. Nick’s plan was to walk out of the Metro arm in arm looking for all the world like a couple. These men wouldn’t be looking for a couple. He stripped off his coat turning it inside out to black and draping it over his arm. He then drew his hair back in one motion and fastened it into a ponytail. As Nick and the woman reached the top of the escalator, Nick offered his arm to the woman with a casual comment about always tripping off these things as a kid. She giggled at the familiarity and took Nick’s arm.

Nick Sorrento Sexy grant Writer Chapter 5The plan working so far. She agreed he’d accompany to the building where her appointment would begin in ten minutes. As the couple emerged from the tunnel into the frosty morning air, he and the girl stepped quickly right up the sidewalk. Nick snuck a quick look left between the north and south Metro entrances where he expected the other man to be. Sure enough there he was standing beside a long, black town car trying to keep watch on both exits. His phone rang and he picked up. Nick turned and escorted his new friend up the street, keeping an ear behind for running steps following, they never came as the couple turned the corner ne looked back once and the two men were now huddled together at the exit he and the girl had just left.

A block later Nick left the girl at her building and he hailed a cab and jumped in happy to on his way to see Boris. “Pentagon” and the cab lurched forward. Nick had time to think now and he ran through the morning’s events. None of it made any sense. His phone rang, “Damn, Tony” Nick muttered to himself, he pushed the screen to pick up the call.”Nick here” “Nick, I’m waiting for you here, I thought you were coming in at 9” Nick knew he didn’t have any meetings this morning with Tony but it always took him off guard when Tony did this stuff. “Uh…I don’t remember a meeting…” “HA-HA-HA, got you again Sorrento, you’re an easy mark.” “Oh, yeah, that’s it Tony, you’re too quick for me, especially before I’ve had my coffee.” “Yeah-yeah it’s the coffee. So when am I going to getting the next grant draft?” “Well, something came up this morning. I’ll have it to you by 6 tonight.” “Hey, you were supposed to have it here by noon. I’m no night owl remember?” “Yeah I know, sorry Tony, can’t be helped.” “OK,OK, you all right Sorrento?” “Yeah Tony, I’ll explain later.” “All right Nick but no later than 6, I’ve got blank tapes waiting for you.” “Yeah, I bet you do” It occurred to Nick that only a couple of hours ago his biggest problem was Tony’s tapes. “All right Tony, catch you later.” The phone clicked off. Tony could see the Washington Bridge ahead, next stop Virginia and the Pentagon. Nick hoped Boris would have some answers.

Grant Writers are Humble About Our Celebrity

Grant Writers are people too, even if we’re exceptionally sexy ones.  We enjoy the simple things in life like everyone else.  Sexy Grant Writers silhouette in redWe like the early-bird breakfast for $2.95 and we’re annoyed when we see the bill and realize that coffee wasn’t included. We enjoy a sunny day as much as the next person even though we have little time to get out and enjoy the sunshine.  The point is that we’re regular people – exceptionally attractive, true enough.  We’re just normal folks, so there’s no need to treat us differently.  

Here are some examples of how you can suppress your natural desire to faun all over any grant writer you encounter:

  1. Flight attendants may smash our elbows with the beverage cart like you do to everyone else.
  2. Coffee house waitresses may splash coffee all over our reading materials.
  3. Maitre de House of Pancakes may seat us at the booth next to the hairy-shouldered, bare chested dude in overalls and his screaming, drippy-nosed kids.
  4. Grocery shoppers don’t need to take one side for us, just park that cart smack –kattywompus- dab in the middle and block the aisle.
  5. Car rental agents don’t need to fill the gas tank with gas for us before we pick up the car.  Truly, we’re perfectly OK with driving around strange cities looking for gas stations in the dark, our natural glow will light our way.
  6. Hotel desk attendants should not feel the need to hold a room with a view or near the elevators for us, we’re OK schlepping our bags half a mile across the parking lots at night to the room with a new zip code.  You know the one, it’s right under the room occupied by the visiting high school wrestling team next to one where a 21st birthday celebration is being held by a budding rapper.
  7. Post office workers don’t have to walk any faster for us, smile, act like they’re happy to see us, or offer us coffee and donuts on china with doilies.  Honestly, we can handle being treated like Siberian coal miners the same as everyone else in the Republic.

Grant Writers know we’re celebrities but we ask that our groupies and paparazzi play it cool and not clog the streets when we’re out (and will our stalkers please bring back our lawn gnomes?).

We don’t like to rub our grant writer status in anyone’s face.  We don’t need special treatment.  We like to blend in, fly under the radar, but we do look spectacular in flight.  So everyone please relax in our presence, as you were.

Related Posts:
The Joy of Grant Writing
Top Ten Reasons that Grant Writers are Sexy

Photo Credit: barunpatro

Nick Sorrento – Sexy Grant Writer: Chapter 4

Nick reached the bottom of the 3 story escalator and stepped smoothly off, bought a ticket, and passed through the hissing gate, strode quickly across the concourse and quickly down the stairs to the platform.  Red Line – Wheaton Train 3:00 Minutes – flashed the digital sign hanging over the leading area. He’d have to switch trains at Metro Center, catch the Blue Line to Franconia-Springfield.

Nick scanned the platform for danger – his old habits returning without effort, like muscle memory in a boxing match.  To his left and behind sat an old woman, green sweater, leaning heavily on a rolling  wire shopping basket. To his right a young couple flirting, college kids he calculated, both with ipod wires in their ears.

A middle-aged couple were descending the escalator trying to fold a tourist map and arguing about how to properly get it back into its original format.

No obvious threats, maybe the Russians had grabbed the wrong person and Nikita would be released by the time he got to Boris’ office.  Nick turned to look at the sign again, “Pentagon City Train – 2 minutes.”  Nick turned to scan the terminal again when he saw the black fedora starting to appear above the edge of the balcony of the concourse.  He instinctively backed up behind a thick column just behind him, circled behind it and peered out.  Trouble, the man was scanning the platform searching each person on it, looking for someone.Sexy Grant Writer Nick Sorrento hiding behind a column

Nick knew who the man was looking for, simple addition. 

Nikita wasn’t an accident, but she was just leverage, they wanted him. The man was satisfied that his target hadn’t arrived yet and he turned his back to the platform leaning against the railed of the balcony.  Nick slipped sideways to the next column and worked his way toward the far end of the platform nearest the back escalator that would take him up again and out of the Metro.  There was no way to get on a train with this guy watching, he’d have to grab a taxi.

A sudden whoosh of air and an electronic horn signaled the incoming train.  It slid to a smooth stop and the doors hissed open.  Nick was lucky, it was a crowded train, and a large crowd moved his way and he slid seamlessly into it as it passed his hiding place and Nick stepped onto the escalator.  Just before he rose up out of the platform, Nick stole a last look at the fedora and his eyes locked with the man.  He looked familiar and Nick thought he saw a quick flash of recognition in the man’s face. Suddenly the man was gone from view.  Nick turned and jogged up the left side of the escalator sure there would be another man above ground watching the entrances. Nick needed a plan, and he needed to think it up fast.

Previous Chapters:
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3 

The Grant Writer with the Winnie the Pooh Tattoo: Chapter 3

“Boris Bovalcheck please, Nick Sorrento here.” “Please hold” A pause while Nick glanced out the window at the street below. “Nick how are you? Nice surprise to hear from you old man.” came the gruff accented voice of fifty six year old, CIA veteran, Boris Bovalcheck. Boris had the gravel of forty-five years of smoking in his voice. Nick worked with Boris in the agency for 15 years, all of that in the Moscow bureau before Nick called it quits.

Nick Sorrento Grant WriterNick met Nikita through friends when he took the job writing grants for Tony at a quiet consulting firm outside DC. “Trouble Boris, I think Nikita’s been grabbed by the Russian mob in Moscow.” “What!? How did you find out?” Nick told Boris the story, “I was talking to her, she was in her room at the Pleshka. Someone came to the door, I heard a guy barking orders to open the door, sounded like they busted in through the chain. Nikita screamed, sounded like they grabbed her and left.” “Didn’t anyone at the hotel call the cops?” “I called the hotel immediately, but they’re on the take, the guy told me I had the wrong hotel, said she was never there.” “Holy crap Nick, let me make some calls. What was she doing in Moscow anyway? I thought you two were both retired, living quiet, boring lives at the end of the Red Line near Shady Cove.” “We were until about two minutes ago. She went to Russia for a trade show, she’s a rep for SafeCon.” “SafeCon’s on my watch list Nick.” “What?” “Yeah, ownership is into some shady schemes. Let me go and check with my contacts. You get down here and I’ll fill you in. Hopefully I’ll learn something by then…and Nick.” “Yeah?” “Don’t call anyone else.” “Whatever you say Boris. I’ll be in your office as fast as I can.” “Good, I’ll leave a pass for you at the security desk.”

In one continuous movement, as though he’d practiced it over and over, Nick opened the wall safe, removed his passport, cash, and Glock, threw on some clothes, turned on a concealed security camera system, grabbed his computer, set the alarm, and closed the door behind him. Out on the street it was a bright frosty November morning, manhole covers steamed, and traffic was brisk. Nick would call Tony from the train and let him know the grant draft wouldn’t be completed until late. He needed to buy time or there’d be hell to pay. Nick zig-zagged between stopped traffic to cross the street thinking about Nikita, then he slipped down the steep escalator into the underground Metro.

Chapter 4 tomorrow!

Previous Chapters:
Chapter 2
Chapter 1

Top Ten Reasons that Size Matters to a Sexy Grant Writer

Size matters to sexy grant writers - image of a tape measureDoes size matter?  It’s an age-old debate among grant writers.  Some will argue that smaller are harder because of the level of detail that’s necessary to compress; yet others will argue that larger is harder because there is a tendency to lose one’s way on long narratives.

While bigger may seem better, this is only true in the hands of a skillful grant writer. Bigger grants in the hands of the inexperienced can miss the mark entirely.

Veteran Sexy Grant Writers can attest to the fact that size matters in many aspects of grant writing and here are ten reasons why:

10) Bigger will stretch your margins (spacing).
9) Most require a substantial size 12 [font].
8) Length is rigid (narrative).
7) Most have ample appendices behind.
6) Large visual images (fantasy) can crowd out narrative (reality).
5) Too much won’t fit (pages).
4) Staples may be too short (binding).
3) Big foot(notes) infer deeper substance (not always an accurate assumption).
2) Long ones are hard to duplicate (photocopy).
1) The biggest ones can be awfully difficult to firm up (edit).

In the end, it is masterful manipulation that matters regardless of size. Concentration and attention to the satisfaction of the receiver of the grant brings the ultimate reward. Bad applications of any size are disappointing and anti-climactic.

Sexy Grant Writers know that size matters, but bigger is not always better.

Related Posts:

Top Ten Reasons Grant Writers are Sexy
Grant Writers are Sexy Beasts: Why Can’t Everyone See It?

Photo Credit: Michal Ufniak

The Grant Writer with the Winnie the Pooh Tattoo: Chapter 2

The sound of a cell phone in the bedroom draws Nick out of his morning stupor just as he finishes shaving. He picks up the Android and scans the ID. <<Nikita>> is flashing on the screen, Nick answers.
“Hey Babe”
“I miss you”
“Yeah, I miss you too, how’s Moscow?”
“Freezing, gray, and people drive on the sidewalks.”
“Nothing’s changed then?”
“Not a thing. How’s the grant coming?”
“Slow, Tony’s being Tony”
“Oh, more tapes huh? Sorry to hear that. When is it due?”
“Yeah, more tapes.  Next Monday, lots of time.”

Sound of loud knocking on the door in the background
“Hey Babe, wait a minute, there’s someone at the door.”
“All right.”

Nick waits listening as Nikita answers the door. A male voice, speaking harshly in Russian, starts barking orders. Suddenly Nikita screams, there’s a loud bang like a door flung open against a wall, sounds of a struggle, grunts, a muffled cry, then the sounds fade as if it’s moving away.


Nick yells into the phone. Silence. “Nikita pick up the phone!” Nothing.
Nick grabs the land line and dials the number for the hotel in Moscow where Nikita has been since she arrived for a security trade show. “Hotel Pleshka, may I help you?” “Yes, ring room 4213, Nikita Brittenham.” “One minute please” Silence. “Sir?” Nick is pacing the bedroom now. “Yeah, did she answer?” “I’m sorry Sir but the woman you asked for is not registered in this hotel.” “What?” “Are you sure you have the right hotel? Perhaps she is in a different one, there are many in Moscow” “Yeah, I’m sure, I was just talking to her and someone came to the door and there were screams, now she doesn’t answer the phone. She’s been there for a week and I’ve talked to her every night.” “I’m sorry Sir but she’s not a guest here.” Nick hangs up and returns to the cell to listen but there’s no sound and Nikita does not answer as he yells into the phone to pick up.

Nick’s brain switches into overdrive, he hangs up and immediately dials the Pentagon, he’s got one last contact there, Boris Bavolchek, and he needs his help fast.

Related Posts:

Chapter One

The Grant Writer with the Winnie the Pooh Tattoo: Chapter 1

Sexy Grant Writer NickNick’s grant writing mentor was brutal. Oh, he knew what he was doing; he was a master grant writer. He even knew how to teach others to write in direct, clear, hard prose. But his narrative reviews were brutal and cutting. He reviewed the narratives using a small micro-cassette which he clicked on-and-off sharply over and over like he was playing with a butterfly knife.

Into the device he spoke harshly, derisively, cruelly directing the revision so that his protege would cringe as if the man was sitting over his shoulder, watching, whipping the knife open-closed-and open again.

Nick grew angry under the torment. He resented the cynical voice and the harshness of the reviews. But he told himself he would learn from them. New wounds, fresh and still raw and old wounds healed over and scarred, marked him as a veteran of many grants. When he wasn’t being lashed by his mentor, he renewed the pain to bolster his rage by tattooing his body.

Most of his ink was of raw images depicting angst and pain but one, just one mind you, reflected the nearly dead softness he once felt toward others, a Winnie the Pooh tattoo.

Nick had a memory of his mother reading the books to him as a child. The memory always wrapped its warmth around him each morning as he shaved looking in the mirror and saw the little fat bear on the upper left side of his chest, just above his heart.

Grant writing was supposed to be a gentleman’s game, a relief from the ravages of the wars he fought in and the death he left behind. But his mentor had become his new drill sergeant and his tape recordings sounded more and more like a bad day of basic training.

The tone of the reviews threw him into a state of mind meant only for dangerous nights in the desert where he stalked death, not for his den in front of his computer.

No matter what was intended by his mentor’s vicious narrative reviews, it was the incredible journey and the unexpected end result of the abuse that would make this a tale worth telling.

Keep watch here at Sexy Grant Writers for the second installment of “The Grant Writer with the Winnie the Pooh Tattoo.”

Totally Unrelated Posts:

Top Ten Reasons Grant Writers are Sexy

The Joy of Grant Writing

Top Ten Reasons Grant Writers Are Sexy

sexy grant writersI tried to think like David Letterman (not Charlie Sheen) when I wrote these ten reasons grant writers are sexy but it was hard to do.  I think it’s because I’m a grant writer and it doesn’t come naturally to grant writers to parade our sexiness around like a peacock. I decided to write this dithering intro to loosen me up enough to write on the topic of “sexy” so here I go!

10. We’re humble about being sexy (except on this blog)

9. Our line spacing is never chemically-induced

 8. We know what abstract means

7.  We are never in passive tense

6.  We have huge staplers

5.  We can tickle your attachments

4.  We always finish last (page)

3. We know where your appendix is

2. We put the kinky in Kinkos

1. We can bring home the bacon, cook it, and make you a BLT

(Bonus reason – We have nimble fingers from writing so much)

Get the resources that will make you sexy!

Federal Grant Resources eBook
101 Tips for Aspiring Grant Writers

Related Posts:

The Joy of Grant Writing

End on the Last Page

The Joy of Grant Writing!

• Key scientific discoveries in the grant writing fields of grant psychology, grant writer physiology, and grant writer sexynessGrant writer research

Swiss researchers working at a University in Bern have announced new discoveries about grant writers. Sequestered in the Alps for the past 12 months with 24 grant writers, these intrepid scientists have been studying grant writer behavior and their report on what makes a grant writer tick is nothing short of stunning.

Dr. Vianna de Walbroia of Geneva studied the psychology of the grant writers by putting them through extensive daily testing. In this statement she summarizes her findings, “D’ere is a common psychosis among da group involving commas and 12 point fonts. Eeeet seems to be related to der over-deweloped sense of cramming far too much content into limited page restrictions. In vun experiment I offered to allow dem to write whatever de wanted and use as much paper as dey wanted, to a person, da group was so nervous dat they refused to begin writing until an approved RFP was issued for dee assignment. Dey just sat dere looking at me…it was unnerving to say da least. In da end, dey never wrote nothing so I jus put da paper away and led dem on a hike in da Alps wit a rousing Sound of Music Sing-a-long.”

Dr. Perreta de Chesaux studied the physiology of the group using a standard battery of medical and physical tests. He reports extraordinary abilities among the group in his report summarized here, “I can’t prove it genetically yet but I tink dat grant writers might be genetic mutations created by angry retired school teachers so dat grant writers reproduce school children who can sit still for more dan eight hours at a time and never say a ting. Dey also have dis peculiar increase in heart rate and blood pressure when dars any mention of jelly donuts or when ders any mention in the news of increased government entitlement spending diverted from de grant programs. I’m hoping dat one of dem will write me a grant to continue my research.”

Dr. Ruth de Chaseles was commissioned to study the attractiveness of grant writers which she passionately pursued using both hard and soft data. The doctor gives a brief overview of her results, “I measured da sexyness of dese grant writers wit da local population as a control group. My team measured da level of pheromones, physical traits such as facial construction and body type, and various personality tests too. Our comparisons between da groups did not show any remarkable differences in anyting vee could measure. But da subjective testing showed dat dere is a substantial difference in sexual attraction whenever a subject was exposed to one of da grant writers. It’s inexplicable to me, in my forty years of work I never saw nothing like dis since da beeeetles. Vee had to hire a security firm from Austria –cause vee don take sides – to keep da grant writers magnetism from corrupting da control group wit da hanky panky. And yes is true dat I’m getting married next week to one of da ones who writes da federal grant applications, hees idiomatic structures is magnificent.”

The team asserts that the study results will be useful in regulating grant writer behavior, improving grant writing training, and alerting the general population to the previously unknown animal magnetism of grant writers. The team even proposed a new genus to the scientific community named “homo grantwritericus.” Wikipedia has already adopted the new term and an authoritative definition by the team has been posted.

Related Posts:

Grant Writers are Sexy Beasts…

Photo Credit - Mattox

Grant Writing is like Having a Baby?

A confused man.The best thing about being a grant writer is getting the news that one of your proposals is funded. That’s a good moment. The second best moment is being paid for writing the grant. The rest of the job is just plain old-fashioned hard work.

Grant writing is hard to do well. It is a ton of writing, and rewriting, and editing, and formatting, and so on. It’s often a tedious process. It can also be frustrating when a narrative isn’t coming together the way you want it to. That raises the stress in a stressful process.

The final hours before a grant is due can be crazy too! Things around our office get tense on submission day. Everyone is very focused on those days and there’s always that atmosphere of grinding out the last details. Anyone who has ever written anything of importance knows that a narrative is never truly finished. Oh, it may be grammatically correct, the format may be just-so, and the language may be crisp; but, there’s always something that could be improved a little here and there. Those are the details that a professional writer cares about working with up until the very last moment.

So nearly every proposal is like having a baby. It’s a lot of hours of labor punctuated at the very end by a lot of hard pushing, sweating, and grunting. There are no epidurals and there are no C-sections for a grant, only the old fashioned way, there’s even Lamaze breathing over the copy machine.

OK, so maybe that’s a little too graphic to be sexy but giving birth to a grant is a lot of hard work. The big difference is that as the writer, there’s no more work after the grant is born. After the grant is delivered, your work is done and if it’s done well enough your baby will produce good things in the world for your client. But you never have to change a diaper.

Maybe I drifted way off topic here. Let’s try to tie this all together shall we? One of the best days of a person’s life is when their child is born. One of the best days of a grant writer’s job is when a grant gets funded. What leads up to each of those events is by turns pleasurable ( Person = ahem-ahem, and Grant Writer – getting paid) and lots of work ( Person – going through 9 months of pregnancy and labor, Grant Writer –writing the grant), but in the end something unique and wonderful is produced ( person – baby, and Grant Writer – successful proposal).

Wringing the life out of a metaphor – now that’s sexy.

Even Grant Writers can’t Tame the Tyrant of Time

Inner workings of a watch.It’s funny you know, the way we structure our lives by clocks. As a teacher long ago, I used to detest the bells. Well, except for the ones that sent all the kids home to their parents where they belonged. I disliked the opening bell and the recess bell and the lunch bell. My life was ruled by bells, it was annoying.

So I moved into administration and then a different kind of tyranny dominated my work life. It was the tyranny of ambition, the early arrivers and the late leavers. Ambitious and upwardly mobile as I wanted to be, I was in both groups. It was the tyranny of the outworking your co-workers by simply being there longer. Didn’t make you any better, didn’t make you more efficient or smarter. No, I was just there more.

On the other side of the coin were those who arrived on time and left on time every day, like clockwork, ahem. Now those folks weren’t better or worse than the early/laters but they did work less, just exactly what they were supposed to mind you, but less than those who desired to move up the ladder more fiercely.

Eventually I left the bureaucratic administration rat race – I thought – to run my own show as a freelance grant writer. I left employment proper and entered employment as a contractor. Now I was free – I thought. But then reality set in and there were times when the work was not exactly pouring in so I worked longer hours and all days to try to ensure that checks would continue to come in. There were other times when the work was pouring in and I was afraid it would stop so I took all contracts coming at me and spread myself too thin just in case I had nothing to do in the 4th quarter of the year.

Time became my tyrant again. I never had enough of it because there was money to be made and deadlines to meet. I became a sort of hunter-gatherer, collected all the nuts and berries in season. The trouble became that there was never a down season where you could just sit around and eat what you had gathered for a while.

I suppose that as long as man has been walking the earth, time has been an issue. Accepting this doesn’t really help anything does it? Oh well, I better set the alarm and get to sleep, the little red glowing tyrant beside my bed will screech at me before I even feel like I’ve closed my eyes.

Grant writers are slaves to the clock, now that’s sexy.

Dilated and Tweeting

Baby love with pregnant woman and man and hands shaped like hearts.In spite of my blog post title, I am not pregnant. Being a guy, it would be scientifically astounding if I were. It is my eyes that are dilated for those of you with your minds stuck in LaMaze.

Visiting with the ophthalmologist this morning gave me lots of time to think, especially since I saw him for all of about 30 minutes of the 2.5 hours I spend there – mostly in the waiting room with old Time magazines and old timers (where I am headed soon myself).

I thought about how hard it is to see sometimes even with your eyes open. I keep reading that social media is about connecting to people and listening. But did I see what I needed to do in order to grow my social network? No. Did I listen? No. What I did was start blasting out useful (to my thinking) information for my loyal and (NOT) growing audience.  I struck out into the Twitterverse blinder than a bat.

In trying to see how to navigate the Twitterverse, I am trying to make sense of the denizons of it.  There seem to be various camps:
Camp 1  – Socialites – People who joined Twitter to have conversations with people and to connect socially.
Camp 2 –  Celebrities and Narcissists – People who joined Twitter to communicate with their fans or constituents.
Camp 3Mother T’s – People who joined Twitter to rally people to a social/charitable cause.
Camp 4Trumpsters – People who joined Twitter to build a business through networking and promotion.
Camp 5Martha’s Brigade – People who joined Twitter to share information about their specialty.
Camp 6TechMarketers – People who joined Twitter as social media experts for the purpose of “conquering” this new media.
Camp 7Bandwaggoneers – People who joined Twitter because they thought they should.  These people got bored after ten tweets and abaondoned their accounts. 

I’ve done a few of the things that are suggested in posts about how gather followers but given the narcissistic and groupie-laden philosophies of some of the camps, I can’t see that they have any interest in following anyone.

Here are a few (some less than honorable) strategies that seem to be getting me more followers and none of these are on the lists I’ve read.
1. Suck Up– Look for people in your field who have something interesting to say and then blog about it and then tweet about the fact that you blogged about it. Vanity sells on Twitter. Works best with Celebrities, Narcissists, and Trumpsters.

2. Kiss Butt– Look for organizations like yours that have large followings and tweet about something they do well. Organizations like good virtual ink and tend to RT and say thanks. Works well with wannabe Celebrities, Trumpsters, and Martha’s Brigade.
3. Join Twit Chats – Conversations where you can add value get you followed. Social networking is available on Twitter, but it’s harder to access only posting tweets. This is where you’ll find the Socialites of course.
4. Post Pictures– People love pictures and will RT those they like. It’s the way to get past the 140 character limit too (1,000 words). Not really a target group here with the exception of photographers who are Martha’s Brigaders who’ll want to tell you how poor your white balance, there’s artifacts,  there’s no focal point in the photo (hey, I just point and shoot lay off all the jargon already!)
5. Post Constantly– I find that when I post a lot my numbers go up but the very minute that my frequency drops or I don’t tweet for a day or two, the numbers drop. I guess someone is listening after all. Socialites only like this if they want to talk to you, Celebrities and Narcissists aren’t listening to you anyway, Mother T’s will listen if you’re talking about how much to write on the check, Trumpsters listen if you’re buying, Martha’s Brigade listens if you’re in their specialty, Tech marketers listen to measure you and figure out the next BIG thing before anyone else (problem is it won’t be created by the listeners, it will be created by those leading the conversation), Bandwaggoners have already moved on to the next Big thing.

I’ll keep working at Twitter because I know it drives traffic to our web site which is the basis for being involved at all. Does anyone have any other methods I can use to increase my followers?

Grant Writing Fitness

Legs of a man walking.Grant writing is a mentally strenuous activity. The problem is that it’s also a physically sedentary activity. Except for the typing involved, trips to the coffee pot, trips to the pot, and feeding the animals (2 and 4-legged), there’s just not a lot of movement involved.

Here are some suggestions for staying healthier as a grant writer:

1) Schedule an hour a day to get out and exercise. It can be walking (my preference) or whatever you want. I heard a doctor on TV (may have been Dr. Oz, but not sure) one time tell a patient, “You have a choice. You can exercise for an hour a day, or you can be dead for 24 hours a day.” That seemed like an easy choice to me and I’ve been doing an hour almost every day ever since.
2) Don’t buy junk food for your grant writing snacks. Instead of cookies and junk food, buy nuts, healthy crackers, fruit. When I wanted to lose weight, I began to count calories and the amount of calories in small and savory snacks scared me! I was amazed and appalled at how many calories I had been consuming!
3) Buy a calorie book and a little notepad and count your calories for a month. Don’t alter your eating habits unless you want to but keep careful count to see how much you’re eating. You’ll probably be astounded at how many calories you’re eating.
4) Talk on the phone standing up. With cordless phones today you can get up, move around, or walk outside. You’re probably not working on the computer when you’re on the phone so get up and move.  You’re on the phone anyway, so why not multi-task and burn off a few calories at the same time?
5) Move to a new location when you’re reading drafts and revising by hand. It’s good to change position and location. I find I am less tired when I get up and change locations now and then.

Those are a few of the ways that I stay trimmer, healthier, and less fatigued when I am grant writing. Of course I still get the forearm cramps from typing for eight hours but that’s just part of the gig.
A healthy grant writer is sexy!

If Twitter is Social Media, Why isn’t it Social?

Picture of the wilson castaway volleyball.I’m using Twitter a lot these days and even though it is called a social media tool, I am finding it to be more of a ticker-tape of sales offers and news. It’s more like those scrolling, red-letter digital signs you see on buildings, especially outside of news studios; the ones that endlessly scroll through headlines. This one allows anyone with a need to sell you something you don’t want to post their offers, endlessly.

I hear a lot about Twitter popularity on the news and the internet but I honestly can’t say it’s a very useful tool for business so far. It does drive traffic to our web site. We notice a drop in visits on days when we fall behind on our company tweeting. Converting those visitors to customers is another story however.

The low conversion rate to sales could say more about how we’re presenting our services on the web than it does about Twitter itself, or it could be that everyone who’s on Twitter all day is there because they’re all unemployed and don’t have any money to spend. Our giveaways go like hotcakes which supports the theory that most people in Twitter have no money.

tuna fish in a can.One criticism of Twitter that isn’t well-deserved is that all the users do is tweet about their bowel movements or tuna fish sandwiches. While some of that kind of minutia is tweeted, I think it probably results in people being un-followed by other Twitter users. My guess is the negative reaction to mundane tweeting results in a self-moderating by users, or people never read anyone’s tweets and simply use Twitter to broadcast their own sales pitches.

I can’t find the key to unlocking the social part of Twitter. I’ve had one real conversation with someone in almost a year of using the service! It isn’t like I don’t try to be social. I respond to what people say sometimes and they almost never reply. When they do it is just to say “thanks” which is nice but is a conversation ender, not a starter.  I retweet interesting tweets and those people infrequently say thanks at all. I give “shouts out” to people I like to follow and they often ignore my efforts to engage them. I’m like Tom Hanks on the island in the movie Castaway talking to a virtual Twitter volleyball named Wilson. I feel like kicking Wilson out into the ocean. But then I’d probably go scrambling back after him anyway. My Twitter isolation is resulting in a kind of a post-twee-matic stress disorder I think.

I fear that it’s only me who can’t get gain traction within the social part of Twitter, my boss seems to be talking to people. Maybe I am just a deadly boring person who sucks at 140 character writing. Perhaps I am headline-challenged or maybe I am using the service all wrong.

Maybe the issue is that I am a grant writer and grant writing isn’t considered sexy  (How wrong-headed is that?)  Ellen seems to have lots of followers and all she does is say funny things under her blue eyes and dance over a coffee table every afternoon.

Since nobody is socializing with me, maybe I’ll head over to Ikea and buy a coffee table.

Good Grant Programs are Corrupted by a Bad Foundation

Grants are often applied for to renovate a program or to implement a new and shiny program model.  Sometimes grants are submitted by an agency with a faulty foundation; perhaps the agency’s accounting is poor, their administration is weak, or their program leadership is unskilled.  Grant writers need to highlight the organizational strength of an agency to give reassurance to the grant maker that the proposed program can and will be implemented properly.Bad foundation falling apart

There’s a house in midtown nearby that has undergone a major renovation recently.  An investor bought it and for a number of months the place was surrounded by a chain link fence as construction took place.   New windows were installed and a new front porch was constructed.  Lots of work went on within the house too.  After all the inner improvements were made, the fence was removed and the landscaping was redone.

I noticed that there were the remnants of an old Bermuda lawn which had been worn to stubs by all of the construction traffic.  I assumed that before a new lawn was laid the investor would roto-till the soil and get all the Bermuda out.  I was shocked one day to go by and see workers unrolling the new sod right on top of the unprepared yard.  I knew that within two or three years, the Bermuda would overtake and ruin the beautiful-looking lawn.

The foundation of the new landscaping is corrupted and faulty.  Seeing how the landscaper lay the new lawn made me wonder what other shortcuts the investor had taken in the renovation.  Where else would the eventual home owner be surprised as hidden faults emerged and revealed themselves?

A grant writer’s job is not to write as if to lay sod over a faulty landscape.  A grant writer’s job is to describe the strengths of the agency which illustrate how the grant will properly implemented.  A strong agency will have data that supports the implementation of new programs.

Grant makers seek applicants that bring strength to the process of grant implementation.  A strong organizational foundation positively demonstrates capacity to implement and assures grant makers that the new program won’t be corrupted by concealed flaws.

You use one every time, don’t you?

Veronica Robbins Unleashed contributes this!

Some people don’t think they need one, but they often end up regretting it later, you know. Using one gives you the confidence you need to really let go and focus on what you want to focus on. It also makes it more likely that you’ll have another successful opportunity in the near future.

Read the rest of the story

Internet Lessons – Dump Adwords (unless clicks = sales) and Dump Adsense (unless clicks = checks)

Google Adsense that gives you code that you embed in your site to display google advertisements.  It didn’t pay me well – but it paid Google well – so I took Google ads off my blog.  I figure if I ever get really popular, the advertisers can come ask me for space.  Until then, I am not allowing Google to earn another dime from my blog.

I got wiser to Google when I started using Adwords here at work.  Adwords are ads you build that Google will place on sites using Adsense.  Adwords ads cost money and you pay whenever someone clicks on the ads.  You choose keywords you want to advertise toward. Maybe you’ll choose “goat food” because you sell goat food on your web site.  You want people searching for the term goat food to find your site. 

So you want your ad to come up on the first page (on the right column) each time someone searches for the word goat food or you want it to appear on other people’s goat food web sites who use Adsense.  Google assigns a value to the term goat food that you pay per click.  If someone clicks on your ad, you pay the price per click that Google has established for that keyword.  I’ve paid from about .40 to $1.25 per click.  But I’ve seen clicks that cost a lot more than that.  The person who owns the web site where these ads are placed gets a small fraction of that money.  I used to get a penny, two, maybe three for ads on my site that got clicked.  Google takes the rest.

Adwords & Adsense work well for Google. The owners of the web sites do all the work to place the Adsense ads on their sites.  The Adwords advertiser does all the work to create the ads that are placed on web sites in anticipation that these clicks will turn into sales.   Google does no work  to create or place the ads.

Google’s work was to create the search engine, and two automated online systems; 1) Adsense that enables web site owners to place a Google money machine (ad server) on their site,  2) Adwords for advertisers to create ads that web site owners place on their sites and which Google places on their search web site.

Google is the ultimate middle man. In reality, Google skims almost 100% of the gross for perhaps 5% of the work.  Google’s overhead is a matter of keeping their search engine relevant and the Adwords and Adsense sites running.  Google does not even “sell” advertising, no sales force is needed.

Google is leasing space on millions of web sites using Adwords and Adsense at pennies on the dollar.  It’s a brilliant business model as long as web site owners don’t wise up and dump Google.  It took me several years to wise up.  The business model is sort of like land owners all over the country saying that Google can set up billboards on their land.  Google collects $1,000 -$10,000 a sign per year from advertisers and pays the landowner 1%.  The land owner even has to build the sign!  Internet land owners are eventually going to wise up and ask for a higher percentage or say get lost.

Google ads don’t make anyone rich but Google.

I Need an Electronic Garage Sale

I’ve got too much stuff. I say that now and then about my material things. I get tired of moving it around or dusting it and I give part of it away or sell it off. I foresee a looming problem though, too much electronic stuff.

Getting rid my extra unnecessaries around the house is easy. I grab a box or a bag and I fill it up and it either goes into the dumpster or to the trunk of the car for Goodwill. Easy as pie is what that is. But electronic junk isn’t as easy to deal with.

I currently have nearly 2,400 emails – read – in my in-box. I don’t know why they’re still there, I must have a reason, but it bugs me. I feel as though I should be dusting them, or sorting them, filing them, or discarding them. But the task is huge and each day it gets a little bigger as more emails come along.

I am afraid to look at my list of folders. Each folder has dozens of documents in it and many folders have more folders in them. The list of folders in my computer is too long to number and even if I could number it the number would only weigh on my mind.

Sorting electronic files is excruciatingly slow. It helps if everything is nicely sorted and filed by a recognizable name, but that doesn’t always happen for some reason and I end up with a long list of unfiled files sitting there rudely under the folder list.

If I held a garage sale of my material stuff tomorrow, someone would likely buy a glitter-covered pine cone that I made in the fifth grade. I can’t hold an electronic garage sale though, because nobody will buy a 100 page grant narrative even one that earned a client 10 million dollars.

Sometimes I wish a hacker would hack in and steal my electronic files all away. Sometimes I wish a friend’s 2 year old would come by and reduce my hard drive to electronic devastation with a well-tipped sippy cup. There are, after all, a number of fortunate circumstances that could ease my digital angst.

I feel like one of those people who have filled their garage with stuff and who now have one, maybe two, storage units full of the overflow. My electronic car is parked in the driveway as it were. I guess I will have to break down one day soon to clean out the digital detritus of my life before it becomes archeologically significant.

A clean hard drive, now that’s sexy.

Self Confidence is Important for Grant Writers

A grant writer who lacks self confidence in their writing is doomed to mediocrity or failure. It’s evident when someone writes how confident they are about their narrative. Grant Writers are writing persuasive technical narrative and to do so one must be self confident. There are any number of things that can lead a grant writer to lose confidence about a grant they’re writing.

Here is my top ten list of things that erodes my self confidence when I sit down to write a narrative.

1. I have either not read the RFP comprehensively, or I do not feel that I grasped it.

2. I have questions about the RFP that are unanswered and the granting agency either refuses to take questions or their staff is unavailable.

3. I have not spent enough time with the client to flesh out the program they want funding for.

4. I am short of time to write.

5. I am distracted by outside influences and personal problems.

6. I am unable to get needed signatures, letters of support, or MOU’s in a timely that that allow me to fully focus on the narrative.

7. I have not organized all components of the grant and feel at loose ends.

8. I am dependent on others to provide narrative information and they are slow to provide it.

9. I am having technical difficulties with my equipment that could threaten the writing process and/or digital files.

10. I have had one or more grants declined recently.

Using a positive voice in writing grant narratives is vital to convey ability and competence. Readers scoring a grant written with a confident voice feel secure that the objectives will be achieved. The grant maker seeks maximum assurance that the proposed project will be implemented and that it will successfully achieve the objectives. Confidence is fundamental to writing successful grants that are dependent on a positive, descriptive, technical narrative.

Confidence, now that’s sexy!

Photo Credit: Troy Stoi

Taking the Long View of Grant Writing as a Career

Ahh, it’s good to be a writer.  It is a skill you get better at with practice and attention to detail.  Over time my writing should improve, so my rising age is not a deterrent.  If, for instance, I was a professional athlete in most sports, I’d already be a good ten years past being employable.  Yes, even most professional golfers fade away by the time they’re 40.  But as a writer, I can keep at it until I no longer have anything to say.man sitting on a railing of a dock, looking out over the water.

Writing is a good skill to have, it pays.  It may not pay as much as a professional athlete.  But may is not the right word, grant writing does not pay like pro sports.  I’m not saying it should, it just doesn’t.  The upshot for me is I need to keep earning over a lifetime. The money I am able to save isn’t likely to produce enough interest to support me in my old age.  So long as I can write though, I can produce an income for many years to come.

So I look at working with a long view in mind.  I have no intention of retiring, I have no hobbies interesting enough to keep me sane for twenty to thirty years of retirement.  Writing is my main hobby, then computer graphics and photography.  These are interests that keep me working and earning and I enjoy doing them even in my time off.  I have trouble finding the time to do enough of any of them to satisfy me.

Yes it is good to be a writer and it’s good to enjoy what you’re doing.  If you can do what you enjoy and get paid for it, stay put, because that’s your niche!  That’s where I am as a grant writer, in my niche, nestled, and comfortable.

Now that’s sexy!

Cash Flow – From a Gusher to a Trickle

Freelance grant writing can be financially challenge or rewarding, it’s never in the middle.  It’s never like that government job you’ve left, or that you may want to leave.  The paycheck isn’t automatically deposited to your account on the first and the fifteenth of the month with all of the taxes, retirement, and government fees taken out.

Feast or famine is what your income will look like.  Sometimes the feast is more of a snack but hey we take what comes our way and we eat heartily. Cash flow influences how you pay bills and what you can afford.  There have been times when I must get creative about how I get things done and other times when I have failed to rein in a spending spree set loose by a fat check.

Here are some things to get organized in your head before you get into cash flow droughts.

  1. Establish your contracts to pay you some now and some later.  If you’re working on a research project, then establish a monthly payment schedule.
  2. Set up a tax account where you can put a healthy percentage of each check where it can earn a little interest and save you from being short when your quarterly taxes are due.
  3. Pay off credit cards, as much as you can afford. I’ve found that I tended to live on those at times and so long as my work paid off later, I could pay them down quickly when the tide came in.
  4. Maintain your vehicle.
  5. Pay the entire year of vehicle insurance at once so you take that out of the cash flow equation for 12 months.  You also save money on fees they charge for spreading it out.
  6. If you have an evaluation project, spread the payments out over the year so it helps your cash flow.  You may want 50% up front, then 24% in January, 25% in June.  Or, you may want to have the 50% come in March before taxes are due.
  7. Build things into your contracts where you can that provide you with materials or services you need to do the work.
  8. Build up a cash reserve by setting aside a pittance.  Easier said than done, I know from experience!  I also know that if you get used to setting aside a pittance, it’s easier to add to that as you get into the habit and as extra money comes in.

Cash flow is one of the biggest challenges facing a freelance grant writer or any business person for that matter.  It’s tricky and agencies may be slow in paying, slow in approving contracts, and paperwork gets lost.  You must do your part to ensure that the wheels of each bureaucracy grind as smoothly as possible by submitting invoices promptly, accurately, and to the right person.  Make friends with the people in accounting because when a payment is slow, and your cash flow is low, there are no better people to know!

Positive cash flow, now that’s sexy!

Saying No to a Bad Grant Writing Contract

Freelance grant writers are either really busy or wishing they were.  Of course when you are you long not to be but that’s another story.  Running your own business can be a little scary financially because you’re always “betting on the come”, that is you’re always anticipating there will be another contract coming along.A man's hand held out for a handshake

Success brings contracts to you.  You won’t need to advertise beyond having lots of business cards handy.  People talk about grants in the grant world and agencies often know who is getting people funded, and those that aren’t become invisible and find other work quickly.

The hard part in being a grant writing business owner is turning away a contract.  It can be even harder to do when the chips are down and the economy is bad; in those times, even a bad contract can look good.  Here are a few signs of a bad contract.

  1. The client wants you to write it solely on a contingency basis.  I always hesitate if the client isn’t willing to invest some money, put some skin in the game.  I mean come on people, do you as a grant writer really want to assume all the risk involved?  A client who does not want to invest money, won’t invest time either and you’re going to have a tough time writing the proposal at all.
  2. The client hems and haws for a long time before giving you a contract.  You may be dealing with someone who doesn’t trust you, or who doesn’t know what they want to do.  In either case, go slowly and make sure you’ve talked to them enough to be confident and to give confidence.
  3. The client is impossible to contact.  Potential clients who are too busy to return my call before a contract is signed are unlikely to be any better afterward.  I find that these kinds of clients are better off going with someone else.  I need the client to be committed to producing a fundable proposal, my reputation is on the line.
  4. The client wants to write a grant that is clearly not aligned to their mission or programs.  Go slow here.  This is hard to turn down, especially when a client with cash to pay for your services and you may be strapped for money.  Remember, that you’re in this for the long haul and unfunded grants hurt your business.  If in your opinion, the client as no hope of reciving the funding, don’t take their money.  They may be angry at first, but help them understand why and they will respect you for not gouging them.
  5. Time considerations are also primary.  Be sure that you don’t get greedy and take on too much work.  This is also a temptation in the grant business because if you’re good, lots of agencies will be knocking on your door.  If you take on too many grants to do a good job on any of them, you’ll be searching for clients instead of them searching for you.

A good grant writing contract is one for a grant that you have a reasonable expectation of success in writing and/or for which you have adequate time to develop a successful application.  A bad contract can mean a bad client, a bad opportunity, or the straw that broke the grant writer’s back.  Say NO to bad contracts to ensure the long term success of your grant writing business.

Now that’s sexy!

Early Morning Alarms, Just Part of the Gig

alarm beeps

My alarm clock has an annoying feature, the volume of the beep increases the longer you ignore it. I’ve set it for 4am so I can hit the road to a client 1.5 hours away. It’s cold and foggy outside and while I know I’ll arrive an hour and a half early, I want to beat the traffic that will turn a 1.5 hour trip into a 2.5 hour nightmare.

So my screeching alarm forces me to click the switch down and I stumble through the shower and dressing, grab the briefcase and computer and I’m outside blowing steam into the frosty air. It’s dark and none of the lights are on in my neighborhood.

An hour and a half later, I sit in a local diner half listening to the old men poke fun at each other. A group I see every time I’m there, probably meet later in the day for beers at the Moose Club or the VFW. I imagine that they must meet every morning for bacon and eggs – and probably have for 30 or more years since their kids grew up and moved on.

I drink too much coffee, eat my breakfast, read the local paper for anything newsworthy that may be on the mind of my client, and use the lavender-scented restroom. There’s a doily and shell-encrusted knick-knack on the top of the toilet.  Someone cares enough to make people feel at home – someone’s home.

Off to meet with my client for a couple of hours, then on to another one and hope to be done by 3PM to beat the traffic home again, or it’s going to be 7 before I get home. Life on the road as a freelance grant writer.
Now that’s sexy.

Grant Research Using the IRS 990 Forms

Grant research is a grind, no way around it but there is information in the IRS Form 990 that can save you some time and effort when identifying sound grant prospects. The IRS 990 forms are rich sources of information and they’re public documents that anyone can look at. Here is a short video about some important things to look at in a 990 form.

IRS Form 990 – Now that’s sexy!

Color Me Giants Orange!

A guy painting himself orange.Watching the last out of the World Series just never gets old for me.  I love watching a bunch of grown men going wild like a bunch of little league-ers who were told they’re getting pizza and ice cream after the game.  The old Wide World of Sports saying, “…the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat” is why I watch, it’s what I love about sports the most.  It is borrowed exhilaration, but it’s real none-the-less.  I feel like jumping around with them even though I did nothing but sit on the couch.  Most of the year, I am not a baseball fan, but just as each March I become a college basketball fan, each October I become a baseball fan.

I can still have some of that exhilaration by getting a grant funded.  I get to do a victory lap around the office, I get to call a client and give them the good news unless they hear it first.  I get to high five people and ask them “who’s your daddy?”  (not out loud)

Grant writing is competition.  It’s a thrill to win and it’s agony to lose.  But it still gives you a spark of excitement like those pre-game jitters in high school football.  I recall game day Friday was a thrill every week.  All the guys had to wear shirts and ties to school and after school we’d go to the burger joint down the street with the big bullfrog out front.  Our cross-county rivals would vandalize the frog by painting it red each fall, then we’d paint it green again and whip them on the field for daring to abuse our frog.  If we didn’t win on the scoreboard we’d whip them in a bench-clearing brawl; one way or the other we’d defend our frog’s honor.

Fortunately our rival grant writers don’t vandalize our frogs or anything so we never have a bench clearing brawl with them.  But we’re in competition, we all work hard to prepare and we give our best effort on the field (desk) and at the end of the game (grant award time) there are winners (the funded) and losers (the un-funded).  The excitement of grant competitions is what makes it interesting to be a grant writer, it is what makes it challenging, and for me, the challenge just never gets old!

Grant competitions are the World Series for grant writers, now that’s sexy!

Postmarked by the Universe

Red eyed and bleary after a late night and early morning before a 5PM deadline, I rushed out the door of my office about 4:53 PM to the post office with both grants completed. I didn’t even stop to put the stack of envelopes down to lock the office door somewhere secretly hoping that I’d be burglarized and have to start a new career outside grant writing – tomorrow – after a good night’s sleep. These grants had to be postmarked by 5PM and the post office was about two blocks from my office but I still jumped in the car tossing the envelopes into the front seat.

Cross traffic at the end of my block was heavy of course, it was rush hour. So I sat there cursing my luck, cursing my greed at taking on two grants instead of one, cursing my copy machine that jammed over and over again as I was printing the final copies, cursing the pagination error in one grant which I found as I did a final perusal that forced me to re-print the entire correct document. There was a lot of cursing going on, I was in a state of panic.

A gap appeared in traffic and I drove my foot to the floor lurching my car into the gap to the bewilderment of the now equally distressed driver; oh well, they couldn’t possibly match my dire straits: it was now 4:56 and the post office is prompt about one thing and that’s locking their doors at 5PM.

Traffic crawled the block to the post office and I scraped my front end zipping into the parking lot through the deep gutter. I parked, I grabbed my envelopes, and I raced to the door where a worker was posted with keys in hand admitting the final patrons of the day before locking us in and the tardy public out.

Standing there in line sweating with my bundles of envelopes I knew I’d made it to the finish line and my clients’ grants would be submitted as contracted for. I’d narrowly escaped the Sword of Damocles and the universe had given me the smallest crack to squeeze through and I’d gotten through!

Post Script – Both grants were successfully funded and all was right with the world, my application to a trade school for window washers was rejected for lack of prerequisites and I was forced to continue my career in grant writing. I did sell that photo copy machine to an attorney who dropped in while loading it into his pickup truck, the universe is so good to me.

Now that’s sexy!

Grant Writers are Sexy Beasts: Why Can’t Everyone See It?

I know you’re finding this a hard title to swallow if you’re a freelance grant writer; but it’s true, not everyone is going to see you for the smokin’, free-wheelin’ pan of hot-rib-lickin’ fun that you are.

Some of your clients are just going to see you as an unnecessary expense; you know, they will put on a par with federal income taxes or Iowa earthquake insurance. Some clients will regard you as a kind of pick-pocket. Some of these clients are actually philanthropists, and others just think they are, even the ones who draw large salaries; because after all, they could be making SO MUCH MORE if they were just CEO of Chase, Disney, MGM or something. Of course they’re not, but they COULD be.

Some clients will hold the opinion that a volunteer should be doing their grant writing because it’s such a simple task.  Shamelessly, some of them will hold the opinon that YOU should be volunteering your services; they do, after all, have such a super-sized, scrumptious, volunteer-worthy cause. Besides, they won’t get a bonus at the end of the year by spending it on you.

So while you may feel all Ralph Lauren sleek, others may not see it. They might even talk behind your back about it, yet they smile when you arrive. They may think you’re hiding your wealth when you drive your up in Honda Civic. They may think you left the Lambo with Jeeves in the Carriage House and you’re putting on airs in your Dockers and Nunn Bushes. You may be cutting your own hair and they’ll think it’s an expensive avant gaarde cut from a salon in Soho that you fly to each weekend in your Leer with Chi-Chi and Bubbles (your French poodles).

It’s a hard thing to be misunderstood but we freelance grant writers need to hold fast to our inner sexiness, to our wah-wah-licious, thigh-burning, hotness. ‘Cause some clients will simply want to throw a bucketful of cold snarkyness on you and you’ll feel less than whistle-worthy; but trust me, you are, you’re all that and a bucket full of “philanthropists”.

Now that’s sexy!

Pulling an All-Nighter

It’s 1 AM and I’m halfway through my second draft. I drank two pots of coffee since 10 PM, scarfed down some junk food, and now I walk out to the porch and cold air just trying to keep my eyes open. My five o’clock shadow is rapidly turning into a 2 AM shadow and it’s so rough that it’s starting to pull out fibers on my collar.A grant writer asleep on a bench.

The neighborhood is peaceful. An owl hoots from a tree and an airplane blinks past overhead with a distant drone but there’s no traffic on the street. The porch light draws some moths the flutter about and my breath is visible in the early morning air.

I have a lot of editing to do on this narrative before I can move on to the budget, budget narrative, forms, and final formatting, all waiting to be finished before the 5 PM deadline I’m facing. I remember a time when I could give some of this work to someone else so I didn’t have to shoulder the whole load myself.  But these days I work alone out of my house.

Once I had a fantasy of the romantic life of a writer. But shivering here in my shorts and T-shirt, flip-flops on my feet, in the wee hours of the night, the reality of working alone for yourself is not nearly as glamorous as I had once imagined.

Fully awake I turn my back on the peaceful neighbors slumbering and head back to my office.  The house is in need of cleaning, it’s cluttered with discarded drafts and post-its lay crumpled around the waste basket.

Now that’s sexy.