It was after I became a mom that I first heard the phrase, “the days are long but the years are short.” I became a grant writing consultant when my oldest was 3 months old. Erin and I joined forces and formed TGP when he was about 9 months old. This fall, he entered middle school. Where did the time go? Indeed, the days are long but the years are short.
I feel the same way about my second child (who just started 4th grade), and my third child, The Grant Plant, which has now been in business for 11 (and a half!) years. The days can be long – deadline pressure, the isolation of being behind the keyboard, the pinging of email – but the years are short. I can’t believe I am writing about our outcomes from our tenth year in business, 2013. (There is a lag because it takes until mid-summer to get notifications on all of the grants that are submitted in a calendar year; we then analyze results, and then we have to wait for me to get around to publishing them.)
This year, our annual report is in the form of an infographic. It’s my first stab at it, so please be gentle. If you like it, know that TGP is undertaking professional development in this skillset, and infographics are now a product that TGP offers as part of developing stakeholder relations materials.
So, how did 2013 shape up? In terms of dollars brought in to the clients we work with, we helped raise $3,128,063 ($2.1M from out of state funders). This is on par with what 2012 showed ($3,128,303). We submitted 105 proposals over the course of the year, meaning that we submitted a proposal every 3.5 days on average. We also completed numerous reports and stakeholder materials, plus grants research. It was a busy year! Luckily, we continue to have the same stellar team – a group of nine individuals who are committed to high quality work. Our success rate hovered at about 54%, which is two percentage points higher than 2012’s, and a full 9 percentage points higher than it was at the end of the recession in 2009.
2013 also brought a series of new developments for TGP, which we have been implementing in 2014. Erin, Wendy, and I attended a conference in Baltimore (my goal was to eat seafood for every meal, which I accomplished except for the one meal when the conference served chicken – what?!) and out of that came several business ideas. We redesigned our grant profile, which is our primary prospect research tool for clients. It helps many agencies take that first step to figure out what grants might be out there for them. The new and improved, very sleek, grant profile is still offered in a binder (we’ve toyed with making it an online tool, but we like the beauty and substance of the hard copy), but the descriptions of funders are shorter and more pertinent and tailored to the client. It also includes a new ranking system that we’ve been testing in 2014. Previously, we would finish the grant profile and some poor development director (or us, if we were on the grant seeking side of things in addition to the grant research) would have to decide where to begin with grant seeking. Now with our new system, we can hand off the grant profile confident that the recipient will have a good idea of where to start, in terms of which agencies are the best matches and how much work the applications are. It marries the two components of grant seeking – the research and the writing.
We also solidified a belief system for TGP. We have long based our team approach on values; adding beliefs validates how those values are lived out through our work. Our values are accountability, collaboration, compassion, humor, innovation, integrity, results, and risk-taking. Reminding ourselves why we’re doing something, not just how we’re doing something gives us all a greater sense of purpose and direction. Our belief system is:
- New Mexico is a state worth investing in.
- New Mexico can rank at the top nationally.
- New Mexico’s people are smart and resourceful.
- New Mexico’s culture is an asset, and is valuable.
- TGP can increase the knowledge and skills in fundraising for New Mexico’s not-for-profit organizations.
Moving forward, things are looking good. We won’t know full outcomes for 2014 until this time next year, but we’ve already brought in more money this year to date than we did in all of 2013 (with a very busy fall and winter of submitting yet to go!). The redesigned grant profile has been met with much demand. We also launched a new website that highlights our belief system (www.thegrantplant.com).
We’re grateful to our clients for the work they entrust into our hands, and by extension, our keyboards (we had to replace 3 computers in 2013!). Thank you for letting us live out our beliefs in New Mexico.
Contact: Tara Gohr, President/CEO, firstname.lastname@example.org
This post was filed under: Inside TGP