September 18, 2012

Open Invitation for Participation in TGPs User Stories Session

When: 10-10-2012 8:30AM-11:00AM

Where: Office Alternatives @ 4801 Lang Street NE, Suite 110

What:  User Stories Session Breakfast

You and your colleagues are invited to participate in TGP’s upcoming User Stories session. Like me, your first thought might be, “Pretty name, but what does that mean?” According to the Almighty Google, a user story is, in computer software speak, one or more sentences in the everyday or business language of the end user or user of a system that captures what a user does or needs to do as part of his or her job function. How does this pertain to you and TGP? We are asking you to put in a bit of pre-event thought-work and then show up, enjoy breakfast, and participate in a brainstorming session that involves lots of sticky notes.

As we have been alluding for the past couple of months, TGP has some exciting technological developments in the works. Of course our first love is winning grants for our favorite clients here at home… but imagine the possibilities of coupling that passion with the power of technology! We are very excited about what might result. We want to help agencies identify and seek funding, regardless of where they are located or whether they currently work with us. Think about all the additional organizations we could serve! This desire resulted in a long process of internal planning and strategizing to identify key challenges, gaps, and pitfalls for those seeking funds. Our dream is to harness technology to create easy solutions for busy nonprofit leaders. Our initiative is called Grants on the Go: Bringing the 3rd Sector into the 21st Century and we hope you can help us.

As many of you know, the field of grant seeking has been affected by a few cycles of evolutionary innovations and we hope to usher in a new phase. When our more experienced team members first started grant writing, we utilized typewriters and a grasp of potential funders. Word processing and foundation indexes allowed us to access encyclopedic volumes of foundation information and xeroxed funder information. Next came the first iteration of digital grant assistance, pay-to-play, or access-restricted searchable databases of funders. More recently, we have seen free databases and significant online grant writing educational resources. As you may know, there is now an avalanche of information available, and the challenge as the field evolves is to sort the information in order to provide the right information at the right time and to make the grants process easier.

TGP is poised to do this, but we need to know your needs and thoughts – as an executive, a nonprofit leader, a grant writer, development staffer, techno person, and/or a believer in the power of philanthropy to change lives – so that we can create new tools that harness the amazing potential for grants on the go.

We have several potential resources in the works that could bring significant efficiency improvements, increase access and approachability of grant seeking, assist team proposal development, and help coordination of large proposal projects. For example, after having to monitor a pile of RSS feeds and performing regular database searches for funders that match your priorities, imagine the ease and time-savings of having matching grant opportunities and updates come your way via a mobile app push notification? Or what about an app that sets deadlines, reminder calendars, component checklists, and project communication for a team of people preparing grant components from your cell phone or tablet while you are in a planning meeting? Instead of recreating the wheel on federal forms and narrative formats, how about getting a packaged solution that sets up the project and helps ensure your responses are complete and compliant? All of this is in our arsenal of the Grants on the Go initiative.

These tools will be game-changing for our clients, our business, and nonprofit organizations nationwide. They will allow smaller nonprofits to compete for grant dollars at a level with their larger counterparts. The solutions will ease workloads of nonprofit staff members and help reduce confusion and anxiety about Federal grant elements.

We know, without a doubt, that our ideas are new, exciting, and promising. What we do not yet know is how to take our ideas to the implementation phase. In order to help with this, we have the commitment of a Phoenix-based applications developer to work with us on the initiative. Tony Pallas has extensive experience in building custom interactive sites and applications, infrastructure architecture and strategy, and technical leadership. Previously with Motorola, he is now a Partner with Blumo as Vice President of Technology & Operations. We are fortunate that he has been working with us for the past few months on getting ready for this next step… now all we need is your input during the User Stories session!

If you’re able to join us for this highly participatory event, we have some questions for you to think through in order to be prepared and know what to expect for the User Stories session. The information and registration is located online. You are welcome to forward this on to colleagues whom you think may be interested in this project. All participants in the User Stories session will get free access to the Beta versions of the newly-developed tools, as an expression of our appreciation for your input.

I hope to see you for breakfast on October 10!

With love and excitement,

Tara Gohr, President/CEO,

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