articles about ‘For Managers’
Tuesday, February 15th, 2011
The following post is adapted from “More Than Data: How Prospect Research can Help You Fine-Tune Your Ask, Allowing You to Raise More Money More Cost-Effectively,” by Paul Lagasse, Advancing Philanthropy, v18n1, January-February 2011 (reprinted with permission) You can read the whole article here.
Researchers today have access to more information, more quickly, than ever before. But are they looking for the right information in the right places? Are fundraisers making the best use of the information? Making sure that the wheat is being separated efficiently from the chaff has become a crucial management function for today’s fundraising executives.
Thursday, December 9th, 2010
The following post is adapted from “Dear, Near, and Clear: How Improving Your Organization’s Donor Relations Can Help You Provide More Resources to More Constituents More Effectively and More Often,” by Paul Lagasse, Advancing Philanthropy, v17n6, November-December 2010 (reprinted with permission) You can read the whole article here.
Nonprofits should remember to use their relationship savvy to cultivate grant makers as well as individual donors, says Jane C. Geever, founder and chairman of fundraising and management consulting firm J. C. Geever Inc. in New York City (www.jcgeever.com). Geever says that in more than 35 years in the profession she has seen enormous change in grant making — not just in the explosive increase in foundation and corporate giving, but also in the way these programs work with nonprofit applicants. “There’s an openness that didn’t exist years ago, and also a frustration that nonprofits don’t take the time to figure out how to approach them with priority projects,” Geever explains.
In her book The Foundation Center’s Guide To Proposal Writing, 5th Edition (The Foundation Center, 2007), Geever used extensive interviews with grant makers to discover not only what makes a winning proposal, but also how to best reach out to grant makers. She learned that grant makers dislike “fishing expeditions,” preferring instead to hear from grant seekers who have done their homework first. However, on average only about one in three applicants takes the time to ensure a program is a good match with grant makers’ missions before submitting an application. “Grant makers see themselves as investors in people and good ideas,” Geever says. “Why would they bother to respond to people who are just churning out applications? They like educated grant seekers because they want to give them an advantage.
“Grant makers complain that we don’t communicate enough. Every step builds the relationship,” Geever says. Stay in touch through mailings and phone calls — especially after a rejection. Keep them informed about your successes and challenges. Be sure to put them on your mailing list, too. Geever adds that it helps to think of grant makers as individuals, so make your communications to them personal, not institutional. She also recommends these tips for building strong relationships with a grant maker:
Monday, November 8th, 2010
As has been widely reported, last month the Government Accountability Office released the long-awaited reports on two audits of the National Archives and Records Administration’s oversight and management and information security. The results are a mixed bag, but indicate that NARA is continuing to learn from its past mistakes.
Here are some of the highlights:
Wednesday, September 15th, 2010
The following post is adapted from “All Thumbs?: How Nonverbal and Verbal Skills Can Make All the Difference with Donors — and Why Young Fundraisers Should Care,” by Paul Lagasse and Mary Ellen Collins, Advancing Philanthropy, v17n4, July-August 2010 (reprinted with permission) You can read the whole article here.
Accurate, clear and persuasive written communication is essential for successful fundraising, particularly for grant proposals, says Diane M. Gedeon-Martin, president of The Write Source LLC, a grant-writing consultancy based in Glastonbury, Conn. She believes that proposal writing is becoming a lost art in part because technologies that were developed to help people communicate more quickly have instead made it easier for people to communicate more frequently, with a resulting loss in quality amid the density. “Proposal writing is something we must champion because grant makers often look unfavorably on proposals that are poorly written,” she explains. “Grant makers are very savvy these days, and if there’s a similar proposal that articulates the need and project description well, they may place a higher priority on the one that they can fully grasp the concept of.”
Gedeon-Martin, who is on the faculty of the Fund Raising School at Indiana University, recently completed a two-day basic grant-proposal writing course that exemplifies the dilemma. “Here were 50 people in my session, with one-half of them under the age of 30,” she recalls. “I spent a lot of time educating them on proper grammar, style and voice.”
Those basics can make or break a grant proposal and, by extension, the nonprofit that needs the money. “Poor writing skills suggest an inability of organizations and their personnel to manage funds,” Gedeon-Martin stresses.
Perhaps ironically, the trend toward ever-shorter communications spurred by text messaging and email has affected grant proposals, too, as more corporate and larger foundation grant makers switch to online-only submissions that place a cap on the number of characters allowed and reduce or eliminate altogether opportunities for face-to-face or telephone meetings. This compression has made it harder for grant seekers, as they try to write persuasive case statements in 2,000 characters or less. “The day of 12- or 15-page grant proposals to foundations and corporations are long gone,” Gedeon-Martin explains. “The attention span of reviewers is compromised when they have to read 20 to 30 proposals in a day. How can we keep their attention? We have to write differently by getting to our point quickly. We need to keep them reading.”
At a time when more and more nonprofits are seeking grants just to be able to keep their doors open, the attention-grabbing power of words is that much more important. “You’re not just writing a grant proposal,” Gedeon-Martin emphasizes. “You’re writing an introduction to your whole organization. It might be the only thing they see from you, so it needs to be the best thing you’ve ever written.”
To make sure it is, the writing must do the following:
Tuesday, July 7th, 2009
IPhone and iPod Touch apps for creating and editing business documents have surged to the top ranks of the App Store’s popularity charts. This is good news for freelance writers who work in the field and who like to travel light.
Over the course of the next few entries I’ll be reporting on my field tests of some of my favorite apps. These won’t be full-blown reviews, but rather brief and complementary summaries of the highlights (and lowlights) of each app that revealed themselves while I put them through their paces.
First up is the long-anticipated DataViz Documents to Go for the iPhone app.
Tuesday, February 10th, 2009
On an automobile assembly line, you wouldn’t wait until after you’ve installed all the interior paneling and trim to put in the side windows. When it comes to editing your reports, white papers, instruction manuals, and other important documents, are you doing the equivalent?
Freelance editors are used to talking with potential clients who think that proofreading a document means giving it a thorough syntactic overhaul, and that copyediting covers the writing and insertion of a whole new section of text. Most of us are not averse to taking on projects that cross definitional boundaries, but we do try to make sure the client understands the differences.
“Who cares?” some will interrupt. “Editing is editing, right?”
Editors define the types of editing differently not because we’re trying to be split hairs but because we understand that each one should be performed at its own particular stage of the document preparation process — putting the windows in while you’re still assembling the doors, so to speak. Performing the wrong kind of editing at the wrong stage in the production process can derail the whole process.
Use this editing sequence to keep your document assembly line moving.
Monday, June 30th, 2008
This morning I received an e-mail with the subject line “Job on Computer in July,” from an unfamiliar name. I’m used to receiving cold-call e-mails from prospective clients, so I opened it up and took a look:
We offer a part time job on your computer.
We will provide you with the texts and you will correct the texts as an english speaking person and send them back to us. Just correct grammar and spell mistakes, nothing else.
Ah, a work-at-home scam. Of course. I get plenty of those. Just out of curiosity, I kept reading to see how much they pay — assuming they do pay.
Oh, they pay, all right . . .
Thursday, January 17th, 2008
In the course of designing and testing hPDA templates, I have found that many of the people who organize their planners also follow a productivity methodology such as David Allen’s popular Getting Things Done (GTD) system.
As a freelance writer and editor, I understand the importance of good workflow management, so I looked into GTD and other popular methodologies. To my surprise, none of them felt like a good match with my style.
Curious about why, I took a serious look at how I manage my own workflow. What was different? What was similar? The answers that I found were personally illuminating. They also offer interesting possibilities for other freelancers too.
Friday, December 28th, 2007
New Year’s Day is the traditional time for resolutions to take effect. Have you made writing and editorial resolutions for your business yet?
If not, then here are some helpful suggestions from the Active Voice blog . . . (more…)
Thursday, August 23rd, 2007
Journalist Xeni Jardin recently discussed the perils of storing and deleting government e-mail on her weekly NPR spot, XeniTech. Prompted by the recent controversial decision by the District of Columbia government to purge all e-mails every six months, Jardin presented a brief overview of the complex issue of electronic records retention.
Unintentionally, Jardin’s piece highlights and perpetuates some of the most common misconceptions about the nature of records management in the information age. Let’s take a look: