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Did you wake up with a foreboding sense of deja vu? Like you've written the exact same narrative over and over again? There are not too many occasions when I can relate to Bill Murray waking up and reliving the same day, except when I find myself reworking the same narrative for another application. You know the feeling – when you have tried and true narrative pieces that perfectly depict the history, need, and program design that makes you feel like you are stuck on repeat? So, what can you do when the programs aren’t changing, but you need to breathe some life into the writing? Here are some tips to refresh your writing and wake up feeling rejuvenated for a busy grant season!

Case statements are a vital component of a nonprofit fundraising strategy. They are living documents that describe the essential elements of an organization or specific program. These comprehensive descriptions cover topics most funders request – organization history, goals and outcomes, sustainability plan, organizational structure, etc. The purpose is not to create a generic grant to send out to every funder you know but to serve as a starting point for tailoring information to a specific request. A case statement helps information remain consistent among multiple proposals and establishes a master document for updating annual information, statistics, and outcomes. These documents can also be tailored for individual donor prospects, bring a new partner up to speed, or inform new staff on the organization. Creating a comprehensive case statement requires an investment of time. The good news is that annual maintenance is much easier once it is complete. Here are some helpful tips to keep your case statement fresh in the coming year:

In 2023, everyone has an app or system that they live and breathe by - color-coded calendars, project management tools, or to-do lists read by Alexa each morning. Are you the person who struggles with sticking to a new system? Or you may get a jolt of motivation when a new application creates a shortcut in your day. Whatever the reason for your attention, here are four tools that have helped my projects stay on track. With the best of intentions, these tools will carry me through 2023!

What about January makes us habitually declare resolutions that will result in a new and improved version of ourselves? It could be that following a season of holiday parties and socks filled with candy, we need a hard reset. Or the accountability en-mass as like-minded individuals dredge out of their homes to the gym. Research shows goal-setters have a higher success rate when starting the commitment to pursue a goal after a temporal landmark (e.g., a new week, month, birthday, or holiday); this is called the “fresh start effect.” This phenomenon of New Year’s resolutions is more common in the United States. A poll conducted for the last three years reports that 44% of U.S. participants set a new goal, while only 12-18% of Swedish residents make a resolution.

This time of year starts to get a little strange between projects wrapping up for the year, the time change I still have not adjusted to, and differing work schedules for holiday plans and using up vacation time. While some like to bank their paid time off to have a full holiday break (which is fully respectable), I like to use this quieter time to work on projects that get pushed to the side during busy seasons. Here are some ways I like to use downtime to my advantage.

Looking to re-submit a proposal that didn’t get funded last year? Applying for a new funding opportunity? Or re-applying for a highly competitive grant? If this sounds like you, listen up! Grant proposals are denied for so many different reasons and sometimes, unbeknownst to us. In the best cases, you get reviewer feedback, but more likely you are left wondering where your proposal went wrong and what could be done differently to set it apart from the flood of other applicants. Fear not – here are some tried and true, back-to-the-basics ways to improve your proposal and elevate it from the competition.  

With Thanksgiving just over a week away, I find myself taking a few minutes to reflect on the nonprofits that provide services to those individuals in our community who need support. These organizations have diligently served our community through challenging times, some for many years. Their steadfast service and that of their talented staff, uplift our communities. While there are so many amazing organizations I could highlight, I am especially grateful for the following organizations…

Do you find yourself coming away from Grant Professionals Association (GPA) National Conference with new tips and tricks you want to explore or apply to your work? Did you attend a session that made you realize you wanted to know more about this topic? This morning, as I reflected on the past week, I found myself inspired by the knowledge and generosity shared in our professional community and a little lost as to what steps to take next. It’s the perfect time to reflect on the past year and ponder what you want out of the coming one. Let’s start with a general understanding of why professional development is more than a great trip to bourbon country, look at resources to help guide your path, and create tangible steps for you to grow with purpose in 2023.

As a first-time attendee at National Conference, I wanted to be a little more prepared than a booked flight and hotel reservation. It might be the grant professional in me, but I like to know what I’m walking into and have a plan. I talked with colleagues who have been to the conference a time or two and came up with some tips and advice to share to help you get the most out of our conference experience.