One of the most important resources in nonprofit organizations is the staff. They form relationships with the people they serve. They build relationships in the community to find the resources clients need. Without them, the nonprofit programs and services which affect millions of lives would fall silent. While we are advocates of writing grants which describe how the target population is involved in the program, this does not mean that organizations should stop describing the strengths of their staff. Here are four ways to highlight the quality and importance of your staff in your next grant:

Institute of Museum and Library Services Last week, we featured the annual Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Museums for America funding opportunity, which supports project-based initiatives for museums of all sizes and disciplines. This week, we’re taking a closer look at an IMLS program that specifically supports capacity-building efforts of African American museums and/or archival collections at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The Museum Grants for African American History and Culture (AAHC) program provides funding for eligible museums to increase workforce capacity, provide staff with professional development opportunities, and improve access to collections through a variety of eligible activities.

Institute of Museum and Library Services Last month, we shared information about an annual Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) opportunity focused on capacity building for museums. This month, we’re looking at some additional open solicitations from IMLS that are closing later this fall. The Museums for America (MFA) program is one such opportunity. MFA provides funding for mission-aligned, project-based efforts for museums of all sizes and disciplines. These projects can vary in type, focus, reach, or scale of societal impact, but they should – in broad terms – advance knowledge and understanding and ensure that the IMLS grant funding benefits society.

Thrive Allen County (TAC) recently received a grant for $2,970,164 from the CMS Cooperative Agreement to Support Navigators to Federally-Facilitated Exchanges (FFE) to support the recruitment, training, and activities of 18 Navigators who will provide services in 42 counties throughout the state of Kansas over three years. Through the Kansas CARES (Coordinating and Assisting Reliable Enrollment Services) Program, TAC proposes to serve as lead applicant for a consortium of 10 subawardee entities that will hire, train, and oversee Navigators in their region. Navigators provide individuals with information about health insurance options and eligibility and help them enroll in a qualified health plan.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Does your organization work to improve access to and quality of mental and behavioral health services? The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has several funding opportunities opening in the coming months that will support efforts to expand workforce capacity to address community-based behavioral health needs, or efforts that focus on serving infant/early childhood mental health or children with serious emotional disturbances (SED).

Are you laboring too much over grants? Grants are great to have, and they’re often crucial to an organization’s mission, but there are only so many hours in the day to apply for and manage those grants. Grant professionals are susceptible to burn out from the heavy responsibility and high-pressure, deadline-driven work, which continues day in and day out in our profession. Grant applications and management can even get in the way of your organization’s mission. I was recently on a call with a client who was looking for help managing their grant portfolio. When I asked why they were seeking support, the client shared a striking comment: “We are so busy trying to get the money that we struggle to actually carry out the work.” I understood completely because I’ve seen this state of affairs before.

United States Department of Agriculture – Rural Development Attention rural microentrepreneurs and the organizations that support them! The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is now accepting proposals for its 2021 Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP). The goal of RMAP is to support the development and success of rural microentrepreneurs and microenterprises. It accomplishes this by providing loans and grants to Microenterprise Development Organizations (MDOs) that provide technical assistance and financial services to eligible rural businesses. RMAP applications are accepted on an ongoing basis, with due dates occurring at the end of each quarter, from September 30, 2021 through June 30, 2022.

Institute of Museum and Library Services Last month, we looked at an annual Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) opportunity focused on capacity-building for libraries. This month, IMLS opened applications for a similar annual program for museum folks, National Leadership Grants for Museums (NLG-M). This program seeks to address critical needs and improve services among the museum profession at a broad level. IMLS is looking for projects that demonstrate a thorough understanding of the needs and priorities within the museum field, employ innovative approaches and collaborations, and have the potential to make a far-reaching impact in the discipline.

Health Resources and Services Administration Does your organization provide health care in rural and medically underserved areas? The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) recently opened a funding opportunity through its Promoting Resilience and Mental Health Among Health Professional Workforce (PRMHW) program. The overall goal of the PRMHW program is to support health care organizations in the adoption, promotion, and implementation of a culture of wellness for their health professional workforce(s), including building resilience against burnout and supporting mental health. This program also places an emphasis on addressing social determinants of health, health equity and disparities, and the needs of rural and medically underserved communities. The due date for this year’s funding opportunity is coming up on August 30, 2021.

Recently, I conducted a pre-submission peer review on several federal grant proposals from organizations located in rural Kansas. The first question each organization had to respond to was, “Describe your geographical/service area.” Each organization named the counties served in their respective service areas and then went on to describe just how ‘rural’ their area is. While each applicant organization had some aspects of serving rural areas of Kansas in common, they each approached the description differently. Some of the descriptions included the total square mileage contained within their service boundaries; others referenced the state’s definitions that place a county on a continuum of ‘frontier’ to ‘urban’; others pointed out the distance in hours to the nearest major city. Ultimately, each applicant described their geographical service area with the purpose of convincing federal reviewers that Organization XYZ was the only provider of important services for its region.