Grants that Go Bump in the Night by Rosie Brennan, GPC & Guest Blogger Jennifer Murphy, GPC

by Rosie Brennan, GPC, and guest blogger Jennifer Murphy, GPC, Manager of Institutional Giving, Lyric Opera of Kansas City


Spooky season is upon us, and at AGS we’ve been thinking about what keeps us up at night when it comes to grants. As grant pros, we are skilled at anticipating challenges and putting controls in place to mitigate negative outcomes in our grant programs. Here are some eerie grant scenarios with suggested actions that’ll have you sleeping like a baby.

  1. Obscured Outcomes

It’s been another successful summer at Camp Grantnada. All the kids are headed back to their parents with sunburns and smiles. The camp structures that were ringing with the laughter of children days ago are eerily quiet. In this moment of stillness, you remember the grant that paid for supplies to help campers build teamwork and leadership skills. When all of a sudden you remember, the grant report – it’s due next week! Eeeek! Did the campers build new skills? Was the project a success? What should I tell the funder?? Sounds like you could’ve used a logic model (eep!) to help you plan what outcome measures and metrics you could’ve collected to help communicate project results. But logic models…those are scary enough on their own! What’s the difference between an objective and an outcome, and why are there so many columns to fill out anyway??

Check out the Logic Models and Theory of Change Training Series to learn logic model basics and how to use them as powerful tools for program planning.

  1. Absolutely Alone

You are working on a big grant proposal, but one of the requested attachments has you stumped. You ask around the office, but everyone looks at you like you’re speaking a different language. Suddenly, you feel completely and utterly alone like wandering through a cemetery on Halloween night. Alone is a scary place to be when no one is there to help. If only there was a number to call? Like the Ghostbusters!

You’re not alone! The Grant Professionals Association is full of people (literally thousands) who have been there before and can help you out in a jam. While they don’t share the same skillset as the Ghostbusters, I would argue they’re just as heroic! Through GPA not only can you meet people who get it, you can also gain access to tons of grant-specific professional development opportunities and publications.

  1. Federal Fears

It’s a dark and stormy Tuesday afternoon. You’ve just finished eating your afternoon yogurt cup and a handful of baby carrots when you hear the alert. Ding. It’s an email from the executive director. She just finished talking to a colleague about a USDA grant that your organization is a perfect match for… but you’ve never written a federal grant! You’re terrified of what might be coming!

Never fear! AGS has an entire Federal Grants Training Series to help prepare you every step of the way, from registration, to proposal preparation, to award management. If you’re still feeling hesitant about taking on such a big project, bring AGS in to help! We can support you with a content review to make sure your proposal meets the RFP requirements, offer copy editing services, or we can manage and write the grant alongside you for a valuable learning experience.

If you’re avoiding the eerie things that spook you, contact Assel Grant Services today. Our grant professionals can shine a light on what seems spooky and put your fears at ease!