Thursday, November 4, 2010

Armor Clad and Recession Proof

A grant writer suffers the same dilemma as any copywriter, fiction writer, financial writer or a paid writer of virtually anything. Doubt raises an ugly head and peers at all of us from weird angles.

With the elections behind us it seems to take a few days for things to settle down in our personal and working worlds. Were there any candidates up for election that gave you any worries about your future in the market place? Did you prefer one over the other for that reason?

It doesn't really matter what your answer is because the night passed and daylight has returned to either brighten our spirits or to darken the cloud above our heads. It is a matter of perspective. Is it the old glass half full or half empty syndrome? Not really; that pertains to relative volume. Here I believe it is a matter of the facts you have on hand verses the reality of the outcome.

I do sometimes feel as if I am clad in a suit of armor. The buzz word heard today and everyday for the past several years has been "recession." It is either here now, on the way, on the way out or non-existent. If you believe all the blogs, or at least the ones you are reading, we are deep in the sludge of misery. Even the larger foundations and corporate entities say they must cut back their funding to manageable levels.

The immense size of the nonprofit world is what scares me when I get stuck on thinking about the ramifications of it all. If the nation's resources are being hit so hard is there going to be enough to fund the causes that really need or deserve it?

I Think Not!

In times of perfect GNP growth, astronomical levels of giving and unprecedented spurts of generosity there is never enough to fund all the nonprofits that need a helping hand to complete a project or even exist on a daily basis into the near future. It is all relevant. Grant writers are no more immune now to the words, "sorry Charly maybe next time," than they have ever been before. There is never enough to go around to whom we think individually deserve the funds, now, before or in the future. It is the way it is!

We are not recession proof. Grant writers have never been recession proof anymore than the nonprofits they write for. As long as we wear our armor full pressed to our chests it is life everyday as we know it.  Some receive more funding in times of recession, some receive less. I do not have the stats but I would bet more Requests for Proposals are announced in times of less funds available than in times of plenty. It is the nature of the beast to want to offer smaller amounts of goods and services to a larger number of recipients.

My suggestion to my list of clients is to have 2 or 3 different boiler plate proposals on hand to submit to 30 to 40 different smaller foundations;  rather than compete with the multitudes applying for 2 or 3 huge grants. During such competition it takes very little to remove your nonprofit from the running. Forgetting to dot a few eyes or cross a few tees becomes ever so important in high dollar grant proposal applications.

Being recession proof is an impossible task. Being prepared while wearing your full body armor is always proactive in times of  downward dips as well as in times of extreme prosperity. Like the Boy Scouts of America has been saying for over a hundred years, "Be Prepared."

What do you think?

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