The Hell Raiser's Blog

Getting Grants Without Losing Your Sanity (Thoughts on WTF?! Applications) 

This is my dog, Ramona. And this is her WTF?!-Face, which she gets when she has to put up with nonsense. 

For Ramona, those WTF?! moments happen almost every day at about 2:30 in the afternoon, when the same guy comes up to the house and roots around in the box out there, then tramps across the lawn to do the same thing next door.

I too have my WTF?! moments. Just last week, I had such a moment, which inspired this, the first installment in a series of examples about WTF?! (worth the frustration?!) grant-getting situations and what to do about them. So here goes:

WTF?! (Example #1): The grant application that requires $5000 worth of the applicant nonprofit's resources (in time and talent) for a $2500 grant.

How does a person get caught in this trap? One way to do it is by completing the application's narrative section before determining what attachments the grantor requires: You've invested many hours in completing the application before looking at the list of required attachments, at which point you discover that the funder wants to know both your board's composition (income, gender, race, age, hometown, and favorite dessert) for the last five years and your organization's projected income (by revenue source) for the next five. And most of these documents don't exist.

 Next time: Remember to read the application before you start to work on it!

Check back soon for Post #2 ("We Don't Do General Operating"), in which I complain about grants that require specific and extensive record keeping of grantees, but do not fund the very activity they require.

Oh, and I talk about how to handle this situation.


How Qualified Are You to Run for President?

(This post originally appeared in OpEdNews on 7/6/15.)

There's still time to announce your bid for presidency of the United States! Not sure you'd make a good candidate? Take this quiz to see if you're ready to run. Write "true" next to each statement below that describes you:

1) You can do Marco Rubio's Deep-Thoughts-Gaze. (If yours needs work, not to worry: Watch the Friends episode where Joey teaches his acting class to portray a character in a profound moment by using a technique he calls "Smell-the-Fart." You can find this scene online.)

2) You own a U.S. flag pin.

3) You can use each of these words at least three times in a five-minute interview: "pray," "blessed," "family," "faith," "serve," "called" (as in "Great men called to serve"), "Good, Hard-Working Americans," "middle-class," and "fight for" (as in "I will fight for the Good, Hard- Working Americans who are this great country's middle-class!")

4) You have never forgotten your hardscrabble roots ... your father, permanently bent-over from all those 16-hour days in the mine ... your mother's hands gnarled from 40 years of doing piece work every evening after coming home from a day at the mill. Without their sacrifice and support, you would not be the man you are - the man called to go to Washington to eradicate Social Security and Medicare.

5) You have published a memoir, which can be found at local book stores (on the $2 shelves) and/or rummage sales (in the section with books on things like journaling your way through menopause and eliminating belly fat).

6) Your family looks like they just walked off of the set of The Lawrence Welk Show.

7) You have your own billionaire to sponsor your campaign.

Scoring Your Quiz:

If you are ready to run, you will have written "true" next to Question 7. Otherwise, you are not candidate material.

[For still-viable candidates] To determine how competitive a candidate you are, you will need to compare the size of your billionaire's gift to those of the other candidates.

Why bother with the first six questions? Because in the event that you and another candidate "raise" the same amount of money, how else will Good, Hard-Working Americans be able to decide whether you deserve their vote?