Today I’m talking with longtime nonprofit expert Laverne Toombs about the art of grant writing. Before even writing a first draft of a grant, we need to do a few things to start off on the right foot. We dive into how doing this background work can really set us up for success.
Lay the Groundwork for the Grantmaker
If you’re interested in writing a grant, you don’t have to have it all figured out. No one starts something as an expert. Bring your willing heart and begin learning. None of us are perfect, and we all have room to grow.
The first step to writing a grant is laying out the prep work. This includes establishing a relationship and being familiar with the funder, understanding that foundation’s criteria, and making sure your mission aligns with theirs.
When reaching out to a grantmaker, we have to get to know the heart behind their foundation’s mission, get to know the people involved, and learn the ins and outs of what’s important to them. We must also make sure that we are not shifting our mission to match theirs simply because they’re a possible donor; people can see right through that.
Preparing the Nonprofit to Apply for a Grant
When it comes to preparing a grant, we need to also make sure the organization/nonprofit we’re helping is ready for grants. Some of the questions to ask are:
- Do you have an organizational budget?
- How many grants do you have the capacity to manage?
- What other sources of funding do you have in place?
As grant writers, we want the nonprofit’s mission to succeed. We can set them up for success by helping them put a plan in place.
What is the first thing you need to do to set a nonprofit’s grant application up for success?
Meet LaVerne Toombs:
LaVerne Toombs is the vice president of development for the American Heart Association, an organization that fights heart disease and stroke and, in turn, helps families and communities thrive. As a leader on the development team, LaVerne uses her magnanimous and infectious personality to help manage the fundraising team to provide them with the necessary tools to achieve those goals. She does this all while building upon volunteer and fundraising opportunities partnering with influential corporate and community voices.
LaVerne’s excellent communication skills have made her a go-to for political, community, government, and education program development, as she can execute those visions by increasing the visibility and impact of any agency that brings her on board. Her reach and effectiveness are exemplified in her most recent designation as an official TEDx speaker, inspiring her audience to embrace forgiveness through her own personal story of discovering she was adopted at the age of 14.
LaVerne founded Write for You, a management and development consulting firm which assists nonprofit organizations and profits businesses across the country. LaVerne pulls from her professional experience as an author of two books as well, How to Run a Successful Home-Based Business and Tips for Successful Grant Writing, which both received numerous awards and accolades. She’s an unrelenting force advocating for the disadvantaged across various spectrums: governmental, political, nonprofit, healthcare, educational, and environmental. When she is not serving the community at large, LaVerne enjoys the company of her four adult children and six loving grandchildren, cycling, or reading a novel.
- Federal Registry
- Connect with LaVerne on LinkedIn
Free Audit: How Grant-Ready Is Your Nonprofit?
If you need support in your journey to excellence as a grant writer, I’d like to invite you to join me on the Fast Track to Grant Writer. Go to teresahuff.com/vip and start learning today.
Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Grant Writer? Take the Quiz:
If you’re ready to explore a career in grant writing, take my free quiz, “Do you have what it takes to be a grant writer?” People are always surprised at how many skills they already have. The distance isn’t as far as they thought. Let’s figure out how you can use your skills to help change your world.
If you’re ready to step up your nonprofit game, join me on the Fast Track to Grant Writer. The world needs you.