Comox Valley woman writes a book on applying for grants

Asking a group or government for money for your group’s important project is a frightening process.

Where to begin?

The good news is that most funding groups really want to help you.

Even better news, is that a Comox Valley woman who’s been there and done that in the world of grant-seeking for 25 years has written an entertaining handbook to help you write a good grant application.

Deborah Griffiths, the director of the Courtenay Museum and Archives, works on the side as a professional grant writer.

She’s operated her own business for the past 16 years, helping groups apply for grants, and reviewing applications for funders.

(Cont. on page 18)

Griffiths works on a contract basis for the Museum which gives her the flexibility to run her grant-writing business on the side.

She had originally printed up a “little book” for some of her clients so that they could get some tips on making grant proposals.

Self-Counsel Press saw that booklet and asked Griffiths if she would expand on it for a book in their popular self-help series.

“The Grant Writing and Funding Coach – Target and Acquire the Funds You Need” is the result.

The book sets out to explain how individuals, non-profits, local government and community organizations can “build bridges with funders.”

Griffiths, who took degrees in anthropology and English before adding a Masters in Learning and Training, loves the ‘writing’ part of grant applications.

Her approach is first using the “five W’s and an H” approach from journalism, a field she studied in high school and was inspired there by the teacher.

The “five W’s”, of course, are Who, What, When, Where and Why, with the “H” of How thrown in for good measure.

Griffiths has tried to demystify and de-jargonize the grant writing process.

“I’ve … learned that the business of writing grants and applying for funds is sometimes presented as being more complicated than it actually is, even though there is great need for it in some communities,” Griffiths writes.

“If you are seeking a highly technical, academic-speak book about grants and funding, this isn’t it This is, pure, business-like, pleasure-reading about idea advancement backed with solid experience and information from people in the business of applying for and giving funds in the form of grants.”

And Griffiths puts a lot of the “F-word” in the book – “Fun”.

She writes about philanthropy and saying ‘thank you’; being honest and straightforward; making sure you follow funders’ criteria so you’re not wasting their time and yours; telling a full, honest story; focusing on the benefits of your project; showing how you can financially sustain the project; even on using professionally-done graphics, and good quality paper, for your written presentation.

“You’re providing an opportunity to funders. They want projects that fit with what they’re trying to do in the community,” she said. “The word count doesn’t matter … It’s how you can get to the point with what you need.”

Griffiths said she’s worked on many grant applications for really interesting projects, everything from recycling to forest preservation.

“I’ve had turn-downs … but I notice there’s a pretty good success rate with certain approaches,” she said.

Those approaches are clearly outlined in the new book, focusing on a sample project throughout. This project includes narrative and budget summaries, checklists for staying organized and a general view of matching fund possibilities such as crowdfunding.

Above all, the book “encourages you to tell your story.”

“A true and compelling story is at the heart of all successful grants, whether you are requesting hundreds, thousands, or more. When you inspire your funders with a true story, you’ll see results.”

And yes, “keep it simple”. In grant writing, less is more, advises Griffiths.

Her approach works. She has obtained $2.5 million in grants for the Courtenay Museum over the years.

For more information and more tips about grant writing go to www.griffithscommunications.com

Just Posted

Proposed public art installation sparks debate in Victoria

$250,000 sculpture compliments an interactive sound element of First Nations drumming and singing

#MeToo at work: Employers play a role in fixing culture of harassment

B.C. workplaces are getting ahead of being the next MeToo debacle, calling on experts to train staff

#MeToo at work: How reporting sexual harassment works – and how it doesn’t

British Columbians have four options to report harassment or assault, but none of them are easy

Revised master development agreement gives green light to Union Bay development projects

The Union Bay Improvement District trustees will discuss the approved amendments on Dec. 14.

Police ‘won’t waver’ to allow lighted trucks to drive in the Valley

Following a warning to two drivers who decorate their trucks with Christmas… Continue reading

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Family suspends search for missing Alberta couple, plane near Revelstoke

Due to bad weather, families of missing Albertan couple say they will resume in the spring

Canadian grocers make $3M per year from penny-rounding: UBC study

Ottawa announced plans in 2012 to phase out the copper coin

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

B.C. anti-hate campaigner finds Google search on his efforts redirects to porn

Text from online news article about Cran Campbell being used to link to suspect websites

‘The Last Jedi’ opens with $220M, 2nd best weekend all-time

As anticipated, the movie fell shy of the opening weekend for J.J. Abrams’ 2015 franchise reboot

2 couples tie the knot in Australia’s 1st same-sex weddings

West Australian couple Anne Sedgwick, Lyn Hawkins have been together for 40 years

B.C. concert promoter bans Nazi symbols at shows

A man was witnessed making a Nazi salute during a heavy metal show at Pub 340

Most Read