I grew up as the fifth generation on a cattle ranch in Wyoming. I think we were in the last 1% of ranchers to make the technology switch from loose stack hay to round bales. Loose hay meant our hay was put up “loosely” in a cabin-like structure, piled high until it looked like a thatch roof. Every winter, we would pitch the hay off a wagon for the cattle with a pitchfork.
Sounds idyllic, right? In many ways, it was. Big work horses pulling a sleigh through sparkling snow is one of the most beautiful sights you can imagine.
You might also think, “That sounds like a lot of work!” You would be right about that, but you should have seen my six-pack abs! The physical labor was wearing my family down, so we eventually moved to storing hay in 2,000 pound round bales.
By being a late adopter (practically the last, I swear!) most kinks in baling technology had worked themselves out. We learned from other ranchers that made the switch earlier and bought the best technology and equipment available.
Difference from 1st Edition to 2nd Edition
You, as the reader of this book, are getting the same thing! Since publishing the first edition in September 2019, I have learned a great deal more from thousands of readers and hundreds of students in our online grant writing classes. Plus, I now have a co-founder, Alexandra Lustig, who brings her own special zone of genius.
In the first edition, I gave you what I thought you wanted—technical knowledge on grant writing. You got that, but you revealed to me that you want something more than the ability to write grants.
You want a career that is fulfilling. You want flexibility in how you spend your days. You want to make a respectable living, while still having time to get outside and travel.
You have lots of interests. You give passionately to causes you care about.
You want to feel a sense of purpose and meaning. You want to be done by three pm to be with your kids. Or, you want to work and explore from your van. You want to dig in deep for several weeks and then take a week off to go camping.
Whatever your image is for a life well lived, I have some good news. You can absolutely have it.
That said, here is the tiny print: You CAN have a life you love, but it requires you to take complete and total responsibility for making it happen.
What does that mean?
You will be waiting a long time if you are counting on the stars to align for the perfect job or time to start a new career. I get your frustration and need to mitigate risk. You cannot quit your job tomorrow and continue to support yourself or your family.
Yet, you know you are capable of more.
Whether that is building a freelance grant writing business, landing a fulfilling new job, building your dream, or helping your community be a better place.
Discover Grant Writing as a Career
If you're interested in becoming a grant writing consultant, check out this free training on how you can pull off a meaningful career change.Access Free Class
Make Each Move Count
Imagine we are back in the hay fields. I am 14 years old and running an old 1956 tractor to put hay into windrows. My job requires staying ahead of the stacking crew (the team that put the hay into the haystacks). They keep catching me, and I am growing frustrated. You can only bounce around so fast in a hay field!
My father flags me down. He explains that there is a pattern in the hay, if I look for it. His advice was to “make each move count.” Once I started looking for the patterns, I could see them. I became more efficient and the gap grew between me and the stacking crew.
You can do the same thing.
Grant writing follows a pattern. On the whole, each application is looking for the same information. In this book, you will learn the patterns behind grant writing that allow you to excel at it.
What You Can Expect
The first section of this book answers the questions most frequently asked by aspiring grant writers. The second section follows up with the questions I wish you were asking. This section includes new training taught be Alexandra, my co-founder and friend, on tough topics like how to confront our own privilege, racism, sexism, classism, saviorism, colonialism, ageism, and/or religious prejudice as grant writers.
She brings us full circle with an introduction to Human-Centered Design, a framework for centering the community and their needs throughout the project planning and grant writing process.
There are two more chapters that have me fired up to share with you. We rounded up funders and asked them for their perspective on what they wish you knew. They drop some knowledge bombs that will shock you.
The chapter that someday will become a book unto itself is all about the topic of evaluation. Grant Writing Unicorn, Kate Hohman Billmeier of WellSpring Group, guides us through a training on how we can use Logic Models to think critically about the work we do. It is packed with oodles of gold.
The third section is brand spankin’ new from the first edition, all about how you become a grant writing unicorn. You will discover if you are experiencing the unicorn dilemma and what you can do about it.
The punch line? We do not believe in volunteering to gain experience, and instead show you how to start by freelancing. If that makes you pull back a bit, that is normal. The Grant Writing Unicorn Method™ is unusual, but it also works.
Then we will talk about the grant writers’ kryptonite—imposter syndrome. Yep, we are going there, and you are coming with, so we can squash that dream killing mindset once and for all.
Here is a sneak preview of the illustration we have to describe the Dunning-Kruger Effect on grant writers.
Free Grant Matrix Template
To stay organized, we recommend you put your grant findings in a matrix. This way you can systematically filter the top pursuits.Get Free Grant Matrix Template
How to Get a Copy
Freshen that cup of joe or tea my friend. We move quickly around here. Get your copy, and you are on your way to becoming a grant writing unicorn!
You can pick up your copy at Amazon or, better yet, ask for it at your local bookstore. More information on the book can be found here.
Tag us @learngrantwriting on Instagram to share your post-it filled, highlighter marked up, coffee-stained copy!
And last but not least, a unicorn is born when you leave a review wherever you bought this book. Reviews are digital pixie dust and help us out a ton. Thank you and happy reading!