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Is hiring a grant writer worth the investment?

9 Oct

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

So you have a project planned. A project that could reach and help a lot of people. But where is the money coming from to execute said project? A grant, of course. There’s not always a budget for that “great idea.” But if you’ve never written a grant, the process can seem daunting, not to mention time consuming. You have to decide if you can commit to the process or if it might be more to your benefit to hire out. There are a lot of questions to ask, but one that always comes up is:

Is it worth the investment?

My answer is yes. I know what you’re thinking: of course your answer is yes. You’re a grant writer and that helps the bottom line. Well, ok sure. But I’m also in business because I love nonprofits. (Check out my “About” page for evidence.)

Grants can be an amazing way for nonprofits to get funding. If fundraising isn’t meeting all your needs, maybe it’s time to try changing strategies. The cost of hiring a grant writer is only a very small percentage of the funding you could earn for your VIP — very important project.

Maybe I can help you. Here’s how I do it:

1. We’ll set up a meeting with all relevant stakeholders (i.e. Board of Directors, department staff, etc.) to come up with the ultimate goal. It will need to be specific in order to determine the right grant opportunities for your project. We’ll discuss budget, strategy and all other details.

2. After establishing your goal, I’ll conduct research into available funding opportunities. I’ll compile a list of those matching your needs and contact each association individually to discuss the exact details of their offering. I’ll introduce your organization so that you’re top of mind.

3. Next comes the actual proposal writing. Based on my interview with the organization and the funding requirements, I will craft a proposal that meets these requirements for the best chance of being awarded.

4. Once I’ve written the proposal and put all the pieces together, I will schedule a meeting with all relevant staff to get final approval. Once received, I will submit the proposal. I will be available for questions and grant-fulfillment coaching during the waiting time.

5. And once you’ve been awarded your grant, I will be there to walk you through the fulfillment, follow up and subsequent publicity.

Contact me for more details and financial commitment. I make your VIP my VIP. Your project is the only one that I take on at a time to ensure that you get the best chance at getting awarded.

I look forward to talking with you.

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The King of Kona

26 Jan

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Lets play a game of word association. If I say coffee, what is the first word that comes to mind?

Starbucks, right? Either I’m clairvoyant or they have just managed to ensure such a response with their incredible marketing philosophy because you and millions of other people would likely answer the same way. They’ve guaranteed that their brand is at the forefront of people’s minds. Clearly they’re doing something right. (For the record, the other options are also very valid choices.)

The Starbucks Advertising Philosophy = No Advertising!

Their advertising philosophy is that there is no advertising. Think about it: How many Starbucks commercials have you seen? I bet that you haven’t seen any. Am I right? I guarantee you’ve seen print ads, but not TV ads. So how have they managed to build and maintain their “espresso empire”? It all comes down to amazing branding! “You can be extraordinarily successful as a business using what people would call non-traditional means,” says Senior VP of Marketing, Anne Saunders. “It’s expanded my notion of how important experience versus information or one-way communication can be.” When you walk or drive by a Starbucks, the parking lot is always full and there is always a line, am I right?

Non-Traditional Channels:
Do a search on YouTube for “Starbucks commercials” and you’ll come across quirky – slightly vague – vignettes. The brand has solidified a formula for success. Why spend millions in advertising dollars for TV commercials when we are all clearly in the virtual world? I mean, there are entire fields of study, college majors and advanced certifications dedicated to success online because that’s where business and the world exist.
 It’s an online world…so that’s where they are. Their online presence is interactive, modern and relevant.    

Public Relations and Platform:
Marketing a company as a conscious one is an excellent platform for public relations. Starbucks stands for something. Lots of things actually: Community, Environment, Wellness, Ethical Sourcing and Diversity. Cause marketing is a very effective tool, highlighting an organization’s globally-, socially- and locally- responsible philosophies. Not only is it trendy to be associated with these causes, but by patronizing businesses that are so conscious, customers are doing a small part as well to make the world a better place. 

Another aspect of their public relations efforts is delivering an experience. “It happens millions of times each week –  a customer receives a drink from a Starbucks barista – but each interaction is unique.” It’s all about the experience – from superior products to intentional customer interaction to the cool ambience – and engaging the customer so that their Starbucks visit becomes the high point of their day. Customers leave stores with a story, an experience that they don’t get anywhere else. 

As Anne Saunders alluded to, PR isn’t one-sided. It requires action on the part of the message receiver. Action may involve a call-to-action like signing up to follow social media feeds, calling a political candidate, etc. But action is more likely to be just as simple as making a decision one way or the other about a company or organization.

Logo: 
Their logo is as easily recognizable as, say, McDonald’s golden arches or Disney’s Mickey ears. The Starbucks logo is synonymous with “cool” and “experiential”, so much so that even if someone doesn’t like coffee, they still want to be associated with the brand in some way. When people see the logo, they know what it means and it resonates with them. And they start craving their favorite Starbucks brew. 

To support my analysis, here is a snapshot of Starbucks’ retail market share vs media dollars spent. (Note: these figures are from 2007, but they illustrate my point!)

Here’s the Bottom Line: You don’t have to rely on big budgets and traditional advertising to make your brand a household name. It’s about tapping into the unique characteristics within your brand and promoting them in a new and creative way. Public relations is all about perception. Help shape people’s perceptions of your products and services by offering an overall experience, one their bound to remember.

Thanks for stopping by! ~Laura~

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Merry Christmas

23 Dec

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I just wanted to wish you a very Merry Christmas!! I hope you enjoy the time with family and friends. May your Christmas season be blessed.

I can’t wait for the new year and for the exciting things to come. When you are ready to talk about your marketing, publicity or business development plans for 2011, don’t forget to contact me. I’m excited to see your achievements exceed your expectations. Your ambition for success is my motivation and I can’t wait to work with you.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
~Laura~

Website Update

13 Oct

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Well, I’m finally back. I apologize for the lack of communication for a few days. I was “out of commission” Monday and yesterday because I was sick. But, today, I’m back to business as usual.

So over the weekend, I decided that I really like this format for my website and am, therefore, closing my other website. So from now on, please do not use http://www.lrdelaneymarketing.com as it is no longer available. I hope that you are enjoying the blog updates and and the new format. Keep coming back!! I love all the visits!

~Laura~

October Special

4 Oct

Monday, October 4, 2010

Welcome to October. In my mind, it’s the official indicator of autumn and one of my favorite times of the year. I forever look forward to going apple and pumpkin picking, especially now that I have a little one with which to share it. To celebrate the new crispness in the air, the beautiful “fall sky” and the organic feel of the season (with all the homemade pumpkin and apple pies, applesauce, and so much more delicious-ness), I want to offer all new clients a 10% discount*! Contact me today to find out how you can move your business or non-profit to the next level of visibility and save while doing it!

-Thank you to all of you who took advantage of the September referral special!-

Enjoy the beautiful weather. Get outside with your family to see what’s in store for you. Our Creator has some amazing surprises!

~Laura~

*Contract must be signed by Sunday, October 31. Scope of project may continue past that date. Offer valid on all contracts. One per client. Valid for Pennsylvania businesses only.
P.S. Congratulations to my sister, Emily, and her fiance, Scott, who will be married this coming Saturday!!

Grant Writing Resources

29 Sep

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Grants are offered for all types of purposes and to all kinds of organizations. They are a rich resource for funding projects to perpetuate and enhance your mission. If you have an important project planned but aren’t sure that your budget will cover it, consider applying for a grant. Here are some tips to follow. (Note: This is in no way a complete list, but simply a summary of my experience in the world of grant writing.)

Getting Started

Here are some questions to ask yourself before you start. They will help narrow your focus and make searching for a qualified grant much easier.
1. What is my main goal for writing this grant narrative? What am I hoping to accomplish if I get funded?
2. What is my timeline? (You will need to specify in the narrative. And some grants are only open on a once-per-year basis so you need to watching constantly for opportunities.)
3. What philanthropic organizations award grants for similar purposes?

Based on your answers to these questions, you can begin looking for grant opportunities that fit your needs. There are thousands of philanthropic organizations that are just waiting to fund a good cause.

The Search: Where Do I Begin?
The search alone can be daunting, especially if you haven’t set a clear goal. However, you are likely to find opportunities easily by entering keywords into your search engine. If you have a broad search, Grants.gov is also a great place to start. Or you can narrow your search to a specific organization in your field. For example, the NIH offers grants for medical research. The National Endowment for the Arts offers grants for all art media. The Pepsi Co. and Target are also generous grant funders for child-related programs. Check out community foundations where your institution is based or where you have programs and constituents. The amounts might not be as high, but the opportunities are great.

Tips on How to Get Funded
– Be confident in your mission and your project, and therefore, write with conviction. The more you believe in what you are proposing, the more that will show in your writing.
– Be able to give hard evidence and facts to back up your proposal. Review boards need to know that what they are considering has potential. Prove it by providing performance metrics, historical data, etc.
– Make sure you can track — and therefore, do track — the results and progress of your venture because, in all likelihood, you will be asked to present a final report to your funder when the grant period has ended.
– Another good tip is to get involved with the organizations that are potential funders. Go to their open houses, speaking engagements, etc. Arrange to meet the Executive Director. Bottom line: build a relationship!! and they’ll remember you when you go to submit an application.

Grant writing really is a rewarding process (especially when you get the award notice!) and I hope that you enjoy it. And if you don’t get funded for one grant, make the necessary modifications to your narrative and submit it again to another organization. Best of luck! Please let me know how I can support your efforts.

If you still need help or you don’t have the staff time to research and write the grant narrative, that’s ok because I offer a grant-writing service to ease that burden. Contact me for more details.

~Laura~

For Your Thoughts…

27 Sep

Monday, September 27, 2010

Just a little quote for the last Monday in September. (I just have to say: Mondays are hard anyway. But rainy Mondays take the cake!) Hope it gets you thinking about how your consumers view your business.

“It isn’t what they say about you, it’s what they whisper.”
Errol Flynn

Happy Monday!!!   *Hint: you only have until Thursday to take advantage of the 10% referral discount.*

~Laura~

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