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If You Give a Grant Writer a Coffee

For those with young children or grandchildren, “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie” by Laura Numeroff and illustrated by Felicia Bond has likely been a bedtime favorite, as well as their other books. They certainly have for my daughters. While the books are witty, I have almost enjoyed the humor of numerous spoofs written in the same vein, including “If You Give a Mom a Muffin,” more than the originals.

The children's books by Numeroff tell the tale of a character going on a winding journey with each action leading to something unexpected until they end up returning the original action. The children's book took a nonprofit spin in May 2014 when Vu Le, a nonprofit Executive Director who is the brains and humor behind Nonprofit With Balls, wrote a spoof titled “If You Give a Board Treasurer A Cookie.”
Always one to appreciate and also to try a creative spin on our work as grant professionals that helps us have the occasional light moment while also making our work more relatable to our family and friends, I decided to see how things would go with “if you give a grant writer a coffee.” I find no shortage of jokes and conversations—during grant deadlines and when assembling grant teams--about the caffeine of choice that helps propel our work as grant professionals.
If You Give a Grant Writer a Coffee
If you give a grant writer a coffee (without prompting), they will ask you how soon the deadline is that you want them to drop everything and apply for.
When you share that the online grant application is due in 13 days, the grant writer will immediately try to log into the application system to see how many narrative responses there are, how long they are allowed to be, and how many attachment uploads are required.
While trying to log into the online application system, the grant writer will realize that the previous grant writer on staff already had an account registered to the organization's EIN.
Before requesting a lost password in order to reassign the account to themselves, the grant writer will have to track down who in the organization still receives emails for the old email address.
When they realize that the Development Director receives those emails, the grant writer will ask if it is monitored weekly and if it can be redirected so that they receive it or can monitor it on their own.
When finally logged into the online application system, the grant writer will realize that they do not have the IRS 990 that was filed last week as a pdf for use as one of the required attachments.
While working with the Director of Finance to scan the full IRS 990 form and all related schedules, the grant writer will ask why the administrative rate for the recent year increased by five percentage points from last year.
The grant writer will leave the finance office and head back to their desk to send out an email asking to schedule a grant team meeting to discuss the impact of the administrative rate increase on how applications are presented to potential grant funders, including partner United Way organizations.
While checking their email, the grant writer will see that the grant team has provided the requested edits for a state grant that is due next week, so they will stop to review, accept or tweak the suggested edits into the main document and send it out for a final review by the team.
Once the grant writer receives the revised final draft back from the grant team, they will log into the online application system and discover that the application has strict character limits for each answer and also requires a three-page narrative upload describing the program.
And chances are…the grant writer will groan recognizing how much work is still ahead and will ask for another cup of coffee before they begin drafting the grant application responses.


By: Amanda Paveglio
On: 11/11/2015 08:56:00
Funny because it's true. Unfortunately this happens ALL. THE. TIME. I can't wait for the sequel, "If You Take A Grant Writer to Happy Hour."

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