4/17/13 – A Very Nice Compliment


4/17/13 – We have always been proud of the effort that we invest in helping our clients to develop the strongest, most competitive proposals possible. However, we have not done a good job of asking our clients to recommend our work…maybe because we’re shy or maybe because we think our work should stand for itself. So, with a recent client we asked if they would put into writing what they thought of our work; below is what Bill DeLano with The Osman Foundation in Chatham County, NC, wrote:


GrantProse, how you have helped us.  Let us count the ways…

1)  Coherent Logic –  You required us to focus and articulate the rationale for what we want to accomplish.  This was true for the grant process as well as the actual program implementation.  Once this was in place, the entire submission was wrapped around this logic model.
2)  Navigation – You have the ability to help us know where to start and how the pieces fit.   You have a sequence for the proper order and time likely to do each task.   In short, you know what to do next.  We could work together and set dates of delivery of the parts.  We were all held accountable to come through for each other.
3) Overwhelm Buffer –   Sometimes it felt like we were being redundant and all the concepts blurred.  You provided direction that each part of the grant required a flow and format and this was typical.   This prevented us from getting into ‘brain mush’ from not knowing if we were on the right track.
4) Pushing the Boulder/Advancing the Ball –  We saw progress.   One gift you provided was knowing that we didn’t have to do it all ourselves and provided guidance and help along the way.
5)  Reassurance –   Affirmation that our ideas are worthy of winning the grant.   Your team has a gentle way of providing a ‘realistic and fair’ assessment of our effort, progress and chances of success.
6)  Resource Linkages – While we had done our homework, you shared your ‘rolodex’ of contacts, your ideas and knowledge of the grantors tendencies.   I learned to get excited when you would begin a statement with,  “have you considered…” .  It always advanced our design and built upon our network.
7)  Red Flag Identification – Perhaps the most valuable gift you share is your ability to identify gaps in our thought processes, curriculum needs and required engagement levels of our partners.   This ‘trusted advisor’ role didn’t always give us what we wanted to hear but what we needed to hear.
8)  Bill Carruthers, The Wizard of Grants –  It was fun watching you create in front of our eyes.   You would listen to our concepts and the weave them together in a parlance that a grant committee would embrace.  Often, you’d dictate to Ian, Donna or me as the stream of genius put all the pieces together.   (I know, it will sound like self promotion if you say it!,  That’s why I am!  And it’s true!).
An Ideal Client Relationship 
1)  GrantProse was clear that the program had to be ours.  We had to WANT to run the program that we envisioned and was ultimately submitted in the grant.   GrantProse’s mantra was to “Create a program you will run even if you don’t get the grant”.  To that end, we had to do our part to design and contribute to the process.
2)  Recognition that GrantProse and client were partnering to significantly increase the chances of success.
3)  Client had to let go of the stress ‘what does it cost’ or ‘what will I get’.  Many grants don’t allow administrative or staff overhead.  Once the focus shifted to how to get the best serve our intended audience, the grant process moved quickly.
4) Client trusted GrantProse to guide us, follow-though on their commitments and put us in the best position to succeed.
5) Client valued GrantProse’s effort.   It was obvious that they care and will go the extra mile, pay attention to detail and ask the challenging and provocative questions.
6) Client enjoys the work.  Grant writing and word smithing isn’t easy.  The collaborative process was fun because we all were committed to the same goal and put forth the effort.  This team spirit made a sometimes arduous process, fun.
7)  It is impossible to underestimate the value that Donna derived from your workshop at Wake Tech.   When we first met about embarking on contractual relationship, we were already prepared.  We had a pre-established vocabulary and a common working approach already in place.   We also knew what we didn’t know.  A ‘learners mind’ is a healthy place for collaboration.
8)  We did the work.  We used your templates, reviewed drafts, added revisions.
9)  We didn’t take ourselves, each other or the grant too seriously.   There was obvious respect for each other and our work that took place in a fun manner.  (now go get a haircut)
Reading through Bill’s compliments above, I wonder why he and his wife Donna felt they needed us. They were a great pair to work with, brought a lot of energy to the process, and can write a pretty good sentence. Thank you Bill and Donna for these very nice words!