AMERICAN GRANT CONSULTING
HELPING YOU SPAN THE FUNDING GAP
Perhaps the most frustrating thing about finding grant funding opportunities is there is no “one stop shop” place to go to find “all the grants.” Grant writers live in constant fear that they “missed something” and did not identify a grant proposal opportunity until it was too late.
There are numerous sources for grant funding opportunities for nonprofit organizations through private foundations, corporate business foundations, and local, state, and federal government agencies. Let’s not forget wealthy individuals – who sometimes give through family foundations – and sometimes not!
Grant research is a very tedious and time consuming process that is often better outsourced. The good news:
We know how to do it!
Grant writing is a science and an art. Often close relationships, friendships and politics are involved in grant decision making. Knowing your audience can be key.
Some foundations have a less formal process. Often in these situations it is very important to know the decision makers involved. In other cases, there are multiple individuals that score your grant proposal, and do not even know each other. Some grant graders may be in other states. Some of them are true experts and leaders in their field, and others may not be as well versed in the area of the grant request.
In a grant opportunity with the Arizona Department of Education for school safety technology equipment we were able to spend a considerable amount of time understanding the grant parameters. There were multiple individuals grading the grants. We were given no unfair advantage but were able to ask questions, like any other interested applicant. Out of 153 grant applicants, there were ten grant winners chosen, and we wrote four of the winning grants.
Sometimes the grant funding that a nonprofit foundation is looking for does not exist, or the next grant cycle is far away. However, there is nothing wrong with “creating” your own grant opportunity.
In another case, we helped passed Arizona state legislation funding $3 million in first-time education technology grants. Six state of Arizona government grants were awarded under this program, and we were fortunate to help write two of the winning grants. The grant that finished in seventh place, and out of the money, we found alternative corporate funding, now approaching $4 million, and helping 54 schools.
Grant writing is often collaborative since large grant proposals have so many significant parts including budgets, vision and history of the organization, program details, a public relations plan, demographic analysis, project planning, program evaluation and outcomes. Grantors have been increasing the number and detail of questions and information they wish to have for their grant application proposals.
When foundations say they have “streamlined” their grant process, this can often mean that they have automated it and standardized the application process. It does not always mean the grant application is any easier for You to fill out and win. That is why it is always important to have someone “on point” who can bring together the different parts of the grant proposal into a complete package.
The grant writer "on point" needs to write an overall grant request that “reads well” throughout. Grant applications need to make consistent sense to grant evaluators and grant committees, whether they are amateurs or professionals in the field involving the grant request. Being “on point” for a grant application is something we do well.
Perhaps the biggest mistake that grant applicants make is writing the grant request exactly for something they want, instead of exactly what the grantor wants. Understanding the grant application and what the grantor is looking for is critical. Many grants are “tossed out” early in the process simply because the grant proposal submitted does not “fit” the grant criteria.
NON-PROFIT AND EDUCATION
Grant Consulting provides an overall planning aspect to the grant process and nonprofit grant funding opportunities. CFO’s of nonprofit organizations have a budget to manage, people to pay and programs to support. We understand these dynamics because we started on the spending side of nonprofit organizations before moving exclusively into the fundraising side.
Unfortunately, there is often a disconnect in nonprofit foundations between the spending and fundraising sides because they do not fully understand the details and nuances of each other’s areas of expertise.
Often nonprofit organizations depend on more than just grants to sustain their efforts. Individual donors, direct mail, online fundraising, telemarketing, high dollar clubs, annual events, and sustained memberships are just some of the things that organizations do to help run their operations and programs. Online fundraising is expected to grow from $5 billion a year to $95 billion by the year 2020.
We actually have experience with many of these different aspects of fundraising, and can understand how these programs fit into your grant efforts as an overall budget.
“Just wanted to let you know the grant has been submitted... all that is left now are positive thoughts and crossed fingers.
Thank you so much for your help, I definitely could not have done it without you - you are the BEST!!!”
"P.S. We won the grant!"
Director of Cirriculum and Programming
Superior Unified School District
ABOUT THE FOUNDER
Brad Zerbe has over thirty years of experience in grant writing and business consulting. He manages a team of grant writers with various specialties located throughout the U.S.
He has also implemented and managed grant projects, graded grants in national competitions, and served as Chairman of the Board and CEO of nonprofit organizations. He is a writer with experience in press releases, op-ed pieces, speeches, white papers, legislation, websites, presentations, reports, studies, business plans, Private Placement Memorandums, strategic information technology plans, and grants.
Brad is the former director of communications for the state of Arizona’s IT agency, and Arizona State University’s education technology think tank. He is the former political director for the nation's largest PAC, and finance director for the chairman of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee. Brad has worked for three of the nation's five largest financial institutions in securities and banking compliance. In college, he competed in debate, finishing second in the nation, and won his school's highest scholarship for leadership. His business partner has developed and financed over $1.2 billion in real estate over the past three decades.
Brad recently wrote a $16.7 million transportation infrastructure grant for a fourteen-county coalition, a $5 million city water infrastructure loan application, and a $5 million California school microgrid grant for a subsidiary of the world’s largest renewable energy company based in Europe.
In 2017, Brad was part of a team that wrote a Pennsylvania state licensing application that graded third out of some five hundred applications, and twenty-five licenses were awarded. Brad did grant research for a Virginia based company that develops software for driverless vehicles; grant research and a white paper for a Texas company developing on-site 3D printing for the construction industry utilizing a 150-foot robot arm; grant research and white paper for a Silicon Valley company that develops energy storage technology, and grant research for a New York and Israeli dual headquartered company with software for investment banking analysis in collateralized securities for renewable energy projects.
Also in 2017, Brad also wrote a company’s winning Request for Proposal (RFP) for a five-year Arizona government contract for audio-visual services that was awarded in every category. In business, Brad wrote a $50 million Private Placement Memorandum (PPM) for a real estate company, and a $5 million PPM for a software company specializing in currency trading, including so-called cryptocurrencies. Brad also co-authored a book on passing the U.S. citizenship test, American history and civics.
In previous years, Brad wrote four of ten winning Arizona school safety technology grants out of a pool of 153 applicants. Brad helped pass state legislation to fund $3 million in education technology grants. He helped write two of the six winning technology grants, and helped write the grant that finished seventh in this competition. Brad also found alternative corporate foundation funding for this project that is now approaching $4 million.
Brad wrote three winning corporate foundation grants for a nonprofit organization to fund STEM initiatives for rural Native American high schools, and urban minority middle schools. Drafted the Digital Arizona Council’s 189-page broadband plan under a federal grant. He served as a volunteer co-chair for the education task force on this initiative, and coordinated the statewide Arizona broadband outreach program.
Brad was one of five people who wrote the state's successful $6.3 million federal broadband planning and mapping grant. He was one of two staffers who coordinated the evaluation of over 100 federal broadband grants on behalf of the Governor. Arizona entities won $75 million in federal broadband funding including, Native American tribes and private companies.
Brad co-authored a winning federal USDA grant on rural broadband availability. Under this grant, he researched and wrote a broadband study for the federal government, which included the availability of broadband for rural and so-called remote rural schools. He authored, drafted and edited major documents such as the legislatively required Arizona Statewide Strategic Information Technology (IT) Plan.
Brad wrote the first grant ever funded by a federal United Way for the purpose of animal rescue.
Reach out today — and let us help YOU along the path to successully securing funding!
2539 W St Catherine Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85041