Staying current with grant opportunities

Getting grants for your non-profit organization is a time consuming process, but well worth the effort. The key is finding out about grants that are a good match for your organizational needs. Here are a few of my favorite free places to look:

Grants.gov – There are new federal grant opportunities coming out every day. You can search through the database on grants.gov and if you decide to apply, can complete applications online. Try to find out about deadlines early, because federal grant applications are complicated and take a long time to complete.

The Philanthropy News Digest’s RFP Bulletin – This site provides information about grants in the areas of arts/culture, children/youth, disabilities, education, environment, health, medical research and science/technology. They tend to be smaller grants.

COMMBUYS – In addition to posting opportunities for vendors to do business with the state of Massachusetts, Commbuys posts RFPs from state agencies such as the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Early Education and Care, and others.  More and more state agencies are requiring programs to complete an online application through COMMBUYS.

Foundation/Corporation websites:  If you know the name of specific foundations or corporations that may support your program areas, go on their websites and look for information about their priorities, grant programs and deadlines.

GOOGLE – It’s always worth doing a Google search to find out about potential funding sources for your programs.

Reflections on my third American Evaluation Association Conference

It was just over two years ago that I attended my first American Evaluation Association Conference in Washington D.C.  As a first-time AEA conference goer, I went all out, attending two days of professional development followed by four days of the conference.  I threw myself head first into the Independent Consultant topic interest group — the
IC -TIG — making connections with people who I have since worked with throughout the year .

At my second conference in Denver last year, I skipped the PD and saved my energy for the conference.  I was a little more knowledgable about how to choose sessions that were right for me.

This year, as a third-timer, I attended the conference in Chicago for four days.  As a pro, I knew about things like making sure to show up to certain workshops 15 minutes early so that I would get a seat and pacing myself by occasionally skipping a session.

These are my top ten AEA 2015 highlights:

  1. Seeing the blazing torch, indicating that 2015 is the International Year of Evaluation.
  2. Being part of an international conference with the theme “Exemplary Evaluations in a Multicultural World.”
  3. Being among the first to hear about Michael Quinn-Patton’s Theory of Philanthropy.
  4. Learning about the “slider” function of Excel during Miranda Hill’s presentation about data dashboards (you really need to check that out if you haven’t used it).
  5. Hearing prominent evaluators discuss their failures in front of an international audience.
  6. Laughing at jokes where the punchlines involve control groups and outliers.
  7. Getting reappointed as the co-chair of the IC-TIG’s media committee and being part of a TIG presentation about our strategic planning process.
  8. Having Chicago’s best deep dish pizza at Giordano’s with 50 other independent consultants.
  9. Learning to navigate the illogical silver, green, bronze and gold levels of the two towers that make up the Hyatt Regency. Fighting vertigo as I tried not to look down at the brightly-colored striped carpet while walking between towers.
  10. Getting the TSA pre-check on my flight to Chicago.

TIG4

What do goats, light, soil and evaluation have in common?

With 2015 just a few weeks away, I’ve been thinking about what this new year represents. If you’re into Chinese astrology, maybe you know that it is the Year of the Goat/Sheep, which represents a symbol of peace, harmonious co-existence and tranquility.  Or if you are into science and engineering, you may be eagerly anticipating 2015 as the International Year of Light, highlighting the importance of light and optical technologies in our lives and future. And guess what else? 2015 is the International Year of Soils, — think “healthy soils for a healthy life.” Continue reading “What do goats, light, soil and evaluation have in common?”

Going LEAN

I recently had the pleasure of working with Blue Q Corporation to establish their first ever in-house training program with funds from the Massachusetts Workforce Training Fund.  The WTF is managed through Commonwealth Corporation and supports workforce development among Massachusetts businesses.  Any business that has employee training needs should consider applying for a grant from this fund.  Blue Q is a manufacturer of gift items that are sold worldwide. The company, which employs approximately 45 people, has achieved widespread popularity by offering high quality products that are whimsical, fun and affordable.  Just a few examples of their creations are Marie Antoilette Lavatory Mist, I Have Mood Swing Socks, and Get Along with Your CoWorkers Chewing Gum.  Continue reading “Going LEAN”