Several years ago, Robert Fulglum wrote a book titled, “All I Really Need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten”. This New York Times best seller is a simple credo about living life and expounds a philosophy that I readily accept. While I respect Fulglum’s levelheaded approach, I believe that all I really need to know, I learned from horses. As uncanny as it may seem, many of the concepts presented in “Kindergarten” parallel my learnings.

Horse Sense

As a teenager and young adult, I rode competitively in equine competitions throughout Maryland and the surrounding states. I love the sport, horses and the competition. There is a spiritual component associated with riding; a mystical oneness of horse and rider. Many equestrians confirm this perception.

My life with horses proved to be a good object lesson. Years have passed since my last horse show, but my love of competition and the burning desire to win never departed. From horses I learned perseverance, striving for excellence, and succeeding under crushing competition. Horse shows actually replicated life.

Beyond the horse show ring.

No question; there is competition in the “real world”.
In the world of nonprofits and fund raising, there are many worthy organizations contending for grant awards. On any given grant cycle, there are more requests for funding than there is money. The competition is multiplied by the large number of submissions. Many of the submissions are for exciting programs. The funder is faced with choosing which program(s) best fits their mission and vision and is the best use of their money.

What makes a proposal outstanding?

Behind each submission is a laudable program. The success of the proposal boils down to the details. Here are some points to remember when constructing your proposal:

1. Finding a good match between your organization’s vision and mission and the potential funder’s vision and mission.

2. Incorporate the fundamentals of good writing and composition when developing a proposal. The proposal needs to be readable, easily understood and persuasive.

3. Make sure your proposal supports your ability to manage funding, execute the program and finally, contains all of the supporting documents.

As time goes by . . . ,

Grants are not a vehicle for instant gratification. Grants are a practical means of raising money. Give adequate time to write the grant. Provide ample time to carefully edit and proofread your documents. May sure every detail and statement is accurate. Be prepared to support each and every statement made in the proposal.

Patience is mandatory. The grant review may take several weeks. An award is worth the wait. Do what it takes to submit an excellent proposal. And, most importantly, continue your good work.

Best wishes and good luck, Kathi

Believe in possibility and yourself.