Client Data Collection for Grant Writing

When I agree to work with a nonprofit client to develop a grant, whether I’m writing it, or I am helping them to write it, there is a lot of information that must be shared in order to present the strongest and most appealing case to the funder.

When I used to work for a consulting firm, early in the process of developing a project, there was an activity called “data collection”.

Data collection consisted of visiting the client site with a team assigned to collect data from different parts of the operation, including management, training, safety, operations, and maintenance. Each data collector was tasked to collect data specific to that division and bring it back to their home office to analyze and use to develop the project.

When a project ended, all the data in the hands of the consultant company was collected and destroyed to protect corporate privacy.

Fortunately, I no longer work in private industry. I like working to help people helping other people. But I must ask for information necessary to develop the request.

A similar process of transferring information must occur with grant writing. This, of course requires a level of trust. This is why I prefer to meet my clients in person before they sign a contract with me.

This is information basic to what funders request in their applications.

Things like:

  • Mission
  • History
  • Who you are and who is on your board?
  • Name and detailed description of your project
  • Why this project?
  • Goals and expected outcomes
  • Funding sources
  • Budgets and financials
  • Evaluations

Some of this is often easily available from the internet, brochures, social media, etc. But much of it lives within the organization. Like the two nonprofits I volunteer for, we don’t have separate departments, so the information is less likely to be siloed. If an organization has two or more different departments, it is best to engage people in those departments who know.

Also, as I have discovered, looking into my own documents can be a lesson in keeping stuff up to date and orderly. This can be very useful and time saving when you apply for different grants and serial grants. If it makes my job easier, that’s less time I must charge for.

Ed Hanson, Grant Writing Consultant

Grant Writing 4 Good

Hi, I’m a Grant Writer!

I want to help you secure funding for your program or project.

How do you know I’m legitimate?

There are grant scammers out there.

How can you be sure I’m not a scammer?

The first thing I can tell you is that:

  • I have been a member of the Commerce City Cultural Council (for whom I began writing grants) since August 2016, and I served as president of that body from January 2017 to December 2018.
  • My business, Grant Writing 4 Good, is registered with the office of the Colorado Secretary of State. (Entity ID# 20181881013), effective November 7, 2018.
  • I have been a Commerce City resident for 25 years.

Although I am not yet a member, I subscribe to the Grant Professionals Association (GPA) Code of Ethics

I will follow this code of ethics in order to join the GPA as a member in good standing.

Members are to:

  • Practice their profession with the highest sense of integrity, honesty, and truthfulness to maintain and broaden public confidence
  • Adhere to all applicable laws and regulations in all aspects of grantsmanship
  • Continually improve their professional knowledge and skills
  • Promote positive relationships between grant professionals and their stakeholders
  • Value the privacy, freedom, choice and interests of all those affected by their actions
  • Ensure that funds are solicited according to program guidelines
  • Adhere to acceptable means of compensation for services performed; pro bono work is encouraged
  • Foster cultural diversity and pluralistic values and treat all people with dignity and respect
  • Become leaders and role models in the field of grantsmanship
  • Encourage colleagues to embrace and practice GPA’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Practice.

Standards of Professional Practice

As members respect and honor the above principles and guidelines established by the GPA Code of Ethics, any infringement or breach of standards outlined in the Code are subject to disciplinary sanctions, including expulsion, to be determined by a committee elected by their peers.

This is followed by a 20-point list of Professional Obligations, to which I also subscribe and take seriously.

I affirm and subscribe to this code of ethics.


What’s Your Story?

Every organization has a story. For nonprofits this story is important for building credibility and trust with donors.

  • The story of your nonprofit organization is important.

It gives your organization a sense of identity and vision, and it will help your appeal for grant funding.

  • Does your story have appeal, and does it inspire?

A good story is the foundation for any fundraising. For those who donate to nonprofits, it must be something they can relate to on a personal level, that inspires or resonates with them.

  • Does your story stand out? Is it compelling?

Does it spark the imagination or inspire willing donors to pitch in?

  • Is your story fresh?

Or is it the same story you told last year, and the year before? Donors who see the same pitch year after year will not continue to fund an organization that is not dynamic and innovative. They want to see new ideas and initiatives, new approaches and new solutions.

  • Does your story make donors feel good about their support?

Funders want to know their donations are contributing to effective solutions.

I’ve been a writer all my life. Stories are my business.

Learn more about how I can help secure grant funding at

Or call 303-287-9026 and leave a message.

Grant Writing 4 Good


‘Grant Ready’ is About More than Just Chasing Grants

Ever heard the phrase “running a tight ship”? How about “stay on your toes”?

Being “Grant Ready” is more than just having all the necessary documentation prepared and ready to submit with a grant application. It should be a statement of how ready your entire organization is to respond and seek grant funding opportunities.

Let’s look at the documents and other information required in most grant applications:

  • Current narrative
  • Organization background
  • Goals
  • Description of current programs
  • Description of evaluation process
  • Non-discrimination statement
  • Board roster
  • Board member bios and qualifications
  • Volunteer roster
  • Strategic plan

Financial documents

  • Organization budget
  • Project/program budget
  • Proof of IRS federal tax-exempt status, (dated w/in 5 years)
  • Organization annual report
  • Evaluation results

Running a Tight ship

Grant funders care about how well your nonprofit is functioning. It should also be your Number 1 concern.

“What is not measured is not managed”

No successful business can operate without some way to measure success. Managing your operation include keeping the paperwork up to date and ready for any opportunity that arises. Waiting until a grant opportunity comes along to prepare your documentation is not a recipe for success. An active, dynamic, thriving nonprofit is one that is pro-active.

“That which is measured improves.”

How do you measure success within a nonprofit organization?

Working together, your budgets and your narratives should tell the story tell your story. Your mission statement and your strategic plan tell the funder how you have succeeded and plan to continue to succeed. Your board roster, with biographies/resumes/CVs tells the funder about the strength and integrity of your nonprofit.

How current, and how well written are your documents?

How well do they tell your story? How transparent are they? Does your entire grant proposal seamlessly tell a coherent, compelling story? How current are they? Document content can get pretty stale in a couple of years.

“That which is measured, improves.”

Whatever role you are filling on a nonprofit board, you are doing a job. That same job has an equivalent somewhere in private business. Most professional people in private business have resumes or CVs, describing their qualifications and experience. I have more than a couple from years in working in various industries.

Maintaining a resume database of the board is a valuable asset to any organization. Some grant funders want to see officer bios and program manager bios, so they can feel confident about who and what they are investing in. It also provides opportunities for volunteers to grow professionally and personally, as their acquired skills are recognized and called upon, or they seek opportunities to learn.

A successful nonprofit organization creates lots of opportunities for resume entries. I have accumulated a few since I retired from tech writing, but I expect to earn of few more in the next couple of years.

Personal satisfaction is the driving force for volunteers, typically. The satisfaction of having, somehow, contributed to improving the world we live in, in some small way.

I see continuous personal quality improvement as an ideal and a mission.

But you must be prepared for opportunities when they appear. And the more ready you are, proper paperwork in hand, and a firm belief in yourself and your cause, the more opportunities will become available.

Being ‘Grant Ready” is also about being a “tight ship”; being well prepared and ready to respond to opportunities to support and promoter their cause. To be “on your toes”. It will win grants. It will produce nonprofit leaders.

“That which is measured and reported improves exponentially.” – Karl Pearson.

Ed Hanson, Grant Writing Consultant


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Grant Writing 4 Good

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