Corrections or additions?
This article by Judith G. Lindenberger was prepared for the
November 21, 2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights
Tips for Writing A Winning Proposal
So how do you or your organization get up to $600,000
in state funds to underwrite the mission of your choice? Well, you
have to ask for it, as well meaning friend or relative will tell you.
But how you ask is critical.
Grant proposals have to sing — and gain the attention of the
source as surely as a mezzo-soprano reaches the upper balcony. Lots
of frugal nonprofits have concluded that money spent on a professional
grant-writer is money well spent. Herewith 10 tips from
Judith Lindenberger, a veteran non-profit professional, who has
proposals for both non-profits and for-profits:
IN MY FORMER LIFE, I was a corporate businesswoman, grappling
my way up to the glass ceiling. For the past two years, I stuffed
my business degrees in a drawer and got paid for my passion —
working as the administrative director of a nonprofit organization
that helps kids with learning differences.
In my job, I wrote lots of grants. Early on it dawned on me that I
had been very successful in the business world when I wrote business
proposals. In my corporate life, I developed a training program for
business executives who wrote business proposals. The result of that
program was that the business executives wrote clearer, more effective
proposals and their audience made clearer, more effective decisions.
So, using what I learned in both my business career and my nonprofit
career, here are my 10 steps for writing winning proposals even in
a down economy:
reader. Think — how will the reader react to my ideas? what
does the reader need to be able to follow and accept my message? Learn
your audience’s points of view and goals. Learn their attitudes and
foundation and an idea or product the audience needs. State your
up front. Many first-time presenters mistakenly believe you should
save your punch line until the end. Wrong. This is not the time for
a match between your purpose and the audience’s point of view and
goals, follow these three steps to write your proposal:
is your call to action?
Start off with answering the question, What is the issue? and telling
your audience what you want them to do.
the following questions: What is the issue? What is the recommendation
and how much will it cost? How did we get here and what is the
What are the outcomes and how can the results be measured?
to be persuaded by what you’re saying when you use pie charts, bar
graphs, pictures, etc. Simplify, simplify, simplify. A good visual
aid looks like a billboard on an interstate that drivers can read
while going 65 mph.
work. Find out the subjects of greatest concern. Address how you will
manage those concerns in your proposal.
or colleagues. They can observe what you can’t see — how you will
sound to your audience. Ask for specific comments. Ask them to point
out any possible weaknesses in your material.
likely to be? Give the bottom line. Include a realistic and complete
budget. What’s the worst case scenario? What are the next steps?
everyone has the same goal — a successful business decision.
— Judith G. Lindenberger
resources at Newgrange, and an independent consultant and founder
of The Lindenberger Group. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Like it or not, change is a fact. Some people embrace
it, and others deny the need to change, preferring to clutch on to
the same-old-same-old down to the bitter end. Nonetheless, change
is going to happen.
For executives and corporations, failure to change can mean disaster.
And according to Nanette Hartley, founder and president of
Consulting based in Morris Plains, the need for corporations to
and adapt to change has only become more crucial over the past two
decades. "The rate of change in the world is faster," says
Hartley. "And in the corporate world, the implications are so
significant that failure to change can mean loss of job or even loss
of company. These days if you fail to change with the marketplace,
Hartley will be giving a seminar on "Overcoming Obstacles to
as a part of Quality New Jersey’s 13th annual conference,
on Excellence in the New Century," on Thursday, November 29, at
9 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency in New Brunswick. The keynote speaker
is environmental attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr.. Among the other
are G. Jeremiah Ryan, president of Raritan Valley Community
College, Laura Spoeri, director of performance management of
Somerset Medical Center, and David Zatz, senior consultant,
Toolpack Consulting. Cost: $325. Call 609-777-0940.
While companies such as GE have become classic examples of
that have successfully changed to fit the times, other companies have
been slow to see the writing on the wall, languishing in a kind of
denial that imperils their future. But recognizing the need for change
is only the beginning. Corporations must also learn strategies in
which change can be successfully implemented.
The purpose of Hartley’s workshop is to teach people how to recognize
the need to make changes in their organizations, as well as how to
successfully make these changes happen. "Over 50 percent of
to make changes fail," she says. "We’re offering a blueprint
that can be applied to all situations, from corporations with
of employees, to small church organizations, right down to a parent
trying to motivate a teenage son to get to school on time."
Hartley received her BS from Ithaca College in 1969. She went on to
work as a physical therapist before returning to school, receiving
her MBA from MIT in 1981. She founded Crescent Consulting in 1994.
Hartley believes that when first looking at a situation, it is
to ask the right questions. While that may seem obvious, it is not
necessarily easy. "It’s important to step back, and try to see
the real underlying issues," says Hartley. "For example,
there may be a conflict in a department that seems at its surface
to be about money. But in fact it may be about power, or control,
or people being told to do things in which they don’t have any
Empathy is an age-old virtue, and it is no less so in the corporate
world. Before instituting any changes, it is important for people
in leadership positions to put themselves in the shoes of those who
are being asked to change. It is essential to have a dialogue with
the people who are being affected and to include everyone in the
process. Also, looking carefully at changes that have been initiated
in the past and analyzing what was successful and what wasn’t cannot
be overrated. Often people resist change for a good reason —
they already know it is not going to work.
"Top down impositions really only work in army situations,"
says Hartley. "Making a blanket order is fine when one army is
attacking another, but even that’s because the general has already
established enough credibility with his troops so that they believe
he knows what he’s doing."
For many, even making the smallest changes requires gut-wrenching
determination. Often the uncertainty of the outcome only adds to the
stress. Hartley offers some suggestions to those faced with the task
of initiating changes, on a big or small scale.
leadership. If leadership is not able to put forth a true value-driven
commitment to the time and resources needed to make changes, they
won’t happen. The desire to cut corners is very easy to spot.
other people’s resistance to go along with these changes. But in fact
this resistance often comes not from people’s inherent desire to
but simply from the leader’s failure to bring others along on the
process. It’s like skydiving. You can’t land unless you jump.
in the midst of change. One change begets another. The environment
never stays still so that even after a decision has been reached and
a plan put into action, it is important to keep looking for hurdles
looming on the horizon. Stay fluid, change is a continuous process.
can eliminate the personal issues that sometimes prevent changes from
happening. For example, if two people aren’t working well together
it is important to keep the goal of doing effective collaborative
work front and center. People are generally committed to excellence,
it’s when "but, it’s just that…" gets in the way that
arise. Getting to the underlying issues is much easier after removing
the personal side of things.
it is a fact of life. This is as true in the boardroom as it is in
the living room. By embracing the process rather than holding back
against it, it is possible to make change work. "I have found
that people really do want to excel," says Hartley. "If people
who are trying to initiate changes can tap into that, by asking the
right questions, setting up a process that supports them, you can
have extraordinary results."
— Jack Florek
Employees at the Belle Mead facility of 3M
recognition for their contributions to wildlife habitat conservation
at the Wildlife Habitat Council’s 13th Annual Symposium, "Science
and Stewardship: Creating Green Communities." The Belle Mead
located on Sourland Mountain, was granted certification by the
The 3M land encompasses over 1,600 acres, 250 of which the company
uses for rock quarrying and processing operations. The remainder of
the land is managed as a wildlife habitat.
The wildlife habitat team at 3M works at enhancing and restoring
habitat. Since the facility opened in 1961, the company has worked
to improve the growth of upland forests, and has conducted a managed
Other wildlife team activities include attracting hummingbirds and
butterflies, enhancing stormwater detention basins, erecting
for wood ducks and bluebirds, and controlling invasive plant species.
The Belle Mead facility was one of 111 sites recognized at the
Since 1990, the WHC, a non-profit that works largely with
has certified 288 sites worldwide.
Fall clean-up means leaves AND computers, say Carol
Royal and Geri LaPlaca, doyennes of a high-tech recycling
endeavor, the Trenton Materials Exchange.
Don’t let your used and obsolete electronic equipment pollute our
waste stream, they say.
The Trenton Materials Exchange computer drop-off center has changed
its hours; it is now open Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 pm. and Saturdays
from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The Exchange accepts any working, broken or outdated computers and
electronic equipment and sends all parts to be de-manufactured and
recycled by a DEP licensed firm.
Drop-off items may include: CPUs, monitors, CRTs, printers, cables,
modems, and all other computer accessories. Also accepted: TVs, VCRs,
typewriters, projectors, small copiers, telephones, and fax and
machines. (There is a $5 handling fee for each monitor and TV.)
Items can be dropped off at the Exchange warehouse located at 800
New York Avenue in Trenton, directly off Route 1 at the Olden Avenue
exit. For more information, call 609-278-0033 or visit www.tmex.org.
The Junior League of Greater Princeton is looking for
interior and landscape designers for the 12th Designer Showhouse,
to be held in spring of 2002. Participating designers will decorate
a space inside or on the grounds of the house.
The proceeds of the Designer Showhouse provide funding for community
projects to benefit children in Mercer and Bucks Counties, as well
as to grants to other area non-profit organizations.
More than 30 area designers will be chosen to partner with the Junior
League. Call Judy Springer at 609-771-0525 for more information.
Thomas Edison State College has received a grant
of $50,000 from the Fund for New Jersey to launch Leadership Trenton.
The Fund for New Jersey is a not-for-profit private foundation that
distributes grants to organizations dealing with current problems
facing New Jersey in order to promote social improvement within the
Leadership Trenton is a new program to develop a network of emerging
civic leaders. The program is an initiative of Leadership New Jersey,
a statewide leadership program sponsored by the Partnership for New
Jersey and the Watson Institute.
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