Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Grants--How Did I Get Started

Yesterday I spoke at a job club about working for nonprofits. Many of the participants had questions about grant writing and how I got started. I explained to the group, and thought I should probably blog about how I got started in the field. Tomorrow I'll blog about some strategies for those interested in working in this field.

I started working on grants while finishing my BA at California State University San Bernadino. My faculty supervisor was working on several grant applications and asked me to assist her with some writing and editing. I wrote my first fully funded grant application for my own thesis research. While attending graduate school I worked the graveyard shift at a domestic violence shelter. I worked the front line answering crisis calls, and everything associated with front line work. Since it was the night shift I started to look for other things to do with my free time and started working on grants for the shelter.

Back then there were no BA's in nonprofit management, and very few grant writing classes. I don't know anyone who decided to pursue a career in grant writing, most fell into the field such as I did.

I moved to Los Angeles and started working as a Development Director for a nonprofit organization. The agency took a chance on me, and I put together my first federal grant for this agency, which was fully funded.

My career as a fundraiser/grant writer/nonprofit organizational specialist has not been strategically planned. However, after several years in this sector I have tips for those who want to work in this field. Check my blog tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Get Ready for Grant Season

In the last few days I have been approached to compile funding applications for several governmental and nonprofit organizations. The wave of funding applications is starting to crest over my desk, and I am starting my writing regime. Here are a couple of helpful tips for those preparing applications.

1. Get organized--pull all your information in one place, one file folder on your desk and one file folder on your computer. Scan any documents needed for electronic submittals.

2. Create a task spreadsheet--assign tasks, names and deadline dates.

3. Develop your outline from the RFP. Make sure you put everything you will be required to submit into the grant application in the outline. I typically work from this outline.

4. Check out submission information. If you need to register with in order to submit your application, make sure you do it right away.

5. Inventory printers, copiers and any other equipment you will need to produce the application. I recently completed a grant for a client, sent it to her for review, print out and submission. Her printer churned out a copy with yellow streaks down the page--not very appealing to a funder.

6. Get resolutions, and other signatures as soon as possible. Don't wait till the last minute for signatures.

7. If you need support, technical assistance or help make sure you ask well before the deadline. Grant writing firms are very busy this time of the year, and waiting till the last minute can impact the cost to prepare an application.

Roberts & Associates is here to help you compile your RFP's. Send us an email at and we will get right back to you!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Why Passion Matters!

This is day 3 of a 30 day blog challenge, and now the work really begins....and my fingers start cramping, along with my brain. What to say, what to say, is anything really relevant, and truly that important? I started reading other blog challenge participants blogs, for inspiration and motivation, and it has helped me immensely.

What is glaringly evident.....excited and passionate people have exciting and passionate blogs! Positive, enthusiastic and happy to be here are descriptors I would use to promote the blogs.

In a world filled with text competing for our attention, what draws us to certain people and their message? I think that people's passion, excitement and enthusiasm shines through and makes me want to follow, read and engage with them.

This adage is the same for donors and the world of philanthropy and fund-raising. Donors want to be engaged with organizations that are passionate about what they do, have excitement about their cause and use this energy to motivate not only those that they serve but also their donors and other stakeholders.

So often I hear people saying "I've got to raise money, or fundraise for my organization" in the same tone that they say "I've got to go to the dentist for a root canal" (apologies to any dentists reading this post!) Who wants to give money to anyone not excited about what they do? No one that I know. Passion, excitement and enthusiasm matter as much as the written words and content, and they do shine through your written work.

So all you overworked nonprofit directors, take a well needed energy break and re-find your passion for your work. I know it is in you somewhere...I promise it will make a difference.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Conversations with Experts, What Have I Learned?

I have conducted free training webinars each week for the past three months. During this time I have talked with many experts about different issues that impact nonprofits and governmental agencies. So what have I learned? First, I believe that there is a great need for basic information and infrastructure support in order to help people do their jobs better and achieve better outcomes. The webinars have also reconfirmed my belief in the goodness of humans, their capacity to share, give of themselves and care for their fellow citizens. I have interacted with folks from all parts of the country, all different sectors.

The folks I have worked with have been the most wonderful, grateful individuals. I am so thankful that I have spent many years in the nonprofit sector and have gained a lot of information during this time period.

What do I want from this experience… I want to create a dialogue, a conversation that promotes the abundance of resources instead of a mentality of scarcity. The economy has impacted all of us, especially nonprofits, who in most cases are now helping more people, with even less resources. I wish we could view the National Philanthropy Awards on television, honoring those who give, those who care, and those who make a difference. Most of these folks are hidden, doing their work on a day to day basis without acclaim or applause, or appropriate support and technical assistance.

My free Conversations with Experts webinars are a way of saying thank you. This is a sector that needs a collective hug right now….needs to be thanked , supported and embraced for the good work it does. Hopefully my blog can help say thank you with practical gifts.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Embracing My Limitations--30 Day Blog Challenge

I'm committed to furthering the field of philanthropy, embracing technology and social media to bring about a good result. There are many times when I feel hemmed in by my own technological weaknesses, lack of knowledge or time to learn about new programs and ways to do things. I've had this blog for several weeks now, and I've used it successfully to announce upcoming events for the Conversations with Experts webinars. Frankly, I haven't used it for much else, because I'm not sure exactly what that looks like. One of my twitter friends is starting a 30 day blog challenge today, and I have decided to participate. The goal is to blog challenge is to successfully blog for 30 days in a row.

I liken this blogging process to the cultivation of a garden....which I'm also doing right now. I'm digging up and tilling the soil, planting seeds and watering....the perfect metaphor for this blog challenge. I talk a lot about cultivation of relationships in order to do good fundraising, and raise a happy, successful nonprofit organization. So now I need to do more than just talk...I need to put my fingers to the laptop and type....we will see what happens.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

How to Write an Award Winning Grant Tomorrow?

Many new funding opportunities are looming in the not so distant future. If you need help putting a grant together for an upcoming competition, contact us at Roberts & Associates. We are here to help you secure funds!

With over 20 years of award winning experience, Roberts & Associates will help obtain funding for your non-profit organization or government agency.
We are equipped to offer your organization a full suite of affordable grant writing and fund raising services.

Our staff has secured funding for various non-profit organizations, educational institutions and government entities throughout Southern California.

Our clients include
• The American Red Cross
• The Salvation Army
• The City of Los Angeles
• The County of Ventura

Skilled in prospect research, fund raising, organizational development and planning/evaluation, members of our firm have served as program officers at local Southern California foundations, and have taught many proposal writing courses at the Center for Non-profit Management, Cal State Dominguez Hills, the Ventura County Community Foundation, and Grant Writing Specialists San Diego.

We pride ourselves in providing technical assistance to non-profit organizations seeking strategic help regarding the process of grant writing and post award management and reporting. This is an important part of our history and our commitment to every client.

CONTACT: Carrie Roberts and Associates 805 816-6712 or toll free 888-835-3861

Upcoming Webinars & Training Opportunities

Managing Volunteers--Friday April 16th,10 am PDT
Website Design--Tuesday April 20th,10 am PDT
Executive Directors Panel--Tuesday April 27th,10 am PDT
Strategic Planning--Friday April 30th,10 am PDT
Government Grantwriting--Tuesday May 4th,10 am PDT
Social Entrepreneurship--Friday May 7th,10 am PDT
Nonprofit Law--Friday May 14th,10 am PDT
Human Resources for Nonprofits--Tuesday May 18th,10 am PDT

Registration links will be posted this week.

Writing A Compelling Grant—start to finish -- Thursday May 20th and Thursday May 27th 9-3 pm

This experiential hands-on training opportunity allows participants to write and submit a proposal template. Training mediums will include ustream; gotowebinar; gototraining and skype.

If you have participated in previous Conversation with Experts Webinars you will receive a discount for this training session.
Registration prior to 5/1/2010 $129
Registration after 5/1/2010 $149

Please email if you are interested in attending this session.

Upcoming Intensive Training Sessions include:
Public Relations June 17 & 24
Social Media August 26 & Sept. 2

Funding Opportunities

Grant Opportunity For Youth-based Organizations

Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative
The US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) has $75 million in grant money available under President Obama's Community Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative for FY 2010.
PURPOSE: To fund the replication of programs that have been proven effective through rigorous evaluation and to demonstration programs to develop and test additional models and innovative strategies.

ELIGIBILITY: public and private entities that have programs proven effective through rigorous evaluation to reduce teenage pregnancy, behavioral risks underlying teenage pregnancy, or other associated risk factors.
OVERVIEW: Applicants will undergo screening for completeness and responsiveness. Applications that pass this initial screening will then be evaluated through an objective review process. Successful applications will result in the award of an estimated 150 cooperative agreements.
CATEGORIES: Funding is available for two broad program types:
• curriculum-based programs that seek to educate young people about topics such as responsible behavior, relationships, and pregnancy prevention and
• youth development programs that seek to reduce teenage pregnancy and a variety of risky behaviors through a broad range of approaches.
GRANT DEADLINE May 17, 2010.
Award decisions for teenage pregnancy prevention replication grants are anticipated to be made in September 2010.:

Grant Opportunity For K-12 Schools
Investing in Innovation Fund (i3)
The U.S. Department of Education has $100 million in grant money available under the Investing in Innovation Fund (i3) for FY 2010. The (i3) fund is part of the $650 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
PURPOSE: To support local efforts to start or expand research-based innovative programs that help close the achievement gap and improve outcomes for students.
• improve K-12 achievement and close achievement gaps;
• decrease dropout rates;
• increase high school graduation rates; and
• improve teacher and school leader effectiveness.
ELIGIBILITY: Individual school districts or groups of districts, and entrepreneurial nonprofits can submit applications.
Colleges and universities, companies and other stakeholders can be supporters of the projects.
QUALIFIER: Applicants must demonstrate previous success in closing achievement gaps, improving student progress toward proficiency, increasing graduation rates,
or recruiting and retaining high-quality teachers and principals.
• Scale-up Grants: The largest category is for programs with potential to reach hundreds of thousands of students. Applicants must have a strong base of evidence that their program has had a significant effect on improving student achievement.
• Validation Grants: Existing, promising programs that have good evidence of their impact and are ready to improve their evidence base while expanding in their own and other communities.
• Development Grants: The smallest grant level designed to support new and high-potential practices whose impact should be studied further.
Grant recipients will be required to match federal funds with public or private dollars. Successful applicants will need to demonstrate how their programs will be sustainable after their federal grants are completed.

If you need help putting these applications together contact Roberts & Associates. We are here to help.

Monday, March 8, 2010

It's My Birthday Tomorrow and I'm Giving Away Presents

It's my birthday tomorrow, Tuesday March 9th, and I'm celebrating in a big way. I will be hosting a free Grantwriting webinar at 10 AM PST.

Not only will you learn insider tips and secrets...your organization will be eligible to receive FREE PRO BONO grant writing services from Roberts & Associates! Yes, you read that right, one agency represented on the webinar will win pro bono grant writing services from Roberts & Associates.

Tell your friends and neighbors about this webinar.....register while space is still available.

The registration link is:

See you at the birthday party!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Baffled by Program Officers at Foundations?

Not sure how Program Officers allocate grant money? Can you call a Program Officer to discuss your project? Do you think of Foundations as ATM machines for Nonprofit Organizations?

We will discuss all these topics and more with Kris Putnam-Walkerly, President of Putnam Community Investment Consulting, during our next Conversations With Experts Webinar.

The FREE webinar, will be held on March 5th at 10 PST. To register for the session, click on this link:

The Conversation with Experts webinars are a great FREE resource for those in the nonprofit and social good communities.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I am the first to admit that I am not a great blogger. In fact, I am now just realizing the power of blogging to get my message heard.

On Friday I will be conducting a webinar on Effective Blogging.

We will be chatting with Daniel Gastieger about effective blogging for your nonprofit or public agency.

I have resisted blogging for a long time, and now I am just beginning to understand the power of blogging.

Come learn along with me as we discover how to get our message out to constituents, donors, friends and stakeholders in a timely and effective manner.

Mr. Gastieger is an author, business analyst and social media guru. He is based in Pennsylvania, and works with nonprofits, private enterprise, and municipal organizations.

To register for the FREE webinar click on the this link

Ask your questions here in the comments section or send your questions to and we will answer them during the webinar! There are no stupid questions, all novice and beginning bloggers are invited to ask all your burning questions!

Please contact Roberts & Associates for more information about the FREE webinars, to book Carrie Roberts for speaking engagements, or to hire our firm nonprofit management, fundraising, or grantwriting council.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Free Training Resources for Nonprofits and Public Works

Just released listing of upcoming trainings for Spring, 2010.

Tuesday February 9th, 2010--10-11 AM PST
FREE WEBINAR: Working with Passion-Defeating Negativity
Shanna Trenholm (San Diego)

Friday February 12th, 2010--10-11 AM PST
FREE WEBINAR: Effective Blogging
Daniel Gasteiger (Pennsylvania)

Friday February 19th, 2010--10-11 AM PST
FREE WEBINAR: Public Relations that Work
Jeanne Brown (Ventura County)

Tuesday February 23rd, 2010—10-11 AM PST
FREE WEBINAR: Social Media for Non Profits
Daniel Gasteiger (Pennsylvania)

Thursday February 25th, 2010—9-4 PM PST
FREE LIVE TRAINING— Proposal Writing
City of Los Angeles
Carrie Roberts (Ventura County)

Friday March 5th, 2010—10-11 AM PST
Working with Foundations
Kris Putnam (Ohio)

Tuesday March 9th, 2010—10-11 AM PST
FREE WEBINAR: Grant Writing
Carrie Roberts (Ventura County)

Thursday March 11th, 2010—6-9 PM PST
LIVE TRAINING—Ventura Community College
Non Profit Business Plans
Carrie Roberts (Ventura County)

Friday March 12th, 2010—9-12 AM PST
FREE LIVE TRAINING—City of Los Angeles
Impact/Program Evaluation
Carrie Roberts (Ventura County)

Friday March 19th, 2010—10-11 AM PDT
FREE WEBINAR: Evaluation Strategies
Kristin Cici (Minnesota)

Tuesday March 23rd, 2010—10-11 AM PDT
FREE WEBINAR: Non Profit Marketing
Ann Beurskins (Los Angeles)

Tuesday March 30th, 2010—10AM-12PM PDT
FREE WEBINAR: Executive Directors and CEO’s Panel
Carrie Roberts (Ventura County)

Tuesday April 6th, 2010—10-11 AM PDT
FREE WEBINAR: Government Grants
Carrie Roberts (Ventura County)

Friday April 16th, 2010—10-11 AM PDT
Working with Volunteers
Nancy Iannone (Arizona)

Tuesday April 20th, 2010—10-11 AM PDT
Website Design
Xander Brennan (Los Angeles)

Friday April 30th, 2010—10-11 AM PDT
Strategic Planning
Doug Green (Ventura County)

Friday May 7th, 2010—10-11 AM PDT
Social Entrepreneurship
Tea Silvestre (Ventura County)

Tues/Wed May 11-12th, 2010, 9-4PM EDT
Grant Writing
Carrie Roberts (Ventura County)

Friday May 14th, 2010—10-11 AM PDT
Non Profit Law
Stephanie White (Ventura County)

Tuesday May 18th, 2010—10-11 AM PDT
Human Resources

Friday May 28th, 2010—10-11 AM PDT
Individual Giving
Leslie Robin (Los Angeles)

Friday June 4th, 2010—10-11 AM PDT
Graphic Design
Janine Stange (Los Angeles)

Friday June 11th, 2010—10AM-12PM PDT
Non Profit Careers
Panel TBD

Friday June 18th, 2010—10-11 AM PDT

Carrie Roberts, CFRE
Founder & CEO

P. 805 816-6712 | F. 888-647-5873
811 Union Pacific St. | Fillmore, CA 93015

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Free Webinar: Secrets of Grant Seeking--Finding Money

Tuesday, February 2nd, 10 AM PST Roberts & Associates will be hosting a free webinar--"Secrets of Grant Seeking" --Finding money in obvious and obscure places. Click on the link to register.

We will discuss various methods to search for funding! Don't wait to register, the webinar is free, but has a limited number of seats available!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

New Logo! New Look! New Conversations!

I am so excited about the progress I've already made in 2010. The "Conversations With Experts" is going along smashingly. Xander (webguy extraordinary!) designed a new logo for our

webinar series. What do you think of the logo?

We have had great participation in the three webinars we have already hosted: Fundraising 101; Foundations of Fiscal Management; and, Building Community Collaborations. Soon mp3s of all webinars will be posted on our website for downloading.

Our next session Secrets of Grantseeking will be packed with information. I will host the conversation on Tuesday, February 2nd at 10 PST. To register for this Free Webinar, click on the following link: