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Community building and grant writing with Stachen Frederick

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Grant writing is one of those things that collectively give our sector a headache!

When we write a grant, we don’t know what to focus on and struggle to fit everything under word count limit. When we submit, we have no idea whether it will be successful, and we just hope for the best. And when we get a rejection letter, we never find out why.

But grant writing doesn’t have to be that painful or mysterious. Inthe today’s episode, I connected with Stachen Frederick to learn about her insights on how to build communities through the process of grant writing and maximize our rate of success.

3 myths Stachen wants us to leave behind:

  1. Fundraising and community development are two separate things. Fundraising and community development go hand in hand together. By involving those who your organization serves in developing a grant or other forms of fundraising, you are already bringing the community together and building their connections, skills, and assets.

  2. To write great grants, you need to hire a professional grant writer. The skill of writing a grant can be learned, but authentic connection cannot be easily replicated. You can write from your heart and tell a great story about why your program should be funded.

  3. You should apply for as many grants as possible. Quantity does not mean quality. Be very strategic in what grants you target and apply.

Stachen’s tops tips on grant writing:

  1. Involve those who you serve in your program development and grant writing process. Let your program participants tell you what they need, brainstorm ideas with you, and share their personal stories.

  2. Don’t be afraid of telling personal stories in grants. The decision-makers makers reading the grants are real people who will be moved by real stories!

  3. Before applying for a grant, do ample research to make sure there’s alignment. Read through what the funder published as their priorities and connect with the funder one-on-one to find the alignment. It’s OK to walk away if a grant is not aligned.

My favourite quotes from today’s episode

Post your favourite quote on our social!

At small organizations, I've always remained close to community. So when I write my proposals, I write it from the heart.

Make [your grant] personal. Because these stories are real. The work that we do in whatever aspect of our charitable sector, it's real for individuals. It’s real for an individual who's been homeless and could not find somewhere to sleep and your shelter was able to provide and if somebody says that's the first time they smelled a clean pillow in the longest while, share that story!

Resources from this Episode

The Good Partnership


Have your say! Participate in CharityVillage and Fundraise’s global giving survey

Connect with Stachen on LinkedIn

Frontlines Toronto

Braids for Aids

In The Line of Fire Youth Cookbook

The Small Nonprofit is produced by Eloisa Jane Mariano