It is impossible to write an award-winning grant in isolation. And many unsuccessful grant writers fall into this trap. They are good at writing but professional grant writing is so much more than the written narrative or basic research on the internet. It is not a solo sport.
To be successful, you must reach out to others in your network to learn from them, to partner together on proposals and to support one another. In Tarrant County and in my opinion, especially in Fort Worth, we are superb at collaboration in the grant development arena. There are some great groups in existence including (1) the grant professional group supported by the Mental Health Connection, (2) the Grant Professional Association (GPA) local chapter that meets in Bedford, and (3) the National Grants Management (NGM) Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter that meets at the Arlington ISD Professional Development Center. For development staff, there is the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), Fort Worth Chapter. For school districts, we meet at Region XI Educational Service Center (ESC) to discuss specific funding streams from the federal and state government. The North Texas Area Council of Government provides support for grant applications through the Governor’s office and is the go to place for transportation and juvenile justice grants.
For general support, the CNM Connect in Fort Worth, located on Berry Street, near TCU, is the place for ongoing professional development as well as access to databases on funders and foundations. If you join this organization, you get on a list for invitations to all kinds of support and networking.
You can also just form your own network of grant writers and meet informally to share challenges, glean new tips, share contacts, and support one another. I have recently joined a great group, called the Tarrant Area Grant Writers Group (TAGG) and we meet for lunch at University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) every other month to talk about our craft.
Whatever you do, if you are writing grants for organizations in Tarrant County or Fort Worth, Texas, get involved with one of the grant writing organizations listed above. It will make you better in all aspects — both grant writing, development, and implementation strategies — and help your own professional growth and exposure for your organization. The time invested should result in helping you and your organization meet grant funding goals to support the critical needs of our rapidly growing, multi-cultural north Texas community.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” — Helen Keller.