After a long week, we are finally reconnected to the Internet.

As I posted before, it's been a learning experience to be without it. It's good it's back though, because there are online grants I need to submit next week. :)

It's nice to rejoin the technological age, and I hope next week to have more blog posts to get caught back up.


You Can't Live Without It...

Starfish has been Internet-less since Friday.

It's a huge wake-up call to see how dependent on technology we are. It also makes getting things done more complicated so this morning, I'm camping out at the public library with my laptop and using their wireless to blog, check work email and get some Internet-based things done.

We know that a lot of our students and families don't have Internet, but what a wake-up call these past two days have been for what that really means for them. I have felt completely cut off from the world, not having e-mail and not being able to read the news. (There are some parts of being a recovering reporter that I may never get over and reading several newspapers online is likely one of them.) But I also can't do research, can't look up contact information in our donor database, can't file online applications.

It makes me think about how hard it must be for these families to do things since they aren't connected to the Internet. How do you look for colleges and scholarships and do your homework without an Internet connection?

We're supposed to get ours back at Starfish today *fingers crossed* but I hope I don't forget what I've learned without it.


I should go away more often...

I get back to the blue office this morning after a needed weekend off and discover not one funded grant on my desk, but two!

Amazing. Go out of the office for a day and a half and come back to see copies of checks totally $30,000.

My money raised total is now sitting right at $250,000.

Yep. A quarter million. I can't believe it.

One of these grants is the first one I ever wrote. We got the news awhile ago that they were going to fund us, but now we have check in hand. I'm still rather stunned that we got it, given my inexperience in grant writing.

I don't think I really thought about how much money I might raise during my VISTA year, but I have to say, $250,000 is way beyond what I think I might have imagined.



The money total = $220,000. The success to failure rate is something like 11-4 to 12-4.

It's so wonderful to get checks in the mail after the hard work of writing grants.

Even though it seems like I'm having success with the grant proposals I'm writing, I signed up today to take a two-day proposal writing workshop through the Center on Philanthropy. The workshop was free and I figured there's always something else I can learn about how to write better proposals.


Yippee! One hurdle down

I've been working for the last two days on a major, major, capital project grant.

With Starfish growing, we've expanded into the back half of our building and with the help of a designer, put together an AWESOME-looking remodeling/renovation plan. No more blue office!...

At least, no more blue office if this request gets funded.

Anyway... the cool part of the story. Shortly before 3, the executive director and I hand-delivered our application to the funder since it was due by end-of-business today. Just a few minutes ago, she got a call from the grants manager that we are on the agenda to present our plan to the grant committee in about two weeks.

This is a great hurdle to get over so now we know we're on for sure!

I'll post more about the project, cost, status of the grant, etc, as it goes along.


Every little bit

The money update:

We got another little grant today for $1,500. It's not a ton, sure, but it's $1,500 more than we had.


Fundraising is definitely a marathon, not a sprint.

I wouldn't say it's quite a tortoise-and-hare scenario (ie, slow and steady wins the race). I am thinking more like fundraising tends to mean you're in it for the long haul. Grant cycles are slow. It takes time to cultivate relationships with donors. Even special events take a long time to plan to be successful. Bottom line, you can't make a quick fundraising buck.

That said, this week has been a flat-out run and will stay that way till through a big deadline next Tuesday.

I hope this doesn't come off as whining. I'm not whining, I'm just ... explaining.
Here's the list of things on my plate:
1. $50K grant application... would have been better to have gotten this one done in May. Others are waiting to read it.
2. $????K grant application for a capital project. Waiting still on numbers from the construction folks. Due on Tuesday. Expect gnashing of teeth Friday-Monday-Tuesday to get this puppy finished. Also, don't expect to see me those days.
3. Donor newsletter. Gotta keep folks informed.
4. Scholar newsletter. See #3.
5. Summer direct mail campaign. We've got a cool campaign we're launching... letters need to go out in two weeks from tomorrow. I'm still on draft #1.
6. Donor database. We got a new donor database system this spring. After a bunch of online training, I'm now making sure our paper records jibe with what's in the database. Last names beginning with "F" and "G" should get done by the end of the week...

I'll hopefully come up for air next week and let you know what progress I've made.

VISTA Service Ticker