Frustrations of the Profession

Robin Wenger is a grant writer for the City of Elkhart, Indiana. As a veteran writer, Wenger recently shared a list of frustrations – his top ten, to be exact– describing the challenges of grant writing.

In introducing the list, Wenger begins with this statement: “I have been equally frustrated by the feds [federal agencies] and foundations, but more so by colleagues or clients who don’t come through with requested information.”

A Grant Writer’s Top Ten Frustrations

10. Waiting on information from other sources that is necessary to prepare the application.

9. Grant makers who still insist on applicants submitting an original application and 16 hard copies.

8. Reporting forms that are outdated.

7. Federal agencies that reject applications because of their own failure to update the Notification of Funding Announcements (NOFA) and grant requirements. Furthermore, even though the NOFA says one thing, they actually want applicants to do another.

6. Grants.gov rejecting an applicant’s login information.

5. Non-profit boards refusing to use best practices.

4. Non-profit executive directors who dismiss the advice of a grant writer and later ask why the grant writer is not successful.

3. Those who think a grant writer is Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy, and Magic Genie — one who can make money appear at the snap of his fingers.

2. Colleagues who spend money on items that were not approved in the budget and do not bother telling the grant writer or asking to modify the budget. What is the number one frustration to Wenger?

1.Colleagues who leave thousands of dollars for the asking simply because they cannot be bothered with the funding requirements.

Robin captures several frustrations of the profession, and even though the following did not make it into his top ten, they surely are close contenders:

-Online applications that cannot be reviewed without first creating a profile and/or beginning the application process.

-Grant makers that are not available to answer applicants’ questions.

-Colleagues who sit on a grant announcement for months and decide at the last minute to apply.

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