Grant Writing and Other Challenges

Learning new things has always been challenging for me.  My first inclination is to think, “I can’t do that.  It’s too much to learn.  It might be too hard.”  Translation: “I’m a bit too lazy to put myself through the work it takes…”  Yeah, that’s pretty much it.

But once the panic is over, and I see the new challenge is something I need to do, I face it head on, or at least walk around it a bit like a calf would a new gate.  It doesn’t hurt to count the cost, to evaluate the components, measure the commitment…lest one earns the reputation of that “lady who doesn’t finish what she starts.”  Better to not try than to fail, right?  No?  Do I have that wrong?  (Just messing around with you.)

It has bec0me pretty obvious the ministry of which I am a part needs some stimulation.  I could reword that to read “needs money.”  We have some terrific plans, a good building and property, and good directors, but we need a steady income to meet the budget each year.  This is the time of year for taxes, insurance, etc.  So I have been talking to the Lord about it.  In fact, I have been crying out to the Lord about it. And I think He sent me to the internet.  How do other non-profits keep their budgets and programs covered?

It seems they have Executive Directors who regularly write grants, assess the donor markets, do data research, make spreadsheets…Yeah, now I remember why I thought I couldn’t do new challenges.  “Lord, You’re not looking at me, are You?  I know we don’t have funds to hire an Executive Director, and everyone but me have regular jobs…”  I waited a few moments for Him to reassure me to how silly I was being–of coarse He had someone else in mind, but that didn’t happen.  Well, I could learn about it a little more, at least on a temporary basis, if the other directors didn’t laugh me out, I reasoned to myself.

And then He set the hook firmly in my jaw.  I was reading about the type of grants available from the government (programs funded by tax dollars to help specific group needs such as education) and thinking about what our community needs the most.  There are a lot of needs here, but I was pondering on what would make an impact on lives.  What would make a difference physically and spiritually?  My grandson came to my mind.  He lives on Social Security Disability, and his check hardly covers his monthly expenses no matter how carefully he budgets his money.  I have looked on sadly as he constantly puts in applications for jobs he never gets, or is treated badly when he can’t produce the quantity of work demanded.  We have researched self-employment opportunities where he can work at his own speed and health issues, but we have been unable to find anything.  He is not alone.  There are others in his predicament as well as mothers with small children who cannot work outside the home and need to supplement their income.

Another thing about the Lord: He likes to give talents, experiences, and passions about many different things to His children.  These sundry elements may not even seem to be related until one day they all seem to fit together in a package for a particulate purpose.  I do have the skills to write grants and manage donor markets; I would just have to learn, develop and refine those skills.  I am just not too excited about doing it.  So He gives me an idea that I am excited about.  (Could it actually have come from Him?)  I love master crafts such as stained glass, pottery, carpentry, and have taught some classes in stained glass construction at our local university.  I have had the idea of giving classes as a tourism venture (an incubator approach) and allowing students to sell their works on site or online.  This would work with handicapped individuals and stay-at-home moms also.  Imagine the individual self-worth and pride it would build.

Now I have a project to learn something new, a passion that makes it worthwhile, and an impact in lives in our community.  Will it come to fruition?  I’m only a cog in a ministry, and others must be consulted.  Funny thing, though, if it’s His doing, they will be excited about it.  If not, then I’m getting too old to chase rabbits through the fall season of my life, and will be grateful for an old dream briefly revisited.