Today we were visited by Angela White-Jones. She is the Grants Officer for Quest Inc. I learned quite a lot from her visit. I truly enjoyed it and got a new perspective on grant writing.
I learned about that Quest generates 30 million dollars a year and employ 700 people, which was very surprising about a non-profit organization. I loved learning that grant writing never goes of style and is “recession proof” as she said.
Though, I already had an idea that no two grants are the same, it was surprising to learn that they always make a completely new grants based on the requirements of the funder and that some of them are so detailed, that they can be up 250 pages long. I remember thinking that it must be terrible if they go through all that hard work when the funders may not even be interested in the grants until she mentioned the letter of inquiry as a sort of “application” for permission to submit a proposal to a funder who’s interested.
Out of everything that she said, what stood out the most was how much she networks with people face to face and/or over the phone. She gave an example that she called a huge foundation and even though it was a long shot, they go funded by that foundation. She also mentioned that if her proposal gets rejected she usually calls the company and asks why over the phone, to see what she can improve. She also mentioned, that Quest is currently working with Ikea and she got that connection at a birthday party through a friend of a friend, it made me realize that she is always aware and networking and that a great quality to have as a grant writer is alertness of connections and resources. I also admired how fearless she is, it’s important in the non-profit world to be a go-getter and leave fear aside.
Something that I would probably work better on as a potential job applicant would be sharpening my social skills. I‘m somewhat introverted and I don’t always have a lot of confidence when meeting new people, so I know that it’s definitely something to work on. While I knew it was important, I didn’t realize how critical it could be until Angela spoke to us.