“That’s why it’s called Seward’s Folly!”
Here, in the office, I am effectively a cyborg. There are duties that appeal to my organic, intuitive nature, while others require the mechanical meticulousness of my pragmatism. I feel that out of all the jobs I could have had, this setup is quite ideal in the sense that I get to exercise two seemingly disparate aspects of myself all day long.
In the organic sense, writing grants is very much about feeling a potential donor out and seeing if they would be a good fit for your organization. What’s their mission? Who do they currently grant funds to? It requires a great deal of imagination and ingenuity to make a funder think that you have tailor-made a proposal just for them. It’s so easy to have a great text and roll with it. But I believe that what funders truly see, that is, what exemplifies organizations is an attention to the fact that development isn’t about convincing others that you are deserving of their money, it’s about if the two of you are a compatible match for a relationship. This is a lesson I’m still learning.
Now, to my mechanical side. Just writing grants, eloquence, succinctness, et cetera, isn’t enough to run development at a non-profit. You need to be willing to work the A-Word. That dirty little word is ADMINISTRATION. Once a proposal goes out, its care is of the utmost importance. Is it saved? Electronically, hard copy? Both? Good. Can you pull it up at a moment’s notice in case the funder calls and has question about it? No? Get on that….now! My desk is a trove of manila file folders with protruding papers, and parasitic post-it notes everywhere. But, as they say, “A place for everything, and everything in its place.” What can I say? I’m a filer, not a piler. My robot half requires that if my superior should require a piece of data, it should be accessible in two movements of my elbow. That’s the way I like it. At a place like this where there are SO many things that need fundraising (programs, books, events), it falls on me to be quite fastidious when it comes to the status of their livelihood. And honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.