What a Cakebox Can Teach You About Getting a Grant

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A mentsch is a nice person.

Everybody should aspire to be one.

For many reasons.  One of which is, people will like you.

And some of those people will actually fund you because they like what you do and – they like you.

An artist, leaning defiantly against her easel, asked me, “Why does this matter?  My art speaks for itself and that is what people will buy.”

I suppose that may be true if you happen to be the only artist within a hundred mile radius of barren nothingness and people are dying for something to smack them out of oppressive boredom.

However, here in Queens and New York City, people will step on your art to get closer to the person who not only speaks for their art, but adds unexpected value.

What is unexpected value?

As my dear Jewish mother-in-law, Mildred Phyllis Krakauer would say, clutching her pearls gazing upwards:

“Never show up without a cake box in your hand.”

Think about it.

What can a cake box do?

Well, it speaks volumes about the person bringing it:

  • that they thought about it
  • that they took the time to get it
  • that, if my mother-in-law had anything to do with it, it was probably the hostess’s favorite and from the nut-free bakery in New Rochelle, God forbid anyone has a terrible allergic reaction
  • and if my mother-in-law did indeed bring the cake, it was from the Harbor Bakery in Rockaway Beach – home of the most amazing chocolate meltaway cake and guaranteed to make the hostess look like a rock star!

So tremendous unexpected value has been built here – for everyone.

Who wouldn’t want Mildred on their guest list?

How you can add value in your grantwriting

“But what can I do to add value to a funder?”  wailed the artist with the talking painting.

I get this question a lot.

You are a creative person, you can come up with ways to amaze, delight and help people.  You know what to do.

Actually, the question you should be focusing on is:  Why should you add value to a funder?

Do not underestimate the power of a generous spirit.  Adding value is one of the primary power strategies I truly believe in and teach in THE GRANTWINNING BOOTCAMP.  You can get your hands on my FREE MASTER GRANT STRATEGY WORKSHEET to get you started in getting grants to get your work out into the world.

But I suggest you start by adding value.

Clearly, this requires a different kind of cakebox.

Here’s how one of our grantees did it:

Recently, as I was leaving a packed must-be-there must-be-seen event, a woman waved me over to a camera and asked me if I could say a few words about the arts in Queens.  She captured a quick soundbyte with me and bounded over to her next interviewee.

Was this her event?  No.

What was she doing this for?

All of the interviews would eventually be edited down into a tight little video for the organizers of the event to use in their marketing, on their website, and to share with their audience.

Who wouldn’t love to have someone do that for them?  To actually shoot the footage, edit and make everyone look good?  As a gift of added value.

Who do you think becomes instantly top of mind for people?

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Check out Katha Cato and the Queens World Film Festival, one of our 2016 Queens Art Fund grantees and definitely top of mind for me.

She is a mentsch to be reckoned with.

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Hoong Yee

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About the Author: Hoong Yee Lee Krakauer helps artists & creative people grow their careers with great grant writing strategies & mindsets she has developed over 15 years as an veteran grant panelist, grant maker & grant writer. Get her FREE Master Grant Strategy Worksheet and a weekly dose of insights from a grant reviewer’s point of view.

 

 

 

Are You Really A Minority?

Power of Language: Are You Really A Minority? from hoong yee lee krakauer on Vimeo.

Me, a minority?

When 1 out of every 4 people in this world is Chinese, why am I a minority?

Clearly, this is more about controlling the narrative than it is about counting heads.

But listen up people: In just shy of 2 generations, the land of the free will become a minority/majority – another ridiculous term!  That means there will be more people called minorities than there are people called the majority.

We need a better name. Now.

Let’s start by ditching “minority” and replace it with something that is a truer and more powerful descriptor of who we really are.

Check out my video to see what I think that word should be.

Hoong Yee

 

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20140603_142704

About the Author: Hoong Yee Lee Krakauer helps artists & creative people grow their careers with great grant writing strategies & mindsets she has developed over 15 years as an veteran grant panelist, grant maker & grant writer. Get her FREE Master Grant Strategy Worksheet and a weekly dose of insights from a grant reviewer’s point of view.

 

 

 

Why You Should Kiss in Supermarkets

I am always amazed at how quickly I lose sight of appreciating the small, everyday wonders that fill my life.

That I have to be shaken by my shoulders by the universe and reminded that we exist by the grace of forces far greater than us. That we need to stop spinning in our own self invented urgencies and be grateful to be simply standing in a single moment.

A moment of thankfulness.

Wishing all of you a joyous and love filled Thanksgiving.

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About the Author: Hoong Yee Lee Krakauer helps artists & creative people grow their careers with great grant writing strategies & mindsets she has developed over 15 years as an veteran grant panelist, grant maker & grant writer. Get her FREE Master Grant Strategy Worksheet and a weekly dose of insights from a grant reviewer’s point of view.

 

 

 

The Power of a Well Crafted Mission Statement

A mission is a brand is a mission.

And a powerful mission is often crafted to be used for funders and audiences.

I have just spent several weeks working with a group of artists in a workshop to help them focus on creating their unique mission statement by asking:

1. What do you do?

2. For whom?

3. What is the unique transformation that you provide?

While answering these questions, some surprising insights popped up for us.

Watch the video to find out more.

The Grant Secrets T Shirt Project: How Did The Winners of The NPCC 2015 Nonprofit Excellence Awards Get To The Top?

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6 finalists, neck to neck in their scores.

40 grant reviewers, wedged shoulder to shoulder around the table balancing coffee cups on a sea of paper.

And from the head of the table, our esteemed Selection Committee Chair, representatives from The New York Commnunity Trust, Philanthropy New York and the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York gazing around the room with one eye on the clock.

We are a mixed crew of people who bring a wide range of expertise to this grant review process that drills down into 8 key areas of nonprofit excellence and, at the end of this day, will decide who the top 3 2015 nonprofit winners are.

At this stage of the game, the finalists have clearly set themselves apart and have demonstrated excellence above the rest of the applicant pool.

Contrary to popular belief, budget size, age and size of an organization has little to do with being an excellent nonprofit.

This group had budgets ranging from $1M to $117M.

Some were founded as far back as 1869 and as recently as 2009.

Some had 0 volunteers, others had over 14,000 volunteers.

 

Well, what about their management strengths?

Enlightened use of human resources?  

Well, of course!

 

Strong, transparent financial management?

Who doesn’t?

 

Strategic?

That, too.

 

Diverse, culturally competent and responsive?

Let’s just say there’s room for improvement for all.

 

Effective communication strategy?

Par for course…

 

How then, do you elbow your way to the top of such a close and competitive group?

 

Some of you may be thinking this is really like squeezing blood from a rock after putting such a tremendous effort in just being excellent enough to get into the finalist pool.

What else could you possibly do?

 

People say that when a language fades, its people speak in poetry.

 

In some ways this is true when there is nothing more that can be said but needs to be communicated.

So after many conversations over a long grant review process spanning many months, my fellow selection committee members and I found ourselves squeezed around a table and pressed for words and finally erupting in metaphors and sound bytes in an attempt to grasp that elusive winning quality.

 

From this year’s pool of finalists, here are the ones I remember:

 

 

There ARE other potatoes in the bin…

The insight here: Avoid arrogance in presentation. Deadly.

Let’s grow the sector

The insight here: Have a vision that is bigger than you and your organization

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Comfortable with being uncomfortable

The insight here: Being transparent is part of honest leadership

Are you punching above your weight?

The insight here: Lift as you climb

Humbleness

The insight here: This is a quality that truly illuminates your humanity

Passion maintenance

The insight here is: Not sure how you do this but I like this as an organizational priority

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Thought diversity

The insight here: Value creative dissension – I call it brain diversity – as well as all of the usual suspects, race, sex, gender, age… in your mix

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Hire hard or manage hard

The insight here: Focus first on thoughtful talent selection

Create conversations

The insight here: How do you differentiate yourself? This is how one group defined true branding

 

 

 

 

2015-03-28 22.09.37

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hoong Yee

20140603_142704

About the Author: Hoong Yee Lee Krakauer helps artists & creative people grow their careers with great grant writing strategies & mindsets she has developed over 15 years as an veteran grant panelist, grant maker & grant writer. Get her FREE Master Grant Strategy Worksheet and a weekly dose of insights from a grant reviewer’s point of view.