What services do you provide?
It generally covers 3 areas: development consulting (including assessment and planning) with nonprofits, grant fundraising and training. For more information about how we support organizations, please see the Services page.
Do you only work with nonprofits?
No. The principles of sound development and management are common to many types of organizations and very different industries. We support nonprofits as well as the public sector, and businesses when they are doing charitable work.
How long has Andi Kemp been fundraising for, consulting with, or being a leader in nonprofits?
As of Dec 2017, she had written 240 proposals, acting as the project manager and doing 3/4 or more of the work to develop and submit the grant requests. About 70% of the applications/proposals have been awarded, for a total of $19.5 million raised for not-for-profit (nonprofit) organizations and communities.
How much does it cost to hire your firm?
The ultimate cost of a project or contract is driven by many factors: 1) the number of hours required to complete the scope of work, 2) the project’s complexity, 3) the urgency of the timeline (we charge rush rates), 4) the readiness of the organization to apply for funds or carry out a campaign, and 5) their capacity to support the process.
Do you offer discounts?
Sometimes, after completing an initial project, if the initial experience is a positive one, we may negotiate discounted rates on future contracts. If a proposed contract is large enough or covers a period of 6+ months, a discount may be offered on the hourly rate. Andi is thoughtful about financial resources and careful with her time.
How do you interact remotely with clients in different areas?
We do whatever it takes to make the project successful and meet people where they are.
We minimize travel costs for the best use of resources. Andi is comfortable using Skype, Google Conference, GoToMeeting, Zoom and conference calls for meetings.
We’ve used Google Drive, Dropbox, Slack and OneDrive for group editing and communication. Email is a good way to communicate (especially in early stages) about technical and detail-oriented topics, and preferred for document share. Face time is invaluable.
Can we pay you with a percentage of the award if we win a grant you help us write?
No. It doesn’t meet the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Code of Ethical Standards, and it’s not in a nonprofits’ best interest to pay fundraisers in this way. The fundraiser might be more tempted to chase big money than to help you stay mission-focused and working on your most important strategic goals and community needs.
Also, it’s good to remember that development consultants and grant fundraisers have acquired and share a valuable set of professional skills. This knowledge-based work deserves fair compensation for services provided, no matter the fundraising outcome for the client. It’s similar to the way accountants, mechanics, health care practitioners, and other specialists are compensated.
What training courses do you provide?
Grant fundraising, budgeting for programs and nonprofits, online research, panels with other development consultants, federal and state grant writing, and more.
Please see the Training page for more information.
We customize the experience for each organization, group, and individual served. Rather than develop a series of canned modules, we learn about specific needs and address them through training. We develop and deliver engaging and flexible courses that are delivered in an informal classroom-style setting, with written handouts, visual presentations and Q&A for participants.
Is a case for support the same thing as a case statement?
Yes. Case for support is a newer term. These can be used for donor fundraising purposes and/or serve as foundational documents for grant and sponsorship proposals in major campaigns.
More Grant Questions
Do you just write grants?
No! We can offer a lot more, and are very good at figuring out the A-Z when those steps don’t yet exist. We see the forest and the trees, which is useful in complex, fast-moving organizations. We’re also committed to excellence and best practices.
Being led by a well-rounded development consultant with access to professionals in the field helps our company to inform and improve your grant fundraising practices, leading to a stronger organization with more money to carry out the mission!
What types of grants have you written?
- State and federal – About 35%
- Foundation – About 50% (includes small family, large regional, statewide, and community)
- Corporate, association, commission, charitable groups, United Way – About 15%
How many hours does it take to write a grant?
That depends. In the course of writing hundreds of proposals, it’s taken Andi (Principal Consultant) anywhere from 8 to 125 hours per application.
To help answer this commonly asked and perfectly reasonable question, we’ve developed a document with ranges of hours for the time it takes me to write grant proposals, broken down by the type of grant. (Every fundraiser is different.) Please click here for a copy.
No two grants are alike, so in making a reasonable estimate, we consider many factors related to the strength of the applicant, viability of the project, and alignment between the applicant and funding partners’ strategic goals in the proposed use of funds.
Are there any grants you won’t write?
Yes – one. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA). By our estimation, it is a 150-200 hour project for the lead writer/project manager. They are highly competitive and specialized funding opportunities meant for experienced organizations with multiple licensed mental health professionals already on staff, and the capacity to manage a large, onerous federal grant. (At least 1.5 FTE dedicated to the management of an award, preferably more.)
If we hire you, can you re-use material in another grant proposal?
Somewhat. Organization descriptions can be re-used and “tweaked” to fit character limits or the focus of the proposal. Project Budget templates can be emptied and re-built for another grant as a time-saving measure. Single-page program overviews with brief testimonials from clients or participants are great to reuse, and not just for grants.
If you really mean, “Can you cut and paste material to write multiple proposals quickly and win loads of grant money for us?” the answer is No. We believe funding partners, organizations, financial investments and communities deserve more respect. And in our experience – based on the guidance of professionals – careful alignment of a funding partner’s goals with an organization’s strategic priorities and operational strengths leads to the success many are seeking.
We want to get a grant to launch a new program. Can you help us?
Maybe. First we’ll ask a lot of questions about how you determined the need for the project, what other sources of funds are potentially available this year and next, the organization’s commitment, and your plans to sustain the program or project once the grant funding ends.
If you aren’t prepared to answer or haven’t thought that far ahead, it’s best to do more planning first. Those are the types of questions that funding partners ask in grant applications and contract proposals.
What’s a good success rate for a grant writer?
After talking to many professionals in the field:
- Above 30% is OK.
- Above 50% is good.
- Above 75% is fantastic.
The return on investment for organizations that hire professional fundraisers and achieve 70%+ rates can exceed 10:1 or 20:1.
Is Andi any good at this?
Reasonably, yes. She’s earned a 71% success rate with grant applications funded and won about 60% of the funds requested over the course of my 8-year career. This applies when she was acting as project manager or contributed substantially to proposal development. She had some years at 90% and some years at 50% for success rates, and struck out completely with a couple of nonprofits who weren’t ready to write grants as an org, or whose leadership staff were uncooperative about the process.
Andi has been fortunate to work with strong consultants, has ethical practices and high standards, and chooses to serve relatively high-functioning nonprofit organizations. She is willing to work hard to learn the profession quickly and well, and has been diligent about writing a lot of grants in a few years’ time. Like many of her fellow professionals, she respects the craft and takes pride in her work.
Why are some grant writers not successful?
Success depends on many factors outside the control of grant writers – the types of grants written, the pool of applicants you’re competing against, the strategic alignment of the request to the funding partner’s priorities, an organization that is “chasing money”, the level of engagement of the board, the fiscal health of the organization, etc.
See a complete post on this topic: Why is it so hard to win grants?