E-030 More Grant Writing Tips with Diane H. Leonard and Lucy Morgan

### Quick Episode Summary Grant Talks Podcast [#030]

*Intro ***.42***

* Fire Away Questions with Diane H. Leonard, GPC and Lucy Morgan CPA***1:33***

* Advice for New Grant Writers in Unprecedented Times ***5:53***

* The Benefits of Agile and Lean for Nonprofit Grant Writing***7:41***

* Overcoming Federal Grant Seeking Horror Stories ***9:25***

* The Paradox of Success-Ensuring Grant Readiness for Federal Grants***13:20***

* Tips for Getting Started with Federal Grant Writing***17:23***

* Resources for Grant Writers-Expectation Setting***20:47***

* Common Misconceptions about Writing Federal Grants***22:26***

* Lessons Learned-How to Avoid Overwhelm with Grant Seeking ***25:40***

* Real-Life Stories about Grant Writing Success***29:35***

* The Last Word with Diane H. Leonard and Lucy M. Morgan ***33.55***

*Outro Audio GrantTalks Podcast with Lucy M. Morgan CPA ***37:39***

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 Introducing Diane H. Leonard, GPC from DH Leonard Consulting & Grant Writing Services

Intro: 00:04

Welcome to the Grant Talks podcast with Lucy Morgan. Lucy is the CEO and director of MyFedTrainer.com, a leading provider of grant management training and templates for federal grant recipients. This show is for grant professionals looking to gain confidence managing their grants. In an age of increasing complexity, you'll hear from leading professionals on the best practices surrounding grants, what's involved in successfully managing the grants lifecycle and how to make sure your grants are managed correctly. Now here's your host Lucy Morgan.

Lucy Morgan: 00:41

Welcome, everyone, to this continuing conversation with Diane Leonard, GPC and GPA-approved trainer. Diane founded DH Leonard Consulting & Grant Writing Services in 2006. Diane and her team have secured more than $80 million in competitive grant funds to date. While Diane's background and entrance into the field of nonprofits and philanthropy was as a program officer for the Michigan Women's Foundation, a great deal of her work and success for her team's clients has been with government grant funding. Diane's passion and love for grants drive her to make grants less stressful for her team's clients and for those that she teaches with best practices for grant seeking. And I am Lucy Morgan, the host for this session of the "Grant Talks" podcast sponsored by MyFedTrainer.

Welcome back, Diane.

Diane Leonard: 01:32

Glad to be back!

Fire Away Questions with Diane H. Leonard, GPC, and Lucy Morgan CPA

Lucy Morgan: 01:33

And I did not want to let you get away without expanding on this topic of how to increase your odds of receiving particularly federal grants. We've both seen that transformative change that can happen with federal funding, from helping the most vulnerable populations to research efforts that build a better future. Nearly $1 trillion are obligated for federal grants in this year. And that's a lot of solutions in our communities.

So, let's take a moment, and we're going to get deeper into some of the best practices around crafting successful grant applications and some of the roles and responsibilities of grant writers.

Well, first of all, I want to let people get to know you just a little bit better with a couple of our "fire away" questions. I know that you are a big fan of strong coffee. So, do you have a favorite type of coffee for those long days of grant writing, and why is that one your favorite?

Diane Leonard: 02:31

Well, I have my go-to every day, chocolate mocha flavor. That's what you'll usually find in the office coffee pot because I like to drink black coffee. Nothing in it; I just love the taste of a good coffee.

But for those big days, maybe a big drafting day for a section in the federal proposal or a day we're going to review the mock review results, the beans that I grind are called Hairbender. They're delightful. They have a slight mocha flavor, a little bit of citrus to it as well, which you might not expect. But literally, my spouse bought them for me. And it's called Hairbender. And he kind of laughed because he doesn't drink coffee. He drinks Mountain Dew like other really cool people that I know. And yeah, I was like, "Okay, what's the message here?" But it's delightful. And oh boy, does it really get me going on those big days.

Lucy Morgan: 03:24

Hairbender coffee. I have to speak to your spouse a little bit about the Mountain Dew habit because that is certainly my long day go-to beverage as well. I love that.

So, this has been... I think we keep hearing this word unprecedented. But it's been an unprecedented last year. And, who knows what the future will bring? What has been one of the most surprising things to you about the impacts of grants in this unprecedented time?

Diane Leonard: 03:55

Oh, I love your loaded questions. I'm like, "Well, okay, let's see. So, this isn't the whole podcast conversation; it's just one snippet." So, I think this last year has shown really how important relationships are in all levels of grants, whether you're talking to a foundation board member or whether you're having conversations with your federal program manager or the contact. Because this year, if I think about, you're right, unprecedented in terms of dollars being spent, future obligated federal dollars.

But if I look back at this year, I think one of the great stories is about how grant makers have actually shown flexibility, have realized maybe this was supposed to be an in-person mental health clinic. But the building's been closed during a session of lockdown. And so how do we quickly approve a change in work plan in different expenses because we moved to fully virtual.

Or how, gosh, maybe it was supposed to be an outreach program for students about STEM programming, and then we're going to come on-site to touch and build robots. Oh, but we're not doing that all the time. Maybe now socially distanced. But how's that going to work?

So, grantmakers have shown a great deal of grace to their grantees that are willing to communicate. Like, how are we reacting to change? Some of those agile values you and I love to talk about. Like, how are we responding to change versus following a plan? Our community's required in the last year that we respond to change. And so, if we communicated that with our grantmakers early, the grantmakers were showing a great deal of grace and flexibility, which I think has always been there.

But not as many grantees were willing to have those conversations when something was different. They were trying to do what they said they would, how they said they would when they said they would, regardless of responding to change. And so, I think this is a good trend, something that surprises me, but I'm really pleased to see.

Advice for New Grant Writers in Unprecedented Times

Lucy Morgan: 05:53

And I love that word flexibility. One of the practices that I adopted this year, I started a gratitude journal; some of you were all... I'm a New Year's resolution person. So, I thought, "Okay, this is something I wanted to do for a long time." And one of the parts of it is Words for the Week. And so, I really... That one really resonated with me, that whole concept of flexibility and the importance of flexibility. That's going to be my word for the week in my gratitude journal.

And in our last section, we were talking about some of the challenges that are faced by grant writers and really all grant professionals, but looking to submit successful grant applications, especially in that world of federal grants that can be so complex.

And we talked about some of the ways that the grant profession is changing. And I think that word flexibility comes back to mind as well. I'm sure there are people out there today who know that they need to make some changes. They may have had a way they've always done things, and they're seeing, you know, those plans just, kind of, get blown up in the last year, and now everything's different. And we have to go back, and we have to think of new ways to do things. And they may just be really struggling of; how do we start? How do we start with what we know is going to be different than what our expectations were?

So, do you have some advice you might give someone who maybe they're feeling overwhelmed by writing their very first application, or maybe they're just now starting to learn the language of federal grants? What advice would you give someone who's really new to this profession as well?

Diane Leonard: 07:39

So, I think that the first thing I would say is, while it's tempting to dive right in, to feel like, "Okay, I could start writing this right now," pause, make sure that you understand the process that within. Make sure that you understand the guidelines, the framework. Maybe I know in the earlier session of the podcast, we talked about some of the go-to books I recommend related to federal grants.

Before you start working...I get it, the deadline, the clock is ticking, you're feeling the pressure, but before you really dig in, make sure that you have some resources on hand, do some initial reading or have a mentor who's written successful federal grants lined up to support you. You should not go through this alone. It's a lot, and it can be stressful.

So, whether it's book resources, online resources, local mentors, or network, put some resources and support in place to help answer questions that aren't just about the guidelines. Those questions, guideline questions, those go to the grantmaker. You're going to have some process questions. So, make sure that you're armed with some ready-to-go resources that can help you.

In fact, maybe one that I'll just pitch here right now, it's actually one of your MyFedTrainer.com's resources, but the GrantsU group on Facebook. That's a great place. Ask questions if you're new. The GPA grant zone forum for members of the Grant Professionals Association, another great place to ask questions. So, know your style, books, people, online forums, but get those resources lined up so that you can ask the process questions, the big picture things that might be scary, ask those in a trusted space.

Overcoming Federal Grant Seeking Horror Stories

Lucy Morgan: 09:25

And I think this is one of the things that's really changed over the decade or plus that I've been in the grant's profession is the advent of community. You know, when I got started, boy, two things, one, I didn't feel like there was a trusted space or it was harder to find. And the second was really a personal thing where I'm a CPA, so I have to be smart. And if I have a question, that means I'm not smart. And that's the total wrong thinking when it comes to being successful at this.

Because really, at the core of our mission is to help people, not just to think that you're keeping up looking smart. And so, when you ask questions, and you learn from others, that's really the smart play because that's how you're going to be successful.

Well, what would you say to people who might be listening today and they've heard those horror stories about how difficult federal grants are to get? I'll tell them all about how difficult they are to manage, but they might not be really sure what that means to them.

Diane Leonard: 10:28

Yeah. And because the competitive percentage, like, what percent gets funded, it vacillates across the different federal agencies. It changes within agencies, depending on the specific program. You know, I think in the earlier session we had, talking about federal grants, I talked about the NIH percentage being about 13%, on average get funded. But then there are some programs, and I use the Bureau of Justice example, where, depending on the funding stream that was approved, it looked very different from one year to the next to the third year as it went up and down for how many of the programs are being funded.

And so, when you think about how difficult federal grants are to get, you need to understand not just the big, stressful, scary picture of federal grants are competitive, but what are you specifically looking at? And ultimately, how are the proposals that you're going to be competing against? How are you all scored?

Because of the way that you overcome that competitive fear, the percent is to score at the top. I love government grants in particular over foundations sometimes because of the clarity that a scoring rubric can give. So as a first-time applicant, as an organization, you absolutely might outscore everyone else if you answer the questions in the way that result in the top score. It is absolutely feasible.

There are some programs that actually give extra priority points, maybe if you're doing new work or you are a new organization. So, yes, federal grants can be scary. They are incredibly competitive. But well, I love strategy board games. I don't know how you feel about them, Lucy, but our family adores them. And I will often roll my eyes as we open a new board game because of the rules that come up in some of these; I'm like, "Who wrote these instruction manuals? They're pages long." Thankfully, my oldest daughter and my spouse, they are great at reading them, and then digesting them, and sharing them with me because I just want to drink a cup of coffee and play the game.

Those rules in those games remind me often of some of the federal guidelines that we open and the pages and pages and pages of rules. But once you understand them, in particular how you're going to score and win the game... I'll be honest, I won the Dominion card game the other day. I was thrilled. I never win at that one. Yes, it took strategy and understanding the score to come out on top. Same idea-It's going to play out with our federal grants too. So yes, there's a lot. Don't be scared. Read, digest, live by the scoring rubric and the guidelines.

The Paradox of Success-Ensuring Grant Readiness for Federal Grants

Lucy Morgan: 13:20

And I want to throw something in on top of this too, along with your winning at the game, is that I have run into a number of folks in my Grant Management Boot Camp who...they have almost the opposite problem. They heard how hard it was; they applied, they threw everything at the wall, "Let's see what sticks." And instead of just getting one, they get multiples. They're wildly successful beyond their wildest dreams. And that is a whole other set of, I'm going to call them problems or issues that you can have when you are wildly successful.

Now one of our goals with our new program, the Grant Writing Boot Camp, is that you're going to help grant writers, especially in the Federal space, be more successful. But that also can be a bit of a problem, if you thought you'd get... You applied for five thinking you'd get one, and all of a sudden, you get all five.

So, success can look different to different people. And it can feel very scary and out of control, both on the side where you're not getting any and when you're, you're getting more than you expected. Life is very bountiful sometimes.

So, what advice... we had talked a little bit earlier in the previous conversation about the importance of teams, and, you know, we were continuing that. If someone's writing a grant by themselves or they're maybe part of a really small organization, and they just don't feel like they have the right stuff to take on federal grants, what advice would you give them or what would you say to them as maybe a next step?

Diane Leonard: 14:54

Yeah. And I'm going to actually use an organization that I serve on the board for as my example here. And they are a small but mighty staff of five FTEs. That's pretty small. That means everyone's pretty much wearing all the hats. And they've been successful with foundation grants. They've been successful with state grants.

But as they look at...and as other board members have challenged them about federal grants, we've had to have some really tough conversations about, like, what does that mean? If you were to get a multi-million-dollar award that's on a reimbursement basis, what does that mean for cash flow for this organization? What does it mean if you were to propose a grant where all of a sudden, you're literally doubling or tripling your staff size in order to implement this huge grant?

So that was kind of the grant readiness conversation. And I think that honest conversation is something that smaller groups or groups new to federal grants should be having. And so, one of the things that I...and using this particular organization is, kind of...and what I've got in my mind, having those honest conversations is, I think, paramount.

But recognizing that you can ask for some external support to help you analyze opportunities and make these choices, then you don't have to be on your own with them. But also, maybe it's not the worst thing to be a subcontractor. Maybe it's not always about being a lead grant. You talked, Lucy, about the definition of success and what that might look like for others.

And so, in this particular organization situation, what they've done is because they already had amazing collaborative partnerships, and some of those partners are much larger, cover a much larger territory, their region is much larger than this one small Tri-County area that this group serves. They have been able to serve as a subcontractor in state and federal grants. And then, therefore, they're doing great work to advance their mission. Someone else is, like, really responsible for the grant management work. They're supporting it.

But some of those burdens that would have maybe been difficult for the smaller staff or the newer staff to federal grants, they're learning. They're growing by having the support of the lead agency. So, to me, I think just also being open to the idea of maybe we don't have to be the lead. Maybe that would actually make us more competitive and be the right solution overall.

Tips for Getting Started with Federal Grant Writing

Lucy Morgan: 17:23

And I'm going to go back to that word that started this conversation, and that's flexibility. Yeah, we have to be open to what are the possibilities to make this work? In life and in grants, it's often more like bumper cars than it is, you know, going down the Audubon where you're bumping in and, kind of, backing up and going, "Hey, no, we needed to try this." But we might bump a couple of times before we make our way through that, that path as well.

Well, I wanted to get into kind of the nuts and bolts here for a little bit. And I was wondering if you could walk us through the process for getting started with federal grants so our audience maybe feels a little bit more comfortable, a little less stressed out about what could happen once you decide to up your game, especially in the federal space. So, what happens when someone says, I know we need to get more resources for our community? So, tell me about federal grant writing and what that looks like.

Diane Leonard: 18:23

That's a big, common question. And so, one of the things that we first inquire about is really digging in on grant readiness and try to understand, you know, do you have the basic things in place? Like are you a 501C3 or a different eligible type of organization? Have you been operating? So, you've got some financials, some stability, some organizational capacity that you could prove to the federal agency you're going to apply to. So pretty much, we dig in on those right away because we don't want someone going too far down the path of federal grants if they've got some readiness homework that they need to address.

But if they have some of those basic readiness building blocks in place, then we talk about, "Well, do you as a team want to learn to write the grants yourselves? Are you looking for having someone to coach you on writing? Like, what is your idea in terms of your capacity as an organization?" Sometimes, you know, it might be someone who's been really wildly successful with foundation and is just a little nervous about taking that next step.

And then, as we understand the organization's goal, and maybe the specific grant writer or grant professionals idea, we talk to them about the way they like to learn. We all learn in different ways. And so, those books we mentioned in the earlier session might be a great thing, or maybe they want to go to an in-person conference. So, they go to like a Grant Professionals Association half-day regional training, if we know there's one coming up.

Or maybe they want to be coached one on one, so like someone they can share drafts with as questions. Or, you know, maybe they love, like, personally being in a rural community, sometimes travel is hard and expensive. So, if I can do a web-based training, oh, that is amazing because now I've saved travel cost, I don't have to worry about who's playing mommy taxi for swim practice, like stuff gets better, right? So, in that case, then, my go-to answer is that they might want to join us for our Grant Writing Boot Camp.

If they're really trying to dig in and learn and understand so, they can practice and do some of this work themselves. I think that that's a great solution for a lot of folks that want to feel more comfortable writing federal grants. So, I mean, the answer will always be it depends. It depends on the organization, their capacity goals, the way they like to learn. But I think there's a lot of great resources available.

Resources for Grant Writers-Setting Expectations

Lucy Morgan: 20:47

And I think one of the things that have helped MyFedTrainer to align with the philosophy of DH Leonard is that we both believe in supporting people through their learning experience. So, one of the hallmarks of MyFedTrainer training is we've always supported people for a full year after their training. Because let's face it, until you're sitting down and doing that work, you might not even know what to ask.

So, to just know that there's someone you can reach out to and say, you know, how does this training, what you would said, relate to what I'm trying to do? Or, how do I understand this? I'm not quite sure the terminology? Things like that. To just know that people have that support, we just don't fill your brain full and kick you out the door and say, "Good luck." You know, we're really there to... We're invested in your success throughout the whole process.

And speaking of the process, how long does it typically take to get through? And I'm sure there's a wide variety, but on average, what does the federal grant application cycle or process look like?

Diane Leonard: 21:49

So, this one is a pretty short answer. It's good for you to know it could vary, but that on average, your team should be prepared to spend about 100 people hours on any federal application. They might argue that "What if I spent a little more time preplanning? Would I be more competitive?" The answer is probably yes. So maybe it'll be more than the 100. There are also some smaller federal applications that might bring that burden for your team down. But on average, you should be thinking about 100 people hours.

That's significant as a resource, as a staff resource for the organization. So, I mean, it could sound scary, but you want to go in with eyes wide open. We want to have a realistic picture. This isn't something that you're going to crank out in a weekend, not if you want it to be competitive. And plus, who wants to work on a weekend? That's not a sustainable pace anyway. But be realistic about that time; it is a significant amount of time.

Common Misconceptions about Writing Federal Grants

Lucy Morgan: 22:46

And it really sounds like there's no time to waste. If you're looking to go down this path, it's not something to just think about for a while and then jump in with both feet. It's something to start taking sustainable steps day after day to get yourself positioned for the highest chance of success. What do you think is one of the main misconceptions that grant writers have about writing a successful federal grant?

Diane Leonard: 23:10

I know my own misconceptions...

Lucy Morgan: 23:13

And I'm asking you to speak for all grant writers.

Diane Leonard: 23:16

No, let me speak for...on behalf of all... But I mean, having been a GPA-approved trainer now for a number of years, I feel like I can make some broad generalizations. So, I think those that are new or maybe haven't tackled federal, maybe they've been staying in foundation or state; I think some of the misconceptions are for how technical the writing might be.

There's a wide range of what the proposals sound and look like. I mean, on the technical spectrum, we see NSF and NIH. On one spectrum, we might see a HUD housing counseling or a Headstart on a slightly different... I mean, they're still technical. They're incredibly well written. But in terms of the technical type of subject matter expertise portrayed, there are varying levels.

And so that can be comforting for some to understand that you might... It might be helpful to understand, oh, I'm helping to write a really technical one, so I'm supporting, but I'm actually going to have, like, the principal investigator, so the doctor or the professor will actually help me write because their subject matter expertise has to come across in the writing.

So that's actually, I think... That's empowering and can help with that pressure, like, "I can't write this." Because you might be a grant writer professional via a different winding path, that might not mean that...subject matter expertise for that grant, and that's okay. So, I think that's probably the biggest misconception that as folks get into it, they start to understand a little bit better, but early on is a big question.

Lucy Morgan: 24:40

And I think... I was thinking about this is I was putting together the questions for you. What I hear really from the grant management side, too is, I think it's a misconception that because the need or the cause is so important and valid, that the funding will follow. And I think you can have the most passionate people with the most worthy cause, but if they don't understand how to play the game, the funding doesn't always follow. And I think that sometimes is a misconception where passion and purpose get mistaken for, you really do have to use a certain font size, and it can't be more than this much from this margin, and you really only have these many characters to explain yourself, things like that, too. I think it's really challenging for anyone, especially in the federal space, to know where to start, even when you believe that you have the right purpose and results.

Lessons Learned-How to Avoid Overwhelm with Grant Seeking

Lucy Morgan: 25:40

So, let's reach out to folks who might be listening, and maybe they started on other types of grants, so they're familiar with a lot of these concepts that we're talking about, but they want to make a more significant difference and tap into that, really, there's that word, again, an unprecedented amount of federal funding. What would you suggest is their first step when they know they're ready to make a bigger difference and jump into that world of federal funding?

Diane Leonard: 26:11

As we think about the unprecedented amount of funding, one of the phrases that our team has been using and I haven't come up with a different way to talk about it is that there has been, it feels like a firehose volume of information. And so, if you continue to always watch federal government funding conversations, and opportunities, and postings, with we'll say the valve, like wide open, it's completely overwhelming.

And so, if you feel comfortable that, as an organization, you're ready to tackle federal grants, you're excited about it, my first step that I want you to take is to turn the volume down, turn the valve a little, like, turn it slightly off. Figure out what your focus is, figure out which agency or which specific programs you're interested in; maybe it is that you were watching something in one of the relief bills. Okay. Now, what am I watching about that? I want to narrow my grants.gov daily emails to just that department. I want to set Google Alerts so that I get information only about that funding.

I don't need to see whether or not we're saving sea turtles today. I mean, my family loves sea turtles. That's what my daughters want me to write federal grants about. Nope, that's not what we care about today. Let's put the filter on. Let's really dial back that volume of information so that what we're getting, what we're watching is what we really care about, that in itself will take some of the pressure and the stress off and it will also help drive our focus and our actions.

If we're watching for information, if we're reading any of the news articles, let's say about something like I don't know, like the higher ed relief funding, if that's our focus and that's all we're reading, great. Now, if a blog post pops up from a vendor thinking about it or something pops up on the U.S. Department of Ed website, that Google Alert's going to make sure we don't miss anything.

Having that laser focus on one or two things we might want to tackle this year will ensure that we have the capacity to do so. And quite frankly, it also helps us to sleep at night because we don't have what I call FOMO. I mean, I didn't make up FOMO, but FOMO in terms of grants, the fear of missing out on information about the opportunities you're interested in, that fear is real. I think about it at about 2:15 in the morning sometimes. Those Google Alerts, turning your filters on so that you get less information, not the fire hose, that will... Ultimately, it'll actually help you be more competitive because you're not scattershot across too many opportunities.

Lucy Morgan: 28:49

And I think that's true also in the community relationships that you develop with other grant writers. I think sometimes people assume that grant writers, you know, write everything from soup to nuts. And in fact, if you're writing SBIR grants, or you're writing HUD grants, or you're writing, you know, opioid response, people really do, I think, specialize. And if those are the types of grants you're looking to help your community with, find those people and connect with them, whether it's through LinkedIn or through the GPA or whatever it is, but really, yeah, turn down that dial so that you're only watering the plants you're trying to grow, I think is great advice. That's great advice.

Real-Life Stories about Grant Writing Success

Lucy Morgan: 29:35

And do you have some results that you'd like to share about some clients that you've worked with, with these principles that have seen success?

Diane Leonard: 29:43

Yeah, I'll speak broadly. We don't share direct information about our clients or their names or their stories; that's their story to own. But I think... Back actually to the advice I just gave about really narrowing down the focus and not going after everything would be... There's a large LGBT community center that comes to mind that we've worked with for a number of years that has really experienced significant growth in its grant seeking strategy. They've always been doing amazing things. They've always had strong success at the foundation, state, and federal levels.

But they found that grants were stressing them out. Because they were sort of scattershot and they weren't forecasting, they weren't watching for what might come; they were only reacting to what was opening, which therefore meant they were under extreme deadline pressure.

And so, by talking about their annual priorities for resource needs and looking at where they were headed, using that as... I'll call it, like, their filter, their colander, their funnel, for the opportunities that they were going to watch for, that gave them some more control over their strategy. And as a result, plus, of course, we had to talk about grant teams, that was a new concept to them.

So those two things combined, their success percentage actually went up for foundation, state, and federal. But we're talking federal here; their success percent is phenomenal for federal grants as a result. And people don't make what I call the grant face and are scrunching up their forehead when we talk about federal grants now because it's sustainable. It is not stressful; it's a team approach.

And quite frankly, I won't lie, when we launch grant teams and client organizations when sometimes it's a new concept, and people aren't really sure what this is about, I am not above doing things like sending Girl Scout cookies for a team meeting. Or if I'm in-person, showing up with a variety of caffeinated beverages or morning bagels.

Sometimes it takes a little bit of a push to get everybody excited about the grant team. This particular group would not deny that the Girl Scout cookies really helped motivate them in that moment, lots of icebreaker moments. What's your favorite? Is it Samoas? Is it Thin Mints? We found a colleague who was international who said, "What are Girl Scout cookies? It was her first-time having Girl Scout cookies. The team had bonded forever over exactly that.

So, a fun end to the story about some of the success, but it goes back to those best practices I've talked about, grant teams, and also having a really focused approach. What are you watching? What do you want to accomplish? Don't try to do it all. Don't try to apply for them all.

Lucy Morgan: 32:32

And I would just add to that, also building those relationships is so important. And whether it's with food, or Girl Scout cookies, or bringing the doughnuts down. Again, the grant manager in me is saying not necessarily charged to the grant. But any time you can bring food, I think it just opens doors. That's a universal human experience.

Diane Leonard: 32:53

I do feel I should interject and say, "I pay for the food and show up." They have never paid for the Girl Scout cookies with a federal grant. Just for those that are listening, I feel that's an important Interjection.

Lucy Morgan: 33:05

I was just trying to cut off those questions about, well, can we get Girl Scout cookies with our federal grant, or would that be a donation that's unallowable?

Diane Leonard: 33:13

Well, the Girl Scout troops might be excited if they got all sorts of orders as a result, but no, not a good idea.

Lucy Morgan: 33:19

Yeah, no, not a good idea. Thank you very much for that tip. And glad we're on the same page about purchasing Girl Scout cookies with federal grants. I just want to share with our audience again; we're going to put a link... We've talked about a lot of different success tips to our new collaboration, Grant Writing Boot Camp, with that federal focus for folks that want to do more and make a big difference in their communities. We're going to have a link to that on our article as well, so check that out.

If you have some questions, I think you'll find that both Diane and I are very open. When things open up again, we'll probably see you at some national conferences and things like that again as well.

The Last Word with Diane H. Leonard and Lucy M. Morgan

Lucy Morgan: 33:55

I want to make sure that you get the final word. So, is there something that I should have asked, but I did not?

Diane Leonard: 34:03

I think that you did a beautiful job crafting the questions so that we can get to a lot of what are the most common questions that I'm asked, that our team is asked. And so, I think the final word that I want to have is to not let grant stress you out.

You might not be quite like my team and I where we say, "I heart grants." Like you might not want that t-shirt quite yet. And so, our goal isn't to force you to love grants but to feel less stressed about them, to recognize what a difference they can make in your community for those who serve, for how you deliver your mission.

And that there are people, organizations, like Lucy, myself, here to help make grants less stressful for you. So be sure to ask for help.

Lucy Morgan: 34:49

And thank you for that insight. If someone wants to find out more about you and DH Leonard Consulting & Grant Writing Services, how should they get in touch with you?

Diane Leonard: 34:58

The magic website. We'll always help give you the free downloads, information about upcoming funding opportunities or trainings, blogs written by myself and our team. That's dhleonardconsulting.com. And Leonard is L-E-O-N-A-R-D. But that is the source for all, including how you can then branch out and get to our social media.

Lucy Morgan: 35:21

Great. And we'll put that link on the "Grant Talks" podcast as well. So, thank you for participating, Diane. This has been a wonderful series of conversations with you. I'm looking forward to the future and the collaboration with Grant Writing Boot Camp. I'm very excited to share with our audience as well.

Listeners, you can find all the episodes of the "Grant Talks" podcast out on granttalks.com. And thank you very much for tuning in, and we will catch you on a future episode.


To learn more about how MyFedTrainer.com makes grant management more manageable, visit MyFedTrainer.com. That's MyFedTrainere.com. You'll find all the Grant Talks episodes at GrantTalks.com. That's GrantTalks.com.

More About Diane Leonard:

Diane H. Leonard, GPC, STSI, is a Grant Professional Certified (GPC) and Approved Trainer of the Grant Professionals Association. Diane is also a Scrum Trainer, Scrum Master, and Scrum Product Owner by Scrum inc.

Diane began her career as a Program Officer, a full-time staff member of a state-wide grantmaking organization, and she continues to serve as a reviewer for a variety of grantmaking organizations. Since 2006, when she formed DH Leonard Consulting, Diane and her team have secured more than $80 million dollars in competitive grant awards for the clients of DH Leonard Consulting & Grant Writing Services. She is an active member of the Grant Professionals Association.

When not working with her team on grant applications for clients, Diane can be found in the 1000 Islands, out for a run, or drinking a strong cup of coffee.

More About Lucy Morgan:

Lucy M. Morgan is a CPA, MBA, GPA approved trainer, speaker, and author of 3 books including “Decoding Grant Management-The Ultimate Success Guide to the Federal Grant Regulations in 2 CFR Part 200.” As a leading authority on federal grant management for nonprofits, institutions of higher education and state, local and tribal governments she has written over 250 articles on grant management topics featured in LinkedIn, various publications and on the MyFedTrainer.com blog.

She is a sought-after presenter at national conferences sponsored by organizations such as the Grant Professional Association (GPA), National Grant Management Association (NGMA) and American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

Lucy is also a highly regarded trainer whose techniques and teaching style come from real-world experience. Having faced many of the same challenges her audiences have endured, Lucy understands that what looks good on paper may not always work in the real world. Because she has been there, she provides people of all professional backgrounds with practical tools to advance their careers and make a bigger difference in the world. She can be reached at [email protected].

>>Hear more about Lucy's story in Episode #004

More Resources for Grant Professionals

Thanks for checking out the Grant Talks podcast!

In this episode of Grant Talks, we talked about a subject that you may want to know more about:

  • Grant Writer and Manager Roles and Responsibilities

So...as promised, I want to share some resources that may help you on YOUR grant journey.

My journey to share this resource got off to a rocky start…

I had a little typo in a very public place-LinkedIn! 

And people let me know…

(But in a nice way.  :D) 

And then something even better happened. 

Folks loved this simple infographic! 

(One person wanted a giant poster of it to put over her desk.)

And both grant writers and grant managers wanted a copy! 

So if you ever feel at a loss to describe to your boss and others what grant writing AND grant management is all about… 

This is the infographic for you to download and share. 

I hope this little Infographic will keep you on the journey to more federal grants and better grant writing and management. 


This Infographic walks you through nine key areas that are critical to good grant writing and grant management.  

Here's what's included:

  • What critical pre-award roles grant writers contribute in the grant lifecycle
  • Best practices for laying out the grant writing function at your organization and an encore copy of the grant manager infographic!

These resources are designed for grant writers and managers, just like you, and I hope that you will find them valuable on your grant journey.

Click here to download and share

P.S. If you want to hear more about the NEW Grant Writing Boot Camp program with Diane H. Leonard, GPC at MyFedTrainer.com, click below to get all the details.   https://myfedtrainer.com/live-webcast-grant-writing/


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