Wrapping up January Monthly Topic: Grants

This month we have talked about a few different strategies for grant writing, and shared some ideas on places to go for grants. All of this will be collected on our website, under Monthly Topics. We will also have material available in our Grants and Fundraising section.

And what are a few things we can take away from this month of grant learning?

  • Grants are neat! It’s great to have resources, including money, to do some extra things for your community!
  • They just aren’t that hard. Yes, there can be  lot of detail involved in writing up grants; but most of the information is readily available to you. Thinking up the project is the hard part – and that’s also the most fun!
  • Seeing something take shape, moving from a spark of an idea into the reality of a program, or new materials, or an exciting service, or whatever else you have created, is just a great feeling! Being creative in this way is a wonderful thing!
  • You are never alone with grants! CMLE Headquarters is here to help you with your application, with the programming/materials/making connections, and with the follow up paperwork.

Keep your eyes open for potential grant or fundraising materials – you never know when something will pop up!

I’ll tell you my very best grant story!

I was working in a small, quite poor, public library. We had no money for buying books, and were trying to coast along through the second half of the year without anything new. A woman donated a subscription to Smithsonian magazine – a favorite of mine! I wrote her a thank you note, and didn’t think about it anymore.

Until I got a phone call.

I was having a disaster, because I was pretty much always having a disaster. But I answered the phone, and it was the nice woman who had donated the magazine. She said she had donated them to all the libraries in our area, and my library was the only one that responded.

“So, my husband and I managed a small family foundation. Do you need money for anything?”

I probably audibly gasped, and when I had recovered the power of speech I mentioned that yes, we could use a little money. After a short discussion, I told her about a grant I was receiving that was going to bring in a bunch of DVDs and CDs – but we had nowhere to put them. She gave us $500 to buy a nice case to house them, and when it arrived I nearly cried I was so happy!

A year later, I received another check in the mail for $500.

It was not a huge amount of money. It was not a grant with the biggest impact on our service. But, it arrived at a time I really needed something – and the kindness of this woman to reach out to my library (in a community where she did not live, and a library she had likely never visited) really had an impact on me.

Grants can do great things for your community and for your library. And it can do great things for you too!

Contact us here at CMLE Headquarters to talk about your grants. Let’s get you going toward your grant today!