Grant Ethics BINGO w/ Amanda Day, GPC & Kimberly Hays de Muga, GPC

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November 4, 2021

Last Updated:

September 8, 2021

​In this 1-hour webinar (with 15 minutes Q&A), Amanda Day, GPC & Kimberly Hays de Muga, GPC will cover a whole host of ethical scenarios and how to handle them.

Takeaways by the end of this Instrumentl Partner Webinar:

  • ​Resources to use when dealing with ethical situations in the grant profession
  • A walk through of potential scenarios and how to go about handling any ethical situations that arise when researching, writing, and administering grant funds
  • Understand how Instrumentl saves you time and money in identifying the right opportunities for your programs

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Create your Instrumentl account using the link above. Save $50 off your first month should you decide to upgrade when your trial expires with the code HAYDAY50.

Amanda Day, GPC, is a certified grant professional with 20 years of experience, specializing in federal and state grant funding for local governments and nonprofits. A trainer, speaker, and podcast cohost with experience, stories, and information to share with nonprofits, local governments, and other organizations looking to improve their grant proposal writing and management skills.

Kimberly Hays de Muga, GPC, is an expert grant professional, fundraiser and trainer. Her 20 years of fundraising experience includes raising more than $30 million from individuals, foundations and corporations for human service non-profits. She is a cohost of Fundraising HayDay podcast.

Instrumentl Partner Webinars are collaborations between Instrumentl and its community partners to provide free educational workshops for grant professionals. Our goal is to tackle a problem grant professionals often have to solve, while also sharing different ways Instrumentl’s platform can help grant writers win more grants. Click here to save a seat in our next workshop.

Click the video link below to start watching the replay of this free grant workshop, or check out the transcriptions below the video.

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Grant Ethics BINGO - Grant Training Transcription

Will: Hello, everyone and welcome to grant ethics bingo with Amanda Day and Kimberly Hays de Muga. This workshop is being recorded and slides will be shared afterwards. So keep your eyes peeled for a follow-up email later today in case you want to review anything that we go over. In case it's your first time here, this free grant workshop is an Instrumentl partner workshop. These are collaborations between Instrumentl and community partners to provide free educational opportunities for grant professionals. Our goal is to tackle a problem that you guys are often facing and that you have to solve for. We're also sharing different ways that Instrumentl's platform can help grant writers win more grants.

Instrumentl is the institutional fundraising platform. If you're looking to bring grant prospecting, tracking, and management to one place, we can help you do that. And you can set up your own personalized grant recommendations using the link on the screen there. Lastly, be sure to stick around for the entirety of today's presentation.

We've got some prizes for folks. Who've got freebies as well and more details to come at the end of their presentation. Now, with that housekeeping out of the way, I'm very excited to introduce Amanda and Kimberley. Amanda is a certified grant professional with 20 years of experience specializing in federal and state grant funding for local governments and nonprofits, a trainer, speaker, and podcast co-host with experience, stories, and information to share with nonprofits, local governments, and other organizations looking to improve their grant proposal, writing, and management skills. Kimberly is an expert grant professional, fundraiser, and trainer. Her 20 years of fundraising experience includes raising more than $30 million from individuals, foundations, and corporations for human service nonprofits.

She's also a co-host of the fundraising HayDay podcast, which Instrumentl's proud to sponsor in the year ahead as well. So we ask that if you have any questions along the way, feel free to throw in three hashtags in front of that question to help it stand out. And once I log that question, I will ping you in the zoom chat as well. And then we'll dedicate some time at the end for Q and A. Amanda and Kimberly feel free to take it away.

Kimberly: Thank you. Lovely introduction. And we're super excited about our partnership.

Amanda: Right on. We'd love to have you share the chat. We know where some of y'all are from, but if you want to share your name and organization and maybe your title or what you do, and maybe even an ethical challenge you have recently faced.

Kimberly: Or if you don't want to say that it's you, maybe your friend had an ethical challenge that your friend told you about, and you can share it using little quotation marks. We'll honor that.

This is us. This is me.

Amanda: Yes.

Kimberly: So this is us. We had a great introduction. Technically it is 20 plus years. Will was very kind. I've decided to stop counting years of experience at 20. But together we have 40-plus years of experience writing grants, seeking grants, managing grants, and raising funds.

We're both GPCs which means we have our grant professional certified credential and we're national trainers and consultants. And we're both board members of the grant professionals association.

And, you know, we just want to get very serious. It's a very serious topic. So what we're going to do is sing about this very serious topic and we're going to sing badly. And if you know the song, once we start, even though you're muted, we know you're going to be singing along. So here we go.

[Singing] Let's get ethical, ethical.

Amanda: I want to get ethical...

Kimberly: Let's get into ethical.

Amanda: Let me see your ethics code, your ethics code.

Kimberly: Let me see your ethics code. Yeah.

Yeah, 'cause we're going to be talking about ethics.

Amanda: And hopefully you're still with us.

Kimberly: And we've lost a hundred viewers.

Amanda: No, so real quick, before we start diving in, we wanted to share the rules for bingo. So like Will said, he had shared the link. If you haven't already gotten it, there are five separate bingo cards. It depends how hardcore you are. You can download one card, you could download all five and play all of them. The link is back in the chat again. So we've got some good prizes to give away thanks to Instrumentl.

We're going to give away four prizes. So the top people get bingo. So when you get it, what I need you to do is in the chat box, make sure you send it to everyone, type bingo. And when we see the first one come in, that'll be the first prize winner, the second, third, fourth, and so on. Okay. So the first prize is a one month subscription to Instrumentl.

Kimberly: Nice.

Amanda: That's very nice. Second, third, and fourth place, normally you can get a two-week trial of Instrumentl.

Kimberly: That's free.

Amanda: That's free. You can give it a whirl. You're going to get a three-week trial. So you have a little more time to delve in and check out all of the bells and whistles.

Kimberly: And I just finished my two-week trial with Instrumentl, and I think you'll want to check this out. So please play responsibly and ethically, but let us know in the chat. Oh, when you're a winner.

Amanda: There you go. So.

Kimberly: Do we need to tell them about the hidden messages in the bingo card?

Amanda: Yeah. So the bingo card is going to have phrases. It's going to have situations. It's also going to have pictures. And so, if you see a story or hear a story or see something that's similar to the picture, then we can make sure of that.

Kimberly: Then we let you know, because we're all winners. We want you to learn and we've just found that that's a fun way to learn.

Amanda: There you go. So Will, now would be a great time to do our first poll. If you don't mind.

Will: Sounds good. Let's get that launched.

Kimberly: And I saw someone in the chat type, yeah. So they were singing yeah, right along with us. Thanks for that, thanks.

Amanda: So we're just curious how many years you've been involved in the grant profession? Is it less than one, one to five, six to 10, 11-plus, 11, two-plus.

Kimberly: It's all good.

Amanda: It gives us an idea, probably the longer you've been in it, the more you've dealt with ethical situations, although it's quite possible, you could be three months in and had one right off the bat. And if that's the case, as we say down here, bless your heart.

Kimberly: Bless your heart.

Amanda: That's all so. Okay. Oh, here we go. We've got a nice array of folks.

Kimberly: It's a nice spread as they say of different answers.

Amanda: Very good.

Kimberly: Nice.

Amanda: Well, we're glad to have newbies and seasoned professionals with us here today.

Kimberly: It's like one to five and then 11. So I guess if you just stick it out for a decade, you're just a lifer, right?

Amanda: You're in it forever.

Kimberly: I think I have the first.

Amanda: I think you do. So let's start off with our situations here. One more thing I'll say about the rules of being [inaudible]. If you've got your card, we may have already mentioned some of the things on there. Some of them, like singing, are sometimes on the card.

Kimberly: And there are five different cards. So if you're hardcore and you're downloading all five, just get busy reading and checking. So now we're going to hit situation number one, ethical situation. Which has never happened to me, but to a friend. No, actually I've been asked this a lot.

Someone, usually, it's at a cocktail party, which I don't like anyway. And this makes it worse because they find out what you do. They're like, "Oh, I need money." And you're like, "Oh, how nice," as we say in the south, how nice. A client hires you to write a grant, but they want you to work on commission, meaning they'll say you write it and if we get it, then we'll pay you, right?

Amanda: Probably a percentage of the grant.

Kimberly: A percentage of the grant, you know, you do the work for us, then we get it, then we pay you off of that grant. So we put this ethical situation first because it is the most popular. The way grants work, highly misunderstood. It may not surprise you to know this is a big no, no.

 Grant funding is restricted funding. So it also pays for things that are to come. There are exceptions like disaster funding, but by and large, grant funding is restricted to certain things. Federal funding and state funding, even more so. And I have never seen, and correct me if I'm wrong or correct me in the chat. I personally, in my 20-plus, I've never seen a grant that says. Um, sure. Give us your amount and then you can pay 10% of that to the person that wrote it. It's just not an allowable cost. Also, You're doing all that work and you're not getting paid for it.

What's wrong with that? You never know what your competition is going to be in a grant. So you could write the most beautiful grant in the world and not get it and thus not get paid. It's wrong on a lot of different levels, but it's also against the code of ethics of the Grant Professionals Association, the National Grant Management Association, and the Association of Fundraising Professionals. So spec for pay is not the way to go when you're writing grants, no.

Amanda: Got a few questions about the bingo cards. We'll put the link to them in the chat so you can go ahead and grab them. And what you'll do is just like in bingo. Normally you wait for the number to be called out. There's going to be words or phrases or things on the bingo card.

So when you hear us say those or talk about them, that's when you can cross them off. And once you get, you know, four in a row, whether it's diagonal or up and down or side to side, you've got bingo. So type "bingo" nice and big in the chat box so we can see who was the first to get it.

Kimberly: Lovely explanation. Thank you, Amanda.

Amanda: So one other thing I will say about working on commission, too, is not only is it unethical by most organizations, they consider it unethical, part of why I do, too is you guys know, right? Sometimes you may write a grant that takes you two weeks to write, and it's a million dollar proposal.

You could also spend an entire month working on a $500 proposal. So getting paid in that percentage, you know, kind of that commission off of that, is it fair to you, typically, as the grant writer, because, you know, you may have put in a lot more work than 10% of whatever that grant proposal is. So that's part of that.

Yeah, someone says they're using a highlighter. Totally fine. However you want to cross it off. As long as you get your four in a row, that's how bingo works.

Kimberly: There's no judgment. You can put your troll up there and have your stamp. We don't care. It's all on you how you want to do it. Amanda's got the next one.

Amanda: There you go. So this one here is that your organization was, oh, Laura already has bingo!

Kimberly: What!

Amanda: Like I said, we may have already said some things before the situation got started. So, Laura, Will, do you need to know her last name so you can make sure that you get that awesome first place prize? Laura, if you'll add your...

Will: Yeah, Laura, if you can direct message me your email as well as your bingo card four in a row. And then from there, I can jot that down.

Amanda: Every Bingo game needs a Will.

Kimberly: I know. He's just on it. So three more prizes, plus just the glory of the competition. So keep up, keep going. We gotcha.

Amanda: Okay. So this one is your organization was awarded a restricted grant, meaning they're giving you money for very specific things, right? But your board asks you to either move the money around within that budget, or maybe pay for things not listed on the grant because you know how it goes, right? When you write that grant and you think you know what you want to do. And then time has changed and boards think that's not important anymore, and now we need to move our focus.

It's our money. We can do whatever we want with it. And how many times have you heard that?

Kimberly: And it's wrong. Every time. It is wrong.

Amanda: So that's very unethical. The thing to remember is that when you get funding from an organization, that money is given for a very specific purpose when it's a restricted brand.

And they're not kidding about how they want you to spend it. Doris got bingo. CJ got bingo. So two more folks. So we've got one prize left. Congrats again. Now message Will with your email so he can get that to you, Doris and CJ and Tricia Hall and four, four and done, but keep them coming. Tamara got bingo. Keep them coming.

So you need to make sure that when you get grant for specific money, that you spend it on that or if you have changes, because life happens, you can reach out to your funder and get permission to change things based on the need. And if they approve those changes, then fine, you can move money around and you can spend money on different things, but without your funders approval, this is a giant no, no. So very unethical to be doing that. I will say, too, here, sometimes when you've got this situation, 'cause it's always awkward when the boss wants you to do something and you know it's wrong and you kind of feel like you're caught in the middle. It can feel like you're being attacked by a giant crustacean. That may be on the bingo card.

Kimberly: And it makes you feel like. If someone takes a picture.

So tiny crustaceans in a parking lot aside 'cause it was frightening. So situation, number three, you're a consultant, multiple clients ask you to write the same grant proposal for them. What do you do?

Well, I actually know someone and it's not even, she is a friend, but she's right beside me, ladies and gentlemen, I'm not afraid in quotes. Amanda's going to answer that for you. She's got a great story.

Amanda: I had been a consultant for about a year when I had this scenario come up. And the first thing I did was tell the second client. So the first client asked me to work on a specific grant. And I said, yes, I will start working on it. Another client says, hey, we'd like you to write this grant for us, too. My response to them was I don't know if that's ethically okay. Let me do a little digging and make sure. So the first place I went because I belong to the Grant Professionals Association was to their code of ethics. Code of ethics is great, but it doesn't cover that very specific scenario. So then I'm like, jeez, does that mean it's okay?

Or does it not? I'm not sure. Well, what I did was I phoned a friend. I had several folks I know that have been consultants far longer than me. And I was like, surely they have had this situation. So I called them and I got the same answer from multiple people, which made me feel like, okay, this is probably the way to go.

And their response was if client number one is okay with you doing that, then great. And if client number two is okay with them being the second client you're working on this for. Otherwise, you probably want to just only write it for number one. So that's what I do from now on. If I have competing, whoever asked me to do first or whoever I commit to first, that's who I write it for. Anybody else, I get permission from everybody before I work on the same grant for multiple agencies.

Kimberly: And Ralph had a question about where you got the grant professional certification and Bonnie answered it. So you guys are helping each other in the chat. So we're going to go on to the very next.

Amanda: is their website. You can check that out.

Kimberly: Bonnie's got us. Bonnie's got us. This is again, mine, but I know someone who has experienced that. So I'm going to turn it over to you.

Amanda: So you may get a phone call. This has happened to me before. I had a vendor call me up and say, "Hey, guess what? Did you know that you could use this Homeland Security grant to buy our equipment that your public safety officials need?

And so what we're going to do here is we'll write the grant for you. Free of charge. And all we ask in return is that you buy our equipment, which you are going to buy anyway. Right? So it's kind of a win-win situation." It's not, yeah, that's not allowed.

Kimberly: It's not allowed because of the grant stipulations themselves.

Amanda: Yeah, and I'm talking, here, I'm specifically talking about federal grant rules and regulations. So in fact, according to 2 CFR Part 200, which is also known as the uniform guidance, they really require you to have open and fair competition with grant funding. Once you get it, you've got to go through a fair procurement process, which means that you can't decide before you even write the grant, "Hey, I'm going to buy equipment from this vendor." So that's a big no-no.

Kimberly: And that's called uniform guidance and what we can do later, we can drop it in the chat at the end. We have a direct link to that .gov site that has that for you. And it might be on something else that you might be looking at.

Amanda: Some more bingos. Yeah. I like Amanda's like, yeah, free money. Yeah. It never works that way. So yeah, so the situation here, I've had to tell vendors this before I said, I feel where you're going with this and I would love to have your help writing a grant. If you really want to write it, I'll let you, but then that precludes you from actually bidding on the process. And usually they decide, oh yeah. Then we don't want to write it.

Kimberly: You're not going to make any judgments. Maybe they didn't know.

Amanda: They probably didn't. Sometimes Kimberly and I often talk about educating up 'cause oftentimes we worked for bosses and boards that don't understand the grant process and you really have to explain it to them sometimes over and over again. And sometimes you have to educate your vendors because they just don't know what they don't know.

Kimberly: We've got more bingos. We've got Alana, Yanera, all sorts of bingos. You guys, I love how they're just soldiering on for the glory of the game.

So next up, situation five. You're new to a job or a friend you know is new to the job and you discover that 150% of the salary project director's time was spread out over multiple grants. Well, what could be wrong with that, right?

They're just hard workers. They just work day and night. Actually, that is unethical and unallowable usually for costs. If your organization, whether you're new or not, you may be the fall person that takes the fall for this, because you would be in charge of grant management. A salaried person, not hourly, not someone who's been approved for overtime because that can happen, of course, but a salary director position can't have 150% of their salary, right? It's just gotta be 100% of their salary. So that is a pretty common conundrum. But if there's maybe one project director, that's spread out over several paid grants. You may think, well, what's the harm, but it's two levels. First, you're sort of double dipping on yourself in a weird sort of way.

And that doesn't mean that that person is making 150% of what they're supposed to be paid. It just means that the organization is receiving 50% more for that person's work. And it's just within the organization and not to the person. So see there's thoughts on weird, wrong things about this. And finally, it can also not be an incredibly efficient way to do business because you're not capturing the true cost of running that program, if you're not accurately tracking the time and resources needed. So in these situations, I would say try to rectify as soon as you can, try to make that an educate up moment. And if you're unsure about a situation, I'd like to pass it around through my mental shower test.

Which is if I am looking or thinking or have been presented within a situation and it makes me feel kind of squidgy, which is a technical term. And I just feel like I just want to take a little shower and wash the squishiness off me 'cause it doesn't feel right, chances are, it's not right and it's not ethical. So a good guideline.

If you're in your gut, if it's too good to be true, or it just sounds, it sounds icky. It makes you feel squidgy, chances are it's not ethical.

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Yeah. Well, and I think these situations probably happen more often. Not because people are intentionally trying to double dip. It's because if you're working in an office that doesn't have one person that oversees all your grants, this is where this is likely to happen.

Because when you wrote that grant, you're like, oh, Susie, here's gonna work on this project. And she's probably spending half of her time doing it. So we're going to write half of her salary and then someone else is writing another grant going, oh, Susie is going to be involved. And she's probably spending 25% of her time.

And if everybody's doing that, suddenly, all of that adds up. So I think often when this happens, it's because...

Kimberly: Maybe it's an honest mistake, but nevertheless, it's a mistake. And if you get audited and called on it, it can affect your ability to get future grants and future funding.

Amanda: Yeah. Well, I think this is a good place to talk and point out, too, as well. When you find things like this, 'cause this is a question I get asked. So now what do I do? I found it. Who do I tell? I think the first step is always just within your organization, talk to, you know, you're going to involve finance. You're going to involve either an executive director or a city manager or whoever's at the top of your organization and realize what's going on.

I like to, if we can quickly come to a solution to figure this out. So that way, when we go to our funders and say, "Hey, we realize we've done this. Here's how we suggest rectifying that. You know, especially, you know, if the grants aren't done yet, you may be able to go, we're going to keep working on this project, but we're not charging any more to you.

Or if the grant's done, you may end up owing some money back. So it's so much better if you can say, we know we're going to owe you money back because we made this mistake. And we already have the money lined up to do this because we figured it out.

Kimberly: That's the best possible solution for that, if you find yourself in that situation.

Amanda: Yeah. Someone says, yeah, it's very tricky when grant cycles and fiscal years are not in the same 12-month period.

Kimberly: And they rarely are, Vicky. They rarely are.

Amanda: So it's, again, a lot to coordinate and this is why it's really nice if your organization has at least one person or one department who kind of oversees everything. If every department is kind of willy nilly doing their own thing, which happens all the time, that's when it can get dangerous. Because if you're not talking to one another, who's going to catch that?

Kimberly: That can also come up with prospect research, like with something like Instrumentl or another database, then you have the ability to do a little bit more centralized searching and store things in a way so that you don't have, perhaps, departments even competing for the same money or having a director assigned out to multiple grants because people aren't clear about what's going on.

Amanda: Okay. Situation number six here. So this is just me.

Kimberly: It's you?

Amanda: It's me. It's my turn.

Kimberly: She gets all the fun. All right, go ahead.

Amanda: So you're doing some grant prospect research for clients, and as you're working on things, you realize some of the foundations you're coming across would be a good fit for another client of yours. So, can you still charge your original client, your full-time rate if you're also doing research for another client?

So how does that work? The route is you just have to be very careful about how you're keeping track of your time and maybe how you're charging your clients. So a couple options here. One, you may have just a flat rate and you're like, I charge $1,000 to do research and I always give them a minimum of 20 funders.

Well, if you find them 20 funders that work for them, then you're pretty good there, right? Because you've done what you signed up to do for them. If you're someone like me, I typically charge an hourly rate. And so what I don't want to do is be on the clock for one client and go, oh, wait, this would be good for client B.

And then I spend 30 minutes going down a rabbit hole when I'm really charging that time to my first client, especially if it doesn't fit for them. And so I would, what I usually try to do is either pause my time to go down that rabbit hole, or maybe jot down a quick note. Now, Instrumentl can be very helpful in this because when you find a funder, you're able to tag them.

And so I could quickly tag, hey, this funder would be good for this client. It would take me two seconds to do that, and I can keep working on my deadline and my project for Client A.

Kimberly: It's done in seconds, so you're not, you're not doing that weird double-dipping thing. You're making a note. If you're like me, you're making a note that you could actually go back and find later 'cause it's all inside.

Amanda: Yes. Yep. So again, nothing wrong with that. And a lot of these situations go down to, you know, just making sure that you're being fair to whether it's your employer or whether it's the client you were working for and that you're providing the services and spending your time that you should on them. And you're not, again, double-dipping as a good example of what you should not be doing.

Kimberly: Not in that, not in hummus, not in salsa, not in grants. Just, no, I am not on teen double-dip for any reason.

Amanda: So again, if you are, you know, doing time tracking, which is how I bill out clients, then you just need to make sure that when I'm on the time clock for a certain client, that I'm spending my time with that client and not anybody else.

Now you get to do this one.

Kimberly: Oh, I love this one. You apply for a grant knowing full well your organization doesn't have the matching funds available at the time of the application, but hopefully you'll get it before the grant is officially awarded. You apply as if the funds are currently and readily available.

Yeah. That is just so wrong. It's like wrong in the kingdom of wrong, crowned wrong, in the universe of wrongitude. You don't want to do things that are wrong first of all, wrong, because you need to be ready to roll as most all of the federal and state and some local government RFPs, which is either they're requesting the proposal or the OFA, the official funding announcement, many different names.

Think of it as the instruction manual for the grant. Right. They're very clear about what you have to have before you submit the proposal. I have been at places before where they're like, well, we usually get this grant. It'll come in like four months later. I mean, the thing's due now. They're not going to decide right away.

It's going to be okay. And I sadly have to resort to amusement park analogies, which I will share with you now. And some of you may have heard this before, but it bears repeating. I've had to actually say in a meeting with my mouth saying these words out loud, you know, it's like, and I use Six Flags because we're in Atlanta, we got Six Flags Over Georgia.

You've got your Disney Worlds. You've got your Busch Gardens. You've got all kinds of crazy amusement parks everywhere. And most of them and those rides, 'cause you've got like a three or four-hour wait to get on the ride and your kids are driving you crazy. And you've had like four gallons of Mountain Dew or whatever it is that you're doing.

You'll see a sign and it'll stick out like this maybe. It has a little arm. And I'm going to cut off Amanda and this says you have to be this tall to ride this ride. So that's the, and now Amanda can ride in line. That's my analogy that I actually had to use with the CFO once I'm like, you know, it's their version of we gotta be this tall to ride this ride. We've got to show the matching funds in the proposal to ride the ride of the grant. We don't want to ride the ride if we want to go back to those little what are those? That Dumbo teacups, what are those things the little kids ride? Teacups? That's fine, too, but you have to be able to show what it is you need to show to be eligible.

You have to pass their height requirements. So, it's also just sometimes you can't even get away with it if you wanted to because you have to show that proof. But also look at what 2019, 2020, and 2021 have taught us. Things change. That money you thought was going to be coming in in six months. May never come in at all. So better to just forge ahead and not play that game and just be tall enough to ride the ride.

Amanda: Yeah. Well, and oftentimes federal grants, like when you're signing the application, part of what you're signing is saying that we have this money available. I've had some funders even go so far as, you have to have a letter signed by your mayor or you have to have a resolution passed by your board to commit that you've got these funds at hand.

And if you don't and you're signing all of that stuff, and I mean, those are federal documents. You could be in big-time trouble for lying on federal form.

Kimberly: Let's not do that, but again, a great opportunity to educate up and use one of my favorite things when situations get tricky. You're new to the job. You're having to explain something to your mayor, to your executive director, to your board chair. Simply blame it on the funder. It's okay. You can just say, this is what they're requesting. Isn't that nutty? Isn't that kooky? We've just got to do it 'cause that's what they were asking for.

If you can't, if the ethical argument does not win you points, just blame it on the funder.

Amanda: There you go. That's the end of our ethical scenarios. I was scrolling back to the beginning. We had asked folks if they would share any that they had. So we've got one which we have covered already repurposing use of awarded funds without any prior communication with the funder which we know is a no-no.

Now I will tell you, I have been in that situation once before where someone bought something they weren't supposed to. Luckily, even though we'd already bought it, I was able to have a conversation with my funder. And we were able to get permission after the fact, and they ended up allowing it, but I also, that taught me to add some steps in our processes to make sure that sort of thing would never happen again.

So, sometimes some of the way you do grant management gets affected by when things don't work the right way, you come up with new ways to fix that.

Coming to cross grants that are a fit for multiple organizations I work with and how to navigate that. I feel like we covered that one, too. Yeah. I think you can send them out, you know, as far as prospect research goes, either you're eligible or you're not. If I find a grant, I'll send it to all of them. But again, as far as whether I work on all of them, it really just depends.

Kimberly: I think you've got to let them know. Each client it's like, I'm already working on these for other clients. Are you okay with that? And the first client that you start working with, the sort of the, not the alpha, not the beta, the root client. That's the one you're like, I'm already committed to this. Let's see who else wants to get in on it.

Amanda: Exactly.

Kimberly: But you just gotta be straight up. Oh, Amanda. Hi, Amanda. Amanda has a few of those icky shower situations coming up and that's at work. We're not saying anything about Amanda's hygiene. Not at all.

Amanda: And the reality is most people that are basically, if they're not a full-time grant professional or even a part-time grant professional, they just don't quite get, I don't know how many times I have heard "but it's our money" and a lot of people just think that way. A lot of program directors, a lot of department directors, a lot, I worked with a lot of police officers with guns and badges, and sometimes they feel that way. And I'm having to tell them, sorry, sir, we can't do that. And yeah. I understand the ickiness.

Kimberly: So we're skimming through the comments now. Got a lot of things going on. We have some resources to discuss and Will's got some information. We've got takeaway, all sorts of things.

Amanda: So while I'm looking through to see what we may have missed in the chat box, Will's got another poll.

Kimberly: That's right.

Amanda: If you don't mind throwing that one up, Will.

Kimberly: That also sounds like that would be painful. What we mean to say is, Will, if you wouldn't mind putting that poll. And he has! Who's experienced a grants related ethical conundrum in the past years? Like, we would say maybe the past two or three years. And, you know, maybe you have, maybe your friend has.

Amanda: And maybe you've never experienced one. Lucky, lucky.

Kimberly: Yet. So we'll get to, while we are waiting for that, we're going to check out the rest of our messages here.

Amanda: So someone has asked when you don't have, so this last situation we talked about, so you don't have that money, can you still apply and say you're working to get it?

Kimberly: It depends on the individual grant funder.

Amanda: If it's a requirement of submission, I mean, you could still do that. You're probably not going to be competitive at that point. You know, do you want to have wasted all that time for probably nothing? But yeah, I think --

Kimberly: That's the time to call.

Amanda: Yes. That's when you pick up the phone and call the funder.

Kimberly: And then you want email verification. If they say it's okay, get them to say, "Hey, we have this phone call and you said it was okay for us to say that our matching funds are scheduled to arrive in August. And you're applying June the 1st." Get that in an email that they say, yes, that's okay, because you don't want to be knocked out on a technicality.

There is no hard and fast rule across all federal agencies and private foundations and state agencies of course have a lot more leeway in how they would judge that.

Amanda: I want to go with the poll.

Kimberly: So let's see. Oh, a whopping.

Amanda: 62% have dealt with ethical situations.

Kimberly: The 9% with the friends, you know, I'm just going to say, I'm just going to say, really, like, three-quarters of y'all have experienced this in some way. And the not yets, you know, it might be coming, it might be coming. So thanks for answering that. It makes us feel better that we're not just ethic situation magnets when it comes to this.

Amanda: So someone asked, would this scenario be okay if you have a rainy day fund to cover the match just in case? So, yeah. So you think, "Hey, I'm going to get this funding in two months, but if it doesn't come in, we do have this other funding that we can pull." Yeah. I mean, the reality is as long as you have the funding, because most funders, again, most federal funders in my experience, they want to know for the match, do you have it available? Because once you get that award, they expect you to start going. So if you've got a backup rainy day fund then you have the money.

Kimberly: And also just a quick PSA as Amanda scrolls through. Most federal grants do not allow you to use other federal funds as a match. Your mileage may vary but, and that is not what this webinar is about but I just want to get that on there.

Amanda: So Katina says blackout. That means I think you've covered the entire bingo board.

Kimberly: Blackout!

Amanda: Congratulations, that's awesome. So another comment is a tricky issue is when you inherit grants and while unraveling them you encounter an ethical issue. Yes. But you know what? The good thing about that is, though, if you're new to it, I don't know how many times I played the, hey, I'm new here. I didn't do this.

Kimberly: But I'm here to fix it.

Amanda: I'm here to fix it. And so let's start talking this through. So it stinks, but at least it was on somebody else's watch.

Kimberly: I would play that new card. Jill, I would play that new card for about a year to a year and a half, depending on how bad the situation is. Seriously. And you can just be like, I'm new and I'm here to make this right.

Amanda: Yep. So someone asked for matching funds. What if you will pay them in general, but you hope you won't have to do that and you're looking for another funder. Yeah, the good news is federal funds you can say in your application, this is where a match is coming from, but you're allowed to change the source of the match.

Okay. So we've gotten our general funds. That's how we're paying for it. And then you get this other grant. Maybe you get a foundation grant that can now be the match. That's fine if that happens and it changes. Totally fine to do that.

Kimberly: We've just got a few minutes here and we are going to, she, oh, Theresa had bingo and didn't even realize it. How magnetic of a presenting team are we? I just, I don't even know.

Amanda: Let's see. We were told by a funder that an email from one of their staff approving our change request was not binding because my predecessor had not requested a change to the actual agreement. We had already paid for the renovation and now cannot submit some as we did not go through official channels.

Kimberly: And I'm sorry.

Amanda: That is painful. I will say more often than not, emails will be okay. But there is, here's the bad news. If your program officer gives you wrong information and it goes against what the actual rules are, the funder can come back and say no and it stinks because you kind of expect your program officer to be the end all, be all, know all.

Kimberly: It's kind of like your preparer. They make the mistake, you still owe the money. Do you know what I'm saying? It's not nice what I'm saying, but that's kind of where it is.

Amanda: We've got a few more slides of resources and then we'll come back because we got some more comments and questions, but we want to make sure we get through some slides real quick before we do that.

Kimberly: Oh, dun, dun, dun! Ethic resources to the rescue. It's in my contract, which is non-existent, that every presentation I make must have this unicorn. There it is. Unicorns here to help. So we're going to roll through some, quickly roll through and you will get copies of these. And it looks like this is also available as a live transcription. Good luck understanding my accent. Thanks. Okay.

Amanda: Um, so we've mentioned briefly before that a lot of organizations have a code of ethics. And so if you are a member of any of these organizations, you are basically saying you'll follow them. Even if you're not, these are all great ways if you're wondering what is ethical or not.

Kimberly: And you can also print these out and use them or email them and use them as examples when you are educating up, you know, hey, it's really not our money. Look at this or, hey, you really can't pay me that way. Look at that. There are several colleagues that I know who actually include codes of ethics in their sort of initial contract renewal dealings with their clients.

Amanda: So, and I was trying to find a, I have mine somewhere back here, but it's not readily available at the moment, but yeah, the Grant Professionals Association, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and the National Grant Management Association.

Kimberly: And MGMA is really super hyper-focused on federal grant management. If you're not familiar with that. I hope that you're familiar with the Fundraising HayDay podcast. If you're not, we're the co-hosts. So if you're digging what you're hearing today, every other Thursday, we drop new episodes. We're going into our fifth season. We pulled together on these, this slide and the one coming up next episodes that have to do with ethical situations.

If you want to relive the magic of the song, that's “Let’s Get Ethical” season three, episode two. Also Ripped from the Headlines where we look at actual grant fraud, as it's reported in the media and talk about what could have happened. And we're also super excited moving into season five to be partnering with instrumental.

And you'll hear more about that when season five starts in January.

Amanda: Independent Sector, which is a great organization geared towards nonprofits. But they have a “Keeping It Ethical” blog series. And so there's the link there if you want to go check it out. Have a series of blogs just about different ethical scenarios. Some related to grants and fundraising, others just related to nonprofits in general, but that's a really helpful thing to read.

Kimberly: And also included in this presentation, which you will have access to as long as, as well as the transcription. If you're members of these organizations that we've discussed, there are procedures about how you can open an inquiry or file a complaint. And so there are the links there for you to explore that. We hope you don't need to, but it's there if you're a member of those organizations.

Amanda: Yeah. What I really like, I know for sure, the Grant Professionals Association, even if you don't have a complaint, maybe you're just in a conundrum and, you know, I mentioned, I phoned a friend, if you don't have a friend to phone, you can reach out to the GPA ethics committee and tell them what the situation is and they can help give you guidance based on the GPA code of ethics. So that's a really nice, helpful resource there. And we'll end here with, as far as all the ethics stuff goes, is just a reminder that there really is no right way to do a wrong thing.

And so we want to make sure that you just keep calm and follow the rules and that'll help you out.

Kimberly: And someone else may be getting a blackout on a bingo card even as we speak. Now over to Will.

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Awesome. Thanks so much guys. Real quick, I wanted to share with folks that may not be as familiar with Instrumentl since it's been mentioned a few times in today's grant ethics conversation, what we do, and share a little bit more about that as well.

And so what I'm going to do is I'm gonna share my screen and show a few key views of Instrumentl just so that folks can have a better understanding of exactly what we do when we talk about us bringing grant prospecting, tracking, and management to one place. So I left a link in the chat in case you want to use Amanda and Kimberly's link, essentially when you create an account in Instrumentl, you're able to set up customized searches through the concept of projects and projects are essentially work spaces where you can have a safe grant search, as well as a tracker dedicated to the things that you are pursuing funding for.

So here you can see on my screen, I've got an environmental project, but also on my left-hand side, my same account also covers things like air quality projects, food security projects, homeless and elderly projects and so on.

And what's really cool is once you set up a search on Instrumentl, we are always looking for new funding opportunities for you. So you can see here for my environmental project, I've got 195 opportunity matches, which signals for me 195 open and active opportunities that I can begin to pursue. And what's really cool about this is that from here, you can actually start to filter things down for whatever is most valuable to you.

So for example, if I know that I just want to focus on education outreach efforts, I can do that really quickly. If I know, for example, I want to search for the word environment and some sort of mention to that in terms of the proposal or RFP, what I can do is I can search for that word and Instrumentl will filter all that information out for me.

What's really interesting as well, is that all of the opportunity details are in this tab, too. So with this Matches setup, what you're able to have is essentially a personalized grant email inbox of sorts in which you're going to have all the opportunities on the left-hand side, and then the details behind the opportunities on the right-hand side.

And when you are going through these with when it comes to some private foundations and things like that, Lots of summarize for you snapshots as to what's going on with that funder to help you identify whether or not they're a good fit funder. So aside from our matching algorithm looking out for you, you'll be able to look at digitized versions of 990 reports, and that can be really helpful in assessing good fits as well to see whether or not there's a historical giving pattern behind that particular funder.

You can also look for potential trends that are happening. For example, is this funder actually open to new grantees or are only giving to repeat grantees. These are all data insights that are pulling directly from the latest 990 report that has been filed with the IRS. And so, it's something in which it really can cut down the amount of time that it takes you to identify the key decision as to whether or not they are a good fit funder.

That's just some of the things in terms of the matches tab, something else we just rolled out since I know some folks here already have Instrumentl accounts. In case you missed our customer-only events recently, we also rolled out some of our Standard Plan features. Our Funder Matches section is a new feature as well. That's currently been released. And essentially what that will also output for you is a set of potential good fit funders that you're going to want to build an annual grant strategy around. So these are funders who might not even have a website. They might not have an active grant opportunity and they might even be invite only.

But what we're going to do is we're going to look at the criteria of what you told us about your organization and your fundraising needs and from their output potential good fit funders that you can then start to build relationships with. There are multiple ways that you can find good fit funders on Instrumentl.

What's really nice about this is that it's all brought to the same single source of truth. So once you create a project on Instrumentl, once a week, we're going to tell you whenever you have a new match that meets your particular project needs. So in this case, for example, if I'm in my homeless and elderly project, I can see how I have a new opportunity from the USDA related to this project since the last time that I visited this particular project. And then as you work your way through your matches, you're going to be able to save those matches into our tracker. When you do that, you're going to be able to keep everything in the same place as well, to make collaboration as well as organization way easier.

So some of you guys might be familiar with this sort of a tracker 'cause you might use some sort of Excel version of this, but the reason why it's more powerful in Instrumentl is because you essentially are able to do task management, note management, as well as document management all in the same place.

So in this example here, if I wanted to create a task for myself, I could do so when I click into the opportunity that I've saved here and on the right-hand side, I can pretty much click add task and say review with team. And then from there set a reminder for myself to have that done this Friday. Once a week, Instrumentl is going to roll up all the tasks and all the deadlines that I have coming up related to my project.

And then let me know in a single email, what's coming up. In the case where a funder changes the due date or deadline, essentially what's going to happen is Instrumentl's going to automatically also update that deadline for you. In the case where we have a local opportunity or a smaller opportunity that you want to work into this tracker, you can always add one. And then from here you can add it individually or you can download our template and import your existing tracker into Instrumentl. The cool thing about this is that once you bring all of your work into Instrumentl, you're able to bring grant prospecting, tracking, and management to one place.

So we find that we save folks on average, three hours per team member a week. And we also increased grant application output by 78% within a year of using us. And then the last thing that's really cool is just the quick find feature. So if you ever need to do due diligence on a particular funder really easily, you can just look them up by name or by EIN number.

And from there you can pull up their funder or recipient profile. And from here, you can start to dig deeply into that funder to again, get to that core question of whether or not they're a good fit funder for you. So in case you want to give us a try, feel free to use Amanda and Kimberly's link. I left it in the zoom chat, and I'm also happy to answer questions in the Q and A if you do have any questions about anything Instrumentl, and we also have two advanced prospecting workshops, we're going to be teaching new strategies in relationship to different data points that you can use in assessing good fit funders.

Those are being hosted tomorrow and Friday. So if you haven't already registered for those, I'll be sure to leave those in the zoom link as well during the Q and A. With that, I'm going to go back to presentation mode, and then we're going to go ahead and go over some learning takeaways. So why don't you guys take it from here and then I'll go over the raffle things

Amanda, you guys might be on mute right now.


Did we lose their connection?

Oops. Sorry. It looks like they may have lost. We may have lost connection for a second. Well, either way I'll wrap up on the learning takeaways for them. The first thing to remember is to make sure that your leadership understands grant agreements and funding opportunities. Oh, let me unmute you. Let me try.

Let me find you. Sorry. It looks like you are here. Let's unmute you.

Why don't you try now? Kimberly and Amanda, can you unmute?

Amanda: Ah, there we go. Yep. We were muted.

Kimberly: Your magical powers extended a far across the land, Will, but we're back now. So, our three learning takeaways that apply to so many things, situations be covered in bingo and in the chat. Just making sure that educate up moment, making sure that your leadership team, you understand that making sure they understand grant agreements and how restricted funding works. It's so important. And sort of in combination with that, please don't be afraid to call the funder or email the funder or reach out in a way that makes sense. I know we had some hard lessons in the chat today where people who like, they got conflicting information. Maybe the program officer doesn't know what the agency head knows, but starting that communication, particularly as you realize things might be going slightly awry, there might be something coming up. Better to go, hey, there's this thing. We're going to fix it. Here's our plan.

I say, be upfront with that. That's going to engender a more trustful relationship and it's going to help you get that continued funding. And also finally, as we have seen through the polls, through the chat, through our bingo game, through the multiple blackouts that we experienced with the bingo cards, you're not the only one to face ethical situations and we have given you some resources and maybe a little camaraderie and fun to sort of help you think through that and to help you through it.

Amanda: And this is just how to find us. So we've got our email address. We're on Twitter. We have a Facebook group, a community there. We'd love to have you join us. And there is the link to our website where you can find our show.

We're also on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. And like Kim always says, we're finishing up season four, and will have episodes that drop every other Thursday. And if you want to use HayDay and we spell it, H-A-Y-D-A-Y because of our last names. HAYDAY50 will get you that partner Instrumentl link that Will was talking about.

Kimberly: And we also, I know Will's going to tell you about this, too, but we also have a handout that we wanted to share with you. And he's going to tell you all about it.

Will: Awesome. So everyone's getting some freebies today. I'm going to have a link in the chat in just a little bit. It's going to be a workshop, a feedback form to let us know what you thought about this particular game.

And then from there you will be able to get the two freebies. So the first one is going to be FOMO, NoMo. I'm going to say Mo.

Kimberly: We do, too.

Will: Essentially this is going to be at the HayDay fundraising grant writers resource guide. There's just kind of helpful resources in there in the case where you are looking for additional ones.

And then also from our end to help you in assessing good fit funders, we have a workbook in which you can print it out, download it, and then use the three steps that we outlined. there coupled with your Instrumentl account to essentially figure out whether or not you should pursue a funder out of all the many opportunities that are out there for your organization.

So all you need to do is click into that link for the raffle, and then you'll be able to enter that. And when you use that link for the feedback form, you'll get both resources upon the submission as well. So, that's pretty much a wrap for the main programming here. We're going to leave it for some questions as well.

And so if you have any questions, it would be great to hear from you guys in the chat and in the case where you're looking to register for one of our other events as well, I will make sure to get that link in there as well. This is our last workshop before Thanksgiving week, but we will have one more at the end of the year on December 8th, covering grant writing, what the pros know with Mandy Pearce from Funding for Good at 12:00 PM central time.

And that'll also be on our events calendar. But yeah, let's go ahead and open up to questions and see if folks have any questions that they could get answered. I know we covered a number of them as well.

Kimberly: Will, I did see one of them while you're looking. If I could hop in real quick. Can you use in-kind donations as a match? And that's really going to depend on the specific instructions that are along with that grant. Sometimes you can, sometimes you can't.

Amanda: Yeah, it depends on the funder. We've got some comments. Yeah. It's my first day.

Kimberly: When you're wanting to fix it, even if you've been there for two years, I mean, maybe that's unethical, but you know, what's the biggest ethical? Yeah.

Amanda: And I'm new here. Yeah. I rock that. Every time I started a new job for a good six months to a year 'cause it takes a whole year to get through all those grants cycles. Right.

Kimberly: I'm saying 18 months, I'm saying 18 months. I'm saying. I'm new. I'm learning, I'm learning.

Amanda: Absolutely.

Kimberly: Oh, and, and more blackouts, more people got blackouts putting everything on. That tells me you guys were digging this and you were paying attention and going back and forth and marking out the things so good on you. And everybody gets a prize.

Amanda: Our love.

Kimberly: And the handout.

Amanda: And free handout.

Kimberly: So there's some questions about where to enter the raffle on the link that was provided above. I think I'm going to, Will.

Will: All you need to do is click the freebie link. I actually had some mixed messaging there. You just, uh, you should be, oh, sorry. The freebie link. Let me send. That's not the right link. Sorry. I get what people are saying. I'm sharing the wrong link.

Amanda: That's okay. Will will get the right link. Someone asks if you have a client ask to apply for a grant that you just know they won't get. Is there a best practice in saying, listen, don't hire me here.

Kimberly: I have so many feelings about this.

Amanda: Well, then, go.

Kimberly: I spend a lot of my time now as a consultant, I spend a lot of time as a staff person talking people out of grants and into others. Sometimes I use the, you gotta be this tall to ride the ride. Sometimes I walked them through what's going to be truly competitive and discussing the difference between eligibility, which you would find using Instrumentl to help you find these prospects and line them up. There's a big difference between eligibility and being competitive. Two different things. And I've found that spending some time going over that. Sure you can apply for this $5 million grant that says anybody can apply.

I'm thinking about a federal grant. Anybody, anyone can apply. But are you competitive? Are you really able to fulfill everything they're asking for? Because this is not, getting grants as y'all know, is not like finding a job where you might see this ideal job listing. My ideal job is, of course ,owning my own business. So I will not, I will take myself out of the room on that one, but you say I have all these qualities. Oh, I have, oh, I have most of these qualifications. I can like finesse the rest. That's very different from getting a grant where you need to have everything they're looking for to be highly competitive, because it's a lot of time and money and/or staff resources to write grants.

Amanda: I think there's nothing wrong with saying...

Kimberly: It's not a good fit.

Amanda: It's not a good fit. And I've told people before, I'm like, look, if you want to pay me to write this, you can, and I can take your money and I can write it, but you're not going to get it. You're not going to be happy then you're not going to hire me again. So I'm not going to be happy. So it's okay to, it's again, it's education.

Kimberly: I'll do a version of that where I'll say, yeah, I'm not going to take your money for something that I'm almost 100% sure will not pan out. I don't want to take your money for something that's not going to work for you.

And that usually shuts it right down because they see. It's, yeah, not wanting to, I don't want to take someone's money for something that I feel like it's just not going to be competitive at all. And I explained that, but I have, like, pulled things out of the grant announcement, put it in an email, call them on the phone, and we just go through point by point by point before I'll take your money.

Amanda: And Vicky shared it sometimes requires a reality check about capacity, you know, sometimes like, yeah, you're competitive, but you don't have the time. Do you know? Because if we get this screen, you're gonna have to do this many reports and this much work, and who's going to do all that, you know?

Kimberly: Like AmeriCorps, right. A federal grant, AmeriCorps, like the Peace Corps, only a domestic version. I was a Peace Corps volunteer wasn't AmeriCorps. Anyway, it has the word core in it. I'm making some -- I'm babbling, but what I'm saying is it's a super program, but it requires lots of reporting and documentation.

So for a smaller agency to go for an AmeriCorps grant may mean that they would need to hire someone basically just to manage that grant. And these are important considerations and that's where you as a grant professional can come in and explain that because you're going to be the subject matter expert.

Amanda: Absolutely. And same thing if someone says, well, what do you do if you're not a contractor, it's your boss who's asking you. Same conversation 'cause I always tell my boss, I only have so many hours in the day.

Kimberly: Same conversation only probably could be a little bit, like, nicer.

Amanda: I always explain it. I only have so many hours in the day. There's only so many grants I can write and especially, I'll look at what they've handed me. I'll explain why I don't think we're competitive. I will also say this is going to take this many hours of my time. At least put this together. We're probably not going to get it, versus I could write these three other grants that they may be smaller, but together, they'd make up the same amount of money and I can do it in the same amount of time. So let's spend my time where it's best used. Now, there have been times when my boss has said to do it anyway.

Kimberly: And you do it and you do like, okay, hope that works out.

Amanda: And sometimes we don't get the funding and every now and then someone knows the right Senator. And even though we weren't the perfect fit, it got funded because the right Senator basically told my boss, submit this, and I'll get it through for you.

Kimberly: And while we may be crossing into an ethical situation with that, that's not what we're going to address right now.

Amanda: Someone has asked about grant writers and how to hire them. I will say the Grant Professionals Association has a consultants directory. And so if you were looking to hire a grant professional, that is a great way to find a consultant. So if you go to I think there's some other agencies that may have consultant groups like that. That's just one that I know about. So that could help individuals asking about that. Let's see, what else?

Someone's had this exact conversation before. Yep.

Kimberly: Oh, about AmeriCorps, too, not picking on AmeriCorps. Great program. Lots of admin time, it's resource-heavy. So it's not like, oh, we're just going to get a person to work for free. No.

Amanda: Yep. But we just want to say thank you to Instrumentl for having us. We have such a fun time sharing the grant ethics bingo with folks and hope you enjoyed it and learned a lot. And Instrumentl's awesome and we think Fundraising HayDay is great, too. So check us both out.

Will: Awesome. Well, thanks so much for having us and hosting the game as well. For everybody -- also wanted to give a shout out to Tricia who gave her prize to somebody to try out Instrumentl since she already uses us.

So shout out to Tricia. Always so great to see the kindness of our customers as well. So we hope to see you guys in a few weeks from now. But I hope you guys all have a great holiday week in the case where you don't see you in one of our events coming up and yeah, we'll see you guys next time and look out for the slides and follow-up in a little bit. Bye, now.

Amanda: Thanks. 

Kimberly: Bye!

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10 Ready-to-Use Cold Email Templates That Break The Ice With Funders

Transform funder connections with our 10 expert-crafted cold email templates. Engage, build bonds, showcase impact, and elevate conversations effortlessly.

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How to save up to 15 hours per week with smarter grant tracking

How to Save Up to 15 Hours per Week with Smarter Grant Tracking

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