In the Thick of It
It is truly incredible that I am already on week six of my internship with the Canton Day Care Center. Over the past few weeks I have become very involved with fundraising for the Capital Campaign, and exploring new ways to raise the necessary funds. At this point I have written three grants, and working on a fourth. I had no idea how much research was required to write a convincing grant, both in terms of researching grant-giving foundations and including resources to make a strong case for the organization. Through this process I have been introduced to grant-finding databases, learned how to read 990 forms, and been in contact with several foundations. Since there is no grant-writer for the organization, I have been communicating with grant-writers at St. Lawrence. Using them as resources has been immensely helpful, and taking their advice has helped me become a better grant-writer in just a few short weeks.
As someone who had never written a grant prior to this internship, writing my first proposal was very intimidating. I had no concept of the appropriate structure and language, and was worried my first grant would be a complete flop. Now that I have written several and been given feedback on my first drafts, I have learned that there is no single right way to write a grant. Key things that are included in all great grants are convincing sources, a sense of emotion and urgency, and concise and thorough writing. Other than these elements, writing the rest of the grant depends on the mission of the organization, the specific questions asked, and the preferences of the writer. Having someone to teach me these fundamentals and point me in the right direction has helped me recognize my style, and has made the process tremendously easier.
Something that has surprised me over the weeks is how strongly I have come to feel about the success of the daycare. As someone not from the area with no children, it has surprised me how badly I want the daycare to expand and be successful. Being surrounded by the staff, the children, and the Board members, all who feel very passionate about the Center, has rubbed off on me. Not only does this improve my grants, but gives me added incentives and joy in coming to work. I continue to be grateful for the staff I am surrounded by, and the opportunities I am given to make a difference in the Canton community. I am excited for the coming weeks, and the new things I will learn before the summer is over.