“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”
--Edward Everett Hale
Because I cannot remember what I had for dinner last night, I find it strange that I distinctly remember my first interaction with GrantStation, and more specifically, the CEO Cindy Adams. It was 2004 and I was working at Mission West Virginia, a statewide nonprofit organization. I had just acquired a large federal grant to build the capacity of faith-based and community-based organizations in the state. Cindy “cold-called” me to set up a time to demonstrate the features of GrantStation and inquire if the resources would be a benefit to the organizations we worked with. While I hadn’t budgeted for GrantStation memberships at the time, I was immediately drawn to the resources and opportunities provided, in addition to the personalized and professional services she offered.
Fast forward a year, and I was planning our first Funding Conference. I called Cindy to ask if she could do a GrantStation demonstration at one of the sessions via the Internet. Amazingly, she was going to be in the “lower 48” and offered to attend in person! I was so excited and got the opportunity to spend an evening with her before the conference. We must operate much on the same frequency, because we really hit it off. I popped into the beginning of her workshop to say a quick goodbye as she was flying out right after her session. She warmly (and in front of all the workshop participants) said, “It was great to spend time with you and I am so sorry I got you so drunk last night.” I still laugh out loud about that comment and she definitely secured a spot as one of my favorite people.
In 2006, I opened The Grant Advantage. You wouldn’t think a business in Alaska and in West Virginia would interact much, but again we crossed paths as presenters at a conference in Kentucky. We attended each other’s sessions and realized how similar our teaching styles were. She asked if I would be interested in doing webinars for GrantStation. I was nervous about working in this medium, but she walked me through the process and gave me the confidence and resources to give it a shot. The rest, as they say, is history.
During the first years of our webinars, it was common to have 15-25 participants. During the last Power of 3 series we offered, we set records with well over 200 participants and 20 groups representing 44 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada!
I think there are several reasons for the success of our partnership. First, we focus our strengths to meet the needs of nonprofit organizations. GrantStation has a tremendous reach and methodically assesses the needs and fills in gaps to help nonprofits fulfill their missions. Teaching “all things grant writing” is a passion of mine, so it is a perfect match that meets an important need in the nonprofit community. Second, I think both businesses focus on the individual and unique needs of those we serve and provide a personal approach instead of a “cookie cutter” option. Finally, we both believe in life-long learning and aren’t afraid to say we don’t have an answer to a question but have a network that we can reach out to and get answers or ideas.
GrantStation has been such a wonderful partner to me—both working in the nonprofit world and as a for-profit business. The entire staff is full of amazing thinkers and doers and they constantly help me to think bigger. They are always looking for the next thing and figuring out how to make things happen through partnerships. I am so grateful and congratulate them on 20 years of making the world a better place by helping the nonprofit community.