5 Steps to Building Out Your Ideal Grant Team with Interns w/ Marie Gress

Reviewed by:

No items found.

Published:

June 9, 2023

Last Updated:

Welcome to the "5 Steps to Building Out Your Ideal Grant Team with Interns" webinar! This session is designed to help you understand the benefits of having interns as part of your professional grant development team. By leveraging the skills and knowledge of social work interns, you can establish a highly efficient and effective team of grant proposal learners, proofers, and writers.

​During this webinar, we will also highlight the benefits of using interns, as well as the potential for them to become long-term employees or contractors. Finally, we will showcase how Instrumentl can help you save time and money by streamlining your grants management process.

Winning Grants Together: A Blueprint for Nonprofit Team Success

Takeaways by the end of this Instrumentl Partner Webinar:

  • The PROs of hiring interns as part of your professional grant development team! By leveraging social work interns, you can maintain a team of:
    - grant proposal learners
    - grant proposal proofers, and grant proposal writers
  • ​Interns have access to additional tools at no additional costs
  • ​Strong interns could be hired as an employee or contractor post graduation
  • ​How Instrumentl saves you time and money in finding, tracking and managing your grants all in one place

Never tried Instrumentl?

Find and win more grants for your nonprofit!
Start saving 3 hours a week and increase your grant applications by 78%.

Try 14-days free


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 KOVIR50.

Marie Gress is a licensed master-level macro social worker specializing in older adults and technology, working at the intersection of capacity, competency, and community in the aging sector. She is the CEO at Kovir LLC, serves on Washtenaw County’s Commission on Aging, and provides supervision and mentorship to macro social workers in the aging sector.

​Marie started providing grant writing and grant strategy services with the mission to increase the capacity and impact of small non-profits with limited resources, along with low-cost websites and outreach methods. Since then, she crafted a Grant Writing for Novices workbook and has made it available for free on various platforms, created a self-paced online course, and has led grant writing courses and seminars for groups like NASW-MI, NAAP, and Volunteer Florida.

​She enjoys offering mentorship to macro social workers in the aging sector.

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.

Instrumentl Partner Workshop Replay

Instrumentl Partner Workshop Slides

Discover Your Next Grant

 
Start Your Grant Search

5 Steps to Building Out Your Ideal Grant Team with Interns w/ Marie Gress - Grant Training Transcription

Dionna: Alrighty. Welcome, everyone. So, there we go. Okay. Hi everyone, and welcome to 5 Steps to Building Out Your Ideal Grant Team with Interns with Marie Gress. For those of you who don't know me, my name is Dionna and I'm the Partnerships Marketing Manager at Instrumentl. And I will be your host for today.

In case it's your first time here, this free grant workshop is an Instrumentl partner webinar. These are collaborations between Instrumentl and community partners to provide free educational workshops for grant professionals. Our goal is to provide free educational workshops that often tackle a problem that grant professionals have to face while sharing different ways that Instrumentl’s platform can help grant writers win more grants.

In case you don't know, Instrumentl is the institutional fundraising platform. If you want to bring grant prospecting, tracking, and management to one place, then we can help you do that.

The spotlight is being recorded today and slides will be shared afterwards. So, keep your eyes peeled for a follow-up email later, in case you want to review anything from today.

If you have questions throughout, we ask that you put three pound signs in front of your question when popping it in the chat to ensure that it stands out and that we don't miss it. If your question isn't answered during the presentation, do not worry. We will be keeping track of questions throughout and we'll try our best to address them during the Q&A at the end. Lastly, please be sure to stick around for today's entire presentation. At the end, we will be sharing with you some freebie resources, more details to come after Marie’s presentation.

Now, with all that housekeeping out of the way, I'm so excited today to introduce Marie Gress. Marie Gress is a Licensed Master Level Macro Social Worker specializing in older adults and technology working at the intersection of capacity, competency, and community in the aging sector. She is the CEO at Kovir LLC, serves on Washtenaw County's mission on aging and provides supervision and mentorship to macro social workers in the aging sector.

Marie started providing grant writing and grant strategy services with the mission to increase the capacity and impact of small nonprofits with limited resources along with low cost websites and outreach methods. Since then, she crafted a grant writing for novices workbook and has made it available for free on various platforms, created a self-paced online course and has led grant writing courses and seminars for groups like NASW Michigan, NAAP, and Volunteer Florida.

Thank you so much for joining us today, Marie. And with that, Marie, please take it away.

Marie: Yeah. Thank you so much for having me today. I want to do--Dionna, do you have closed captioning turned on for our talk today?

Dionna: Yes.

Marie: Laura is currently getting it turned on. And then you can turn that on for yourselves if that's something that is helpful for you. I will also say that I am currently Interim Executive Director at a local agency. And I'm on site today and experiencing a little bit of internet issues. So if I freeze, feel free to put in the chat the last thing you heard, and I'll scoot back to that last thing that you heard. Okay?

Our agenda is to talk about the types of interns and how you can find them. I want to talk about the potential that interns have in your agencies. I want to talk about some of the things to know before you bring interns on board, and how to address those. I want to talk about what you can have those interns do. And then I'll recap with the five steps. We're going to kind of cover it as we go. And just to close it all out, I'm going to make sure that we--you get those five steps just on one slide.

A point of clarification, we had a couple of people submit comments that in the event, we talked about how some interns are low cost or free. And people have a problem with that business model. And I was talking with Dionna, and we wanted to make sure that this was clear, that Kovir and Instrumentl believes if you are using interns to support your team, that they should be fairly compensated, we do not condone the intentional model of not paying interns for their work.

Later, when I talk about the types of interns, you'll learn where these “free interns” might come from. And we'll talk about what that might mean for you and your agency. We'll talk about a couple of the ethics that I've thought about both when I was in the nonprofit space and then as a business owner, a for-profit business owner, how I address that. And I'm happy to take questions as we go as well. But just to kick us off, we wanted to make sure that that point was very clear.

It would be super helpful for me. You've already shared some of your names and organizations. So, let's just skip that. I would love--and where you're calling in from. What I would love to see you put in the chat for me is when you think about your grant process, what takes you the longest? What's something that takes you longer than what you would like it to take? If you could put that in the chat, what takes the longest? Research, relationship building, research, shift or sifting through RFPs, the writing, rewriting the answers to tailor each grant. Writing, yes. Organizing everything, I hear that. Drafting, researching opportunities, a lot of reporting.

I should have done one of those. I just found this new tool called Mentimeter. I'll have to put it in the chat a little bit later. But it does have these cool word bubbles. As people are putting in their responses, I should have done that for this.

Budget. That takes a long time. That does take a long time.

Gathering the information. Management for reports. Great. Federal regulations, narrative writing, researching, writing the narratives, collecting the data, a whole grant writing process. Oh, I have two other Mentimeter fans, that's great. If you could put the link in the chat for everybody, I would appreciate that.

Having difficult clients who don't check their emails every month. Great. Actually, another question that I don't have on here, if you could put in the chat, if you are a nonprofit or if you are a consulting, writing freelancer or agency, so nonprofit versus your kind of independent work. That will help me frame some of the examples that we'll be going through today.

Lots of nonprofits. That's great. Grant manager, consultants. Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. So, we have a mix. But it looks like mostly nonprofits. Okay, awesome.

If I lean too much into nonprofit examples, consultants, feel free to drop a question in the chat. So, I'm prompted to make sure I'm gearing some of my examples towards the work that you're doing as consultants and freelancers. Awesome. Because that's the work that I do and how I use my current internship. So, I'm all about it.

All right. So my next question for you, if you have used interns, what is the difficulty you have had? I would love to address some of the challenges that you're experiencing because I've worked with a lot of agencies on supervision with interns, with other staff members to build out these kinds of programs. And I would love to address some of the challenges that you've been experiencing during this time.

Training. You try to hire young first year students who may have three or four years, accountability, the timing of the internship and RFP dates. Well, I've got a good suggestion for you later. The amount of prep time, the lack of grant education they've received, yeah. Haven't utilized interns fully. Lack of budget. Lack of motivation, because many are unpaid. Yep. Not being aware enough of how the program aligns with the funder’s mission. Time management, yep. Committing time. Finding ways to pay them. They’re temporary. They’re nervous about training them. The time commitment versus value.

Okay, great. Time management is temporary, the complexity of your grants. Okay. Awesome. Wonderful. I'm going to be trying to do my due diligence to integrate your comments into the sections that this makes the most sense in.

To get us started, I just want to set a level about the type of interns that are probably best suited for grant work. Social work is my background. And social workers are primarily drawn to nonprofits. We're seeing more go into private practice if they're very clinical focused. But our social workers are going into nonprofits who could really benefit from grants to support the programs that they do.

English is another one. They tend to not have educational programs that require an internship like social work does. So if you're not familiar, bachelors--well, associates, bachelors, and master level interns are all required to do some level of internship, some worksite placement to get that real world experience that matches the theory and concepts that they're learning in class. And so, that is a prime value for social work, which is why we see so many social work interns in this space.

English is another really good one, though. And because their internship isn't going to be connected to a program, per se, like social work is, they are most likely looking for a part-time job or looking for a full-time job, they're hoping that what you have is going to turn into something more permanent. And these English people are really good at storytelling.

And same with journalism. Something I've noticed about English and journalism focused people is that they really get the storytelling piece that sometimes we have a hard time incorporating in our grants, whether it's just not the way we've written before or maybe we just don't have space for it, because some of our grants are character counted into a very small space. And these English and journalism people know how to write these narratives. They do a really good job. Even with proofing and editing. We'll get to some of those tasks. We'll get to some of those tasks later. But English and journalism, other good ones to look at.

Public health is similar to social work. Sometimes there is a volunteerism requirement in their field. Other times, they just really understand how this policy level stuff impacts how services are delivered. They understand and have a passion for that equity that needs to happen for our healthy communities. They understand that transportation impacts learning and impacts jobs, which impacts how much you make and how you're able to financially afford things for your family.

There's other great examples. If you've worked with other types of interns that have been helpful in your grant writing, feel free to share them in the chat. I'm sure other people would love to hear the type of backgrounds you look for in your internship.

I want to talk about the type of interns. So, there are volunteer internships that the--and, really, here with the volunteer internships, let's just take the educational requirement component out of it for a moment. When you look at what type of internship you want to offer, I recommend you're straightforward with the--let me just make sure I'm not--I'm getting ahead of myself. Okay.

I really got that point of clarification in my mind. And I really want to make sure I hit that home. But before we get to the payment piece, the type of interns, you can look for just some volunteers. I've had, especially after my Volunteer Florida seminars where we have 400 agencies come through, we did two cohorts last year and 400 in each one going through and looking for a certificate. And so, how we designed that is they are ideally working on a grant or reviewing one that had recently been submitted. And at the end, they submit something to me and my team for review. And we give feedback and the certificate at that point.

I've had a couple of people reach out to me afterwards saying that they want more experience and exposure to what searching in real time looks like, and what writing this in real time looks like. If they could observe a little bit more how this looks on a day-to-day practice, they are really here to shadow and maybe offer a few things. And so, they're looking for volunteer opportunities. And that's great. You're likely--you could have a local community member who has experienced grant writing and they would love to volunteer their time.

It's typically not framed as an internship at that point because they already have that skill set. We're talking about an intern. It's usually a temporary agreement and there's learning involved. You could have interns that are part of an associate's program, a bachelor's, master's. Maybe they've completed their degree. I see this in communications a lot of times where they complete their degree, and then they look for an internship right after they graduate to get that real experience.

And so, you could be looking for somebody with zero to one year experience with a bachelor's degree, right? You want to make sure that if your agency is taking on someone that you know you're going to be doing some training with, at least they understand how to write a good paragraph, at least they understand that there's going to be research involved. You're not starting from complete scratch. They have something underneath them.

And where you want this to be depends on your agency. I would really encourage you to talk with leadership in your agency, or your board of directors. If this is a path you want to pursue, what level of skill do you need from an intern to bring to your agency from the get go? Those are good conversations to have and will help you decide what level of education this person is coming in on or experience. Right?

A lot of times, if we're talking about internships as a job description, we'll see on other job descriptions, a bachelor's degree or two to four years of equivalent experience. And I think that could hold true for internships as well.

All right. So, back to the pay stuff. I love talking about paying interns. From the field of social work, they're actually--most interns, social work interns are not paid. And I love having the opportunity to kind of take a little soapbox moment and talk about this.

Student interns are in a really interesting position. Legally, they do not have to be paid. Legally. And this could vary by state. But the federal law and then where I am in Michigan, and any of the agencies or any of the schools I've worked with, Tennessee, Texas, of course I had Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois. They have a labor law that says if your intern is getting their experience as part of their university credit, they do not have to be paid.

The school and the placement site have an agreement on the level of expectations, or they should have an agreement on the level of expectations of the student intern, what type of opportunities they are exposed to and what types of opportunities they are expected to finish. Some organizations take advantage of this, and immediately give their interns with little or no training a full caseload. And that is definitely an inappropriate use of an intern.

But I do want to make--since we had a couple of comments about that before this presentation, I do want to make you aware of that. And if your agency is a nonprofit and you are overstepping your boundaries with your intern, I really encourage you and your leadership to look at that. Scale back what that's doing or consider offering a stipend. It’s usually the first type of pay we see at agencies. Whether you're for profit or nonprofit and you're first exploring this space of paying interns, stipends are usually the first thing that agencies try. It gives everybody an agreement that we see that you're doing work for us. But realistically, this is what we can offer you for that work.

And I think that's a great place to start, to talk about what that stipend looks like. If you are a consulting agency and you are writing grants for pay, you ethically should not--and I would have to double check the labor laws on this too. But you should not be having any interns doing billable hour work and not paying them. That it is unethical. If your interns are doing billable hour work, like you--they're doing 10 hours and then you bill your client for seven of those, your intern is entitled to pay. And so, I just want to put that out there. So, there's volunteer interns. There's paid interns.

And I'm going to check the chat on questions for this in just a moment. There are hours to consider. So if interns are part of a school program, there's likely a minimum hour they have to have or a maximum hours they are supposed to have. So, look at what type of hour commitment you need from an intern or that you are able to actually supervise, and then degree requirements. So, I fall back to social work a lot because they probably have one of the more rigorous internship requirements. And it's my background.

But internships in social work require that a social worker is providing supervision, an hour supervision every week. Two of those hours every month can be a group. So, that helps a little bit. But you don't want to take on a team of 10 interns and have to be providing supervision to all of them. Regardless of that hour requirement, that's a lot of people to oversee. And so, I would definitely take it one step at a time, scaling up as you go.

Another thing that I would encourage you to think about in this conversation of type of interns is to think about the timing of the interns. So as a lot of you mentioned earlier, they are short. The point of an internship is that it's finite. There is a beginning and there is an end. There may be an opportunity for hire. But there is usually--this begin and end time approximation. And so, if you can be strategic with starting an intern, say in the fall, and they go through the spring, have your next intern start in the winter.

So, your first intern is training your second intern. And then you would have the next one start during that one second semester. And so, you're kind of building in this overlap. So, one, you're not taking in on too much at one time. Two, your interns can help develop each other.

We're going to talk about some development things in a little bit. But having interns help train is not only helpful for you, but adult learning theory shows us that teaching somebody else something helps solidify that for yourself. Being able to show somebody how a job is done is just as beneficial as going through, or maybe a parallel level of beneficial as going through multiple online trainings, and that kind of thing.

I want to pause on this type of interns’ conversation and I'm going to just look through the chat really quickly to see what kind of questions we have, especially for this paid conversation.

MF says, “I participated in my first grant writing initiative with a non-profit. And I've been a communications fellow for eight months.” Great. Communication is awesome.

As an active fellow, I agree, there's always a desire for me as someone with a bachelor's degree to receive introductions for building relationships. I'm 30. I've been through two internships and unpaid. And as a millennial, it's difficult finding or--yeah, difficult finding financial stability with a W-2.

Danny says Vermont law requires that interns receive compensation. That's interesting, Danny. I'm going to make a note of that. And I want to look in to see how the schools of social work in Vermont are handling this issue.

If you're in the social work space, I can tell you a new movement to follow is called payments for placements. I'm in Michigan, next to Eastern Michigan University and the University of Michigan. And they have this initiative going. It actually started at U of M. And one thing that the students are asking is that the school helps pay their internship. I shouldn't be a non-profit. That's not a sustainable task. And it's not an ask that they can make and see immediate change. But the students are paying per credit hour, but only having to do a portion of that time in class. And so, if some of that credit hour pay can be given back to the students as stipends is just one of the many methods that they've been talking about.

In NYS--oh, New York State, you don't have to pay interns who are getting class credit. But you must pay them if it is experiential, not part of a class. Yeah, Krista, I agree with that.

A stipend is different from a wage mark. And don't quiz me on labor loss at this very moment. But a stipend is usually given at the end of a period or can be given monthly for certain things. So sometimes, you hear about a health stipend or an internet stipend, a phone stipend to help cover those specific costs. Otherwise, a stipend can be provided later.

At some financial level--and I want to say it's around 600. But that might depend on state stipend, then becomes a W-9 and a 10-99 contractor position. And so, those are definitely things to dive deeper into as you start having these conversations in your agency.

Public health students also need internship hours and are similar to social workers that are at population level. Oh, we're already halfway through the time. Thank you, Dionna. Okay.

Okay. I'm going to move on. I saw a couple of questions on investing in your interns and what are some other ways that we can get them trained and things like that. I'm going to go a little bit more quickly through the next slides. But I have here, you can look back at this. These are different ways to invest in your interns or other supervisors, everywhere from direct financial to the type of work that you're giving them. If you're giving them affiliations, indirect and career advancement, those are all things to consider as you are working on your own internship program.

The best way to get interns is with university partnerships. They either have these internship programs that we've been talking about, or they have professors who are keeping an eye out on who is solid, or who could use a little bit more experience. And so, having those relationships with universities, I personally have found them very beneficial. It cuts down on the interns that need a little bit more coaching on timeliness and work apparels, so I can focus more on the actual content that they're producing and how they're doing their job.

When you are doing internships, it's really tempting to just say, “Sure, join us,” like they're a volunteer, or something like that. And while there are volunteer grant writers, I really encourage you. If you're bringing someone on your team in this more intentional way, that you actually follow--excuse me, part of your structured interview process. You are making a commitment. And so, you should know a little bit more about what you're getting into.

So, two challenges that I have gone through when working on my internship programs are the training time and the actual management of interns. And those would probably summarize a lot of what you guys were saying too. Making sure they know how this whole thing works, that they understand the complexity of my grants, the complexity of my organization, that they understand the grant writing process, et cetera, et cetera, and then the actual management of interns.

For some people, management comes fairly easily. They treat it like a coaching or a mentorship opportunity. And that's what I would encourage you to do is to really think about it more in that way with a little bit of administrative stuff rolled in. And I've got an example agenda for you in just a moment as well.

My advice around training is before you bring an intern on board, to make sure that you have already organized your materials. Because there's nothing more frustrating than when someone can't find something and they keep knocking on your door every five minutes to find the thing that you thought you had, and you didn't put it in the right spot, and all of that stuff.

So, just prepare a little bit. Make it your spring cleaning day where you get your structure in place. “This is what I want this part to look like. This is my expectation at this time.” Get any samples together of past grants that you have written so they have access to similar data points that you've used, and that kind of thing.

And I have a training--I have a training gift for you. So, you can use this training that I have for you at no cost. And I'm going to share that with you at the end of this. So, stay tuned for that training gift.

My best advice on management is to have structured supervision. Interns already--I'm sorry, social workers are already required to have that for about an hour a week. But even just 15, 30-minute touch points is super beneficial, especially if you're remote. My interns have found just 30 minutes every week, who aren't social workers, to be an excellent time to come to me with questions. I make them prepare an agenda, which is what I have for you here.

They prepare an agenda. They tell me what questions they have, what resources they might need, what skills they still feel iffy about or they want to improve. And then we go over some other comments from me, other tasks, updates, and things like that. This not only structures your supervision time to be more around coaching and mentorship, but it really empowers them to talk to their supervisors in a completely different way.

My interns have gone on to their next job in finding that their co-workers are struggling, especially in remote work, struggling to get information they need from their supervisors. And it turns out they're just not talking to their supervisors, because no one taught them how.

So if you want to take this agenda and use it in your agencies, test it out with your first intern, tweak it so it meets your needs. This doesn't have to be a Bible. We get to meet your needs. This is what we have found being very beneficial.

I want to talk about some benefits for your interns. Right? Most of this that we're talking about today is how it can help your agency. If you're doing this right, how can this help you in the work that you do? But interns are coming to learn. That is the point of the internship that they are gaining experience. And so, you're providing that for them. 

And coaching them along the way is going to show them so much more than they would ever figure out if they were just watching YouTube video after YouTube video, or going to various webinars or watching replays. Right? So, they receive this coaching. They receive this mentorship. They get a lot of support.

And one of the big things that I find is modeling. You're showing them how things work. You're showing them how this happens. And some of that is just cultural, organization and culture. You're showing them how this happens in a real life setting. It's not just A, B, C, D, we're done. There's this back and forth. There's these nuances and what a healthy agency looks like, what a healthy position looks like. And those are things that you get to offer. And they take on to their next placement. They take on to their next job. And hopefully down the line, we're seeing that improvement and that change in our agencies.

I just saw Scrum in the chat, and I love that you did that. I love Scrum and I love Agile. If you're not familiar with them, I use a project management tool called ClickUp. And ClickUp has these very helpful blogs that talk about Scrum and Agile, and some other project management methods that are actually very helpful in managing your team on top of just managing the task.

Agile and nonprofits, great. Thank you, Yvonne. Oh, we have a ClickUp lover. I like saying that. Some potential for you. We've already talked about some of these. And again, I spent a little bit too much time on my soapbox earlier. So potential for you, obviously, your interns are bringing you new ideas. They are a brand new brain in your work setting. And they can see things a little bit differently.

I've had interns come and they're like, “Hey, I heard that state appropriations could be a way for us to get funding on building this building that I've heard the board talk about.” Have you guys looked at that? No, Anna, we have not talked about that. That's an excellent idea. Can you get me more information? And so, she did.

And now, my agent, one of my agencies, we're going through the state and federal appropriations process. It looks very promising that we're going to get $8 million to build our own facility instead of being in one room of a school. This is for senior services. And it's going to be an amazing improvement. Stay tuned for that.

So, they have new ideas. They come with good questions, some questions that we just maybe didn't think of our work in that way. We didn't think to frame something in that way. Maybe it's not something we've ever had to explain before and to put into words, but their just natural curiosity really pushes us to be better professionals, to be better writers, to work harder for our clients and our agencies. And so, they have great, great questions.

If you're using interns who are part of a university currently, whether they're actually doing it through a program or not, if they are in school, students at university have access to fundraising portals. Foundation Directory Online is one of the more common ones. But they have access to databases of journals that have evidence-based practices, and the latest research trends, and all of this other stuff that you would have to rely on abstracts for in Google Scholar. And so, leveraging your interns to help with that research is just huge potential for you.

Tuning in with emerging trends. If they stay, I mentioned this in the event description. If they stay, they are now familiar with your agency. They are familiar with your data, with your storage, and how to find things on their own. They're pretty autonomous by the end of their internship, potentially even able to train your next volunteer or interns. And so, if they stay on board with you after that, they're completely trained and ready to go.

I have that with one of my current interns. She is making associates pay because she's so beneficial to me right now. I pay her at my associate’s level. And she is staying on with me after she graduates. She is just perfect for the next step in my business. She can write grants. She can work with interns. She's going to start after she fully graduates with a BSW intern just to get her feet wet. And we're going to go from there. So, completely trained and ready to help me scale what I'm doing. That's Anna too. We love Anna. And then as mentioned before in the previous slide, we can grow from them too. There's just a lot that we can learn from them.

One of the harder things with interns needing this extra coaching administration and management that I have found, I do a whole other course on actual supervision. It's through our executive progress initiative where I train emerging leaders, and even established leaders how to supervise better, how to be a better leader in their work. And so, this is a feedback template that I have for the supervisor. All right?

I think next I have--oh, I don't have that. I didn't put it in here. I meant to put that nugget in here. I have feedback templates on what you can give to your interns. And then I asked that you, at the end of their internship, ask for feedback. Because like I said, there's a lot that we can learn from them too, how interns learn, what were their expectations, how was that met, how is it not met? Right? And so, this is an example of what I have used in the past to get that feedback. So, I improve, right? Interns can help me improve just as much as we're helping them.

Question on how we access these templates. If you download these slides after the presentation, I believe Dionna is going to cover that again. But you'll have those in there or you can reach out and talk to me directly. If it ends up too small, I'm happy to share the full workbook with you if you reach out to me.

All right. So, some tasks that you can have them do. Start with having them proofread a proposal. Right? I would not recommend that they go right to grant writing because they don't know very much about your agency beyond your website. Have them proofread a proposal. This gets them used to your language, your data. It gets them used to what a grant might look like, especially the type of grant that you go for.

Some nonprofits are really focused on Community Foundations, and some of them are very focused on government grants. Those are two different beasts. And so, allowing your interns to proofread first allows them to take the next step and research more about the population. Okay. So now, I understand this is happening with your project. And I can research if there's been other interventions like this. And that gets them deeper doing literature reviews for you, and things of that nature.

A literature review, if you're not familiar, is a synthesis of information. So if we're going to look up stuff on home delivered meals, they'll write one to two pages based on research that they found in their databases and journals, and things like that on data points you could use on home delivered meals, just as an example. So, they can research your population and researcher intervention.

They can start obtaining quotes for program costs. I typically don't have interns write budgets. There's too much that goes into that. And there's a lot of administrative things that I need to figure out formulas for. However, if there are program costs that I know I'm going to have, can you find me three quotes for a desk? Can you find me a quote for a power washer? We're working on an initiative with a nonprofit that uses football coaching as a way to build life skills. He wanted to be one of those. I don't even know what it's called. But those things that you see quarterbacks run into and they have to push this fake person back? I don't know what it's called. And so, I ask my intern to look up what it was called and to what it might cost.

Blocking flood. Thank you.

Brainstorm your smarter goals and objectives. Integrate your data into a narrative. So at this point, you're getting them practicing those skills by starting to write the narrative. You see how we're building up to that point?

Interns are so helpful at leveraging technology, especially if you are--if you're using younger interns, they're likely, and university interns, they're likely learning emerging tools. They're super helpful. And the best example, one of my two examples for you is ChatGPT. So if you have not used ChatGPT, I have used it to help with logic models. I've used it for smart goals. And it was my intern’s idea for me to explore this.

It had been on my shelf ever since I heard about it. Maybe I should look into this. And when she mentioned it, I was like, “Okay. Well, I'll look into it.” So, I asked her. What are three smart goals that we could adapt to? And you can see how it starts by giving this example. And it actually gave me all three. We could ask follow-up questions to adjust it. Never just copy and paste from ChatGPT. It is a copy paste tweak kind of tool. But it can be very helpful, and your interns know some of the things that are out there.

Another tool that I have had my interns leverage on my behalf is actually Instrumentl. And so, actually, I'm going to turn it over to Dionna. She's going to show you in depth the demo, or at least more than I could do on the slide, of this. So, Dionna, would you mind sharing your screen?

Dionna: Yes. Thank you so much, Marie. Let me--spotlight and share my screen. Just give me one second.

Alrighty. Can you see my screen? Thumbs up?

Marie: Yes.

Dionna: Okay, perfect. Thank you so much. Okay.

So, Marie, you had such good points on how interns can be a great addition to your grant team. And I just want to show you some of Instrumentl’s functionality where interns may be able to help out and how you can utilize Instrumentl to work with them.

And so, here we have on the screen is your Instrumentl account when you log in, there's two main tabs for each of your projects. You have the matches tab, which we're on right now. And then you have the tracker tab, which we're going to flip to in just a second. You can see that here.

So starting in the matches tab, here, you will see all the opportunities that Instrumentl has matched you for a specific project. And one of the awesome ways that you can have intern support your team is, and assuming that your interns are trained and up-to-speed on what your org does and what sort of opportunities you're looking for, you can have them actually take this initial set of matches and sift through these funding opportunities and look at the information that we have on each funder and save opportunities to your tracker, as you can see here below on the bottom right.

So basically, having them narrow down your matches even more so you have less matches to work with that are really good fits for your organization. So, what you could do potentially is give them certain parameters to look for, maybe you want them to save grants that are above X amount or that mention X, Y, or Z and then have them read through this funding opportunity here on the right. We have the overview of the grant opportunity, as well as more information on the funder itself via the 990 report that we have on file.

And this is an awesome opportunity for them to read through and really sift through all of the data that we're providing, whether that is their average grant amount that this funder is giving. If you scroll down, you can see more information on their grant amounts.

Past grantees, this is an awesome one to have interns help out on having them look at other organizations this vendor has given to and seeing if they align. So, having them, let's say, click into all these different organizations. And then you can have them, depending on if an opportunity is one that you want to move forward on, you can have them type in what they saw in this funder opportunity that really stuck out to them and why they think this might be a good opportunity for your organization to really go for and have them actually save this opportunity, which will go into your tracker tab, which I want to show you now.

So moving into this tracker, the other side of Instrumentl here is a really awesome place just to see all the things that you have going on for certain projects. And one of the challenges of award management and grant management in general is just keeping track of everything and keeping everyone on the same loop and getting all of your stakeholders involved in the process. And so, that's really what this tracker is intended to help with. And have like a central area of truth where all of your opportunities lie.

So, let's see here. I’ll give you a visual. So, here is the opportunity -- one sec. Here's one opportunity that I thought was really great. They saved this opportunity and added it here. Here is the actual opportunity that you have for this funding opportunity. And this really just keeps track of all the information about the funder with this opportunity so that you can really stay up-to-date on all the things that you need to do in order to win this money.

What you’ll hear is we have -- in this opportunity, we have the funding opportunity overdue. There's just there for -- I’m seeing a little bit of a lag myself with the internet. So, excuse me if this is not loading as quickly as I'm talking about it.

We have an area to put dates and amounts like when you want to submit, how much you're requesting. There is a tab here in the resources. We got the famous spinning color wheel. So, that's never a good sign. Okay. We have document sources so you can keep track of funder portal information and documents that are related to your grants. And one tool that we have here is tasks. And this is really where I see your interns getting involved with. And these are tasks associated with the funding opportunity.

For example, we have one task set up here with -- one second. Bear with me.

Sorry about this, you all. My internet is really choosing the wrong way to not be cooperative today. Okay. So hopefully, you can see this now. But clicking into a specific task, you can see a task type. We have everything from pre-submittal of a grant to all of the posts and grant management tasks that might be involved in your funding opportunity. You can have a description.

So for this instance, the LOI is due on May 30th. And then you have the deadline here. And then you can actually assign different people and have different collaborators added to a task. So let's say you want to add one of your interns to your Instrumentl account, you can actually assign them this task and they'll get emails associated straight to their inbox so that they can stay up-to-date on all the things.

So, I just want to show you a couple final things before I hand it back to Marie to finish up. And so, we can jump into the Q&A. But another really, really awesome feature that we have here in Instrumentl is the report option. So, we have four different reports that you can pull and download from your Instrumentl account.

And this is really, really awesome, specifically for folks that you are reporting to or that might not have access to your Instrumentl account, let's say interns, like you have a bunch of interns that aren't on your actual account. You can pull these really awesome reports of tasks and contacts and whatnot. And there's clickable links in there that folks can access and make sure that they're up-to-date and all the things. So, that is another really awesome way that you can have interns be involved.

But that was a lot of information at once. And again, sorry for the technical difficulties. I will link here in the chat in a second an opportunity for you to create your free 14-day trial. If you're interested in trying out Instrumentl for yourself and seeing what it's all about, I will pop that in the chat as well.

Best Practices page, which has in depth videos for all things on how to use Instrumentl. So, going into more depth on the little things I touched on today if you are interested in seeing more there. But with that, what I'm going to do is share my screen. And I'm going to pass it back to Marie here in just one sec.

Marie: Great.

Dionna: I’ll pass it back to you, Marie.

Marie: So just to recap, we covered a lot of different things today around how interns can help you and how you can help interns. I want to just make sure that we're going to simplify those five steps that we promised in the title so we're not just clickbait. We can actually say this is what we covered.

So first, if you're ready for an internship, you've done that free work, start asking your trusted sources to refer interns to you. So, university partners have been an awesome source for me. Perhaps have some other trusted sources, trusted sources to help you find your first intern as you develop your program.

Interview any candidates that you have. Really treat this like another job, another position that you're filling. Interview those candidates so you're on the same page about what's going to be expected and what's expected on both sides, really. Train those newbies. And everybody, as they're coming into your agency, is going to be new in some way. So, maybe they've had grant writing prospecting experience, right? Maybe in their earlier years, they've had some work doing that. Maybe they've worked on narratives, but they haven't searched for new opportunities and started building those relationships with funders. So maybe you have them trained up more in that arena. Give them assignments, start with some of those proofreading things, move on to writing. Do prospecting when you're ready.

I wouldn't recommend -- so when it comes to prospecting, I definitely use my interns to help find new leads. And maybe they initiate a conversation. But I strongly recommend agencies be in charge of that relationship. So if this intern is not someone that you are going to be keeping, I would build the relationship with a program officer, initially yourself. But have them shadow that experience still because that's really valuable to see and bring to other agencies. Give them feedback, ask for feedback, and then repeat this process. These are the five core steps that we work on at Kovir.

If you can go to the next slide, please?

And the most interesting man in the world has these encouragements for you because you got this. Interns positively impact your grant processes. Interns can positively impact your agencies, and utilizing interns is completely doable. If we need to have another conversation more in depth on supervision of interns, I am here for it. If you want to have more conversations about how I can make sure my intern is using chatGPT ethically, I'm here for it.

But utilizing interns is doable. And everyone is going to benefit positively from this relationship. And so, I just highly recommend that you consider expanding your work using interns.

Next slide, please?

If you would like to follow up with me, feel free to email me directly. I don't have anyone in my email. It's me. So if I respond, it's me responding to you. My main website is kovir@org. And each of our initiatives have their own website as well. And so, grant confidence building an individual's or organization’s confidence around grant writing. And that process is here.

And then Grant App Review is another service that we use. We use interns to really get that work done for agencies. If you want us to review a grant application, that's one of the proofreading things that I have my interns start with, and it helps compensate for their internship. My LinkedIn address. And then, of course, if you would like to use this code to start your 14-day trial for Instrumentl and a $50 off code here as well.

Next slide, please? My gift to you is the Grant Confidence videos. Initially, when I made them, I called it DIY grant writing because I believe anyone can learn how to do grant writing. I really, really believe that. And so, I have videos available to the community at no cost. You are welcome to use them for yourself. You're welcome to use them to train your interns. You can use these free videos as training for your team members to go through this process.

Each video has its own button. And so, you can watch it sequentially, which is how I made it and how I would really encourage most people to go through it. But every once in a while, you might just need a refresher or hone in in a certain area. And so, that link to that is here.

As you go through those videos, it gives you worksheets from my workbook that go along with that topic. So my gift to you, I really want you to use interns. And I'm trying to make it as easy as possible for you. Dionna, do you want to talk about the freebie that Instrumentl has today?

Dionna: Yes, absolutely. Thank you.

And I know we're over time. So, folks have to head out. Right now, we will have the replays right now after this if you want to get this information. But here is the link to access your freebies in the chat.

In addition to Marie's Grant Confidence book, we are also giving away 10 Best Lessons From 10 Grant Writing Experts guide. So, all you have to do is complete the actions here and then click that link in the chat in order to get access to these awesome resources.

We are at time. And so, we are unfortunately not going to have time for the live Q&A. But we do have Marie’s follow-up information here on this previous slide that I'm going to go back to. And I'm also going to pop my email in the chat one second so that if folks want to follow up with this after, whether it's a specific question for me, Marie, or if you have a specific question about Instrumentl, please don't hesitate to send us an email. We'll make sure to answer that after.

But with that, I want to just say a final thank you to Marie for sharing with us today and everyone in the audience for tuning in and being engaged throughout the presentation and asking really awesome questions. Don't hesitate to reach out with your questions so we can make sure that we get everyone's answers. With that, Marie, any other final words before we close out for today?

Marie: No. I'm available for a few minutes if anyone wants to send an email or stay on and chat. I don't know. Dionna, can we stay on chat if anyone needs it?

Dionna: Yeah, absolutely. We can hang back. I'll stop the recording and everything and folks are welcome to head out. But Marie and I can stay back for a couple minutes to answer any questions that folks might have.

Marie: Great. Thank you, everyone.

Dionna: Thank you so much. And I'm also going to pop in the chat a link to our upcoming grant workshops, if you love this one and want to check out some more.

Create Your Instrumentl Account

Never tried Instrumentl?

Find and win more grants for your nonprofit!
Start saving 3 hours a week and increase your grant applications by 78%.

Try 14-days free

Get access to weekly advice and grant writing templates

Get access to weekly advice and grant writing templates

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

10k+ grant writers have already subscribed

Instrumentl team

Instrumentl team

Instrumentl is the all-in-one grant management tool for nonprofits and consultants who want to find and win more grants without the stress of juggling grant work through disparate tools and sticky notes.

Become a Stronger Grant Writer in Just 5 Minutes

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

17,502 Open Grants Waiting For You

Find grant opportunities to grow your nonprofit

Try 14 days free

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.

Read Ebook

Related posts

Try Instrumentl

The best tool for finding & organizing grants

128 reviews | High Performer status on g2.com

Try free for 14 days