Guest Blog Post by Elaine Navarro, owner of Just Look Left, Creative Grant Consulting
A Day in the Life – What is Grant Consulting?
In all my time as a grown-up, I have always been that person in my circle of friends who is the go-to for all things requiring any amount of information-gathering or research. We need a fun spot for dinner this weekend that has a killer outdoor patio and great drink selection. Ask Elaine. I cannot remember if that one store that we visited that one time is still open and what their Tuesday hours are. Ask Elaine. So-and-so needs guidance on the best artists to work with in the PNW who specialize in abstract graffiti art. Ask Elaine. I think you get the picture. Even if I don’t know the answer off the top of my head, researching until I’ve overwhelmed you with all the options uncovered on my information-seeking quest is something I find insanely fulfilling – and of course, I love being considered a trusted and valued resource!
Grant consulting is a little bit like that. It’s a treasure hunt really. That’s a huge part of why I started Just Look Left – Creative Grant Consulting. I get to work with awesome organizations that are doing awesome things and it’s my job to figure out which equally awesome funders out there might consider funding this type of work through grant support. Pretty cool, huh? Say you’re working with a nonprofit who specializes in providing outdoor recreation experiences for children with developmental challenges and they need help figuring out what grant opportunities are out there for them. This is where the fun begins (in my opinion.) How do you help this worthy organization find out what opportunities exist in this great big world to fund their important work to ultimately fulfill their mission? Research – and lots of it! But where do we even begin? Do you focus on finding funders that support children, or mental health, or nature/outdoors? Yes, yes to all of the above. Do you query for funding alignment using a simple Google search, a paid database, foundation 990 forms, or on the websites of comparable/similar organizations? Again – yes, yes, yes, and yes. Before you know it, you may have a listing of 10-20 funders worth pursuing that have funding priorities that align well with the work that you are doing! But, as is commonplace in the consulting world – this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Depending upon the organization and your agreed upon scope of work, as a grant consultant you could then be asked to write the grant proposals themselves or help the organization build relationships with these funders. You could be asked to assist in the grant reporting, evaluation of grant funded projects/programs, or in the drafting of marketing collateral to highlight recent grant wins. Or you could be asked to continue researching and prospecting potential funding sources to build out a grant calendar to create a cultivation pipeline covering the next 12 to 18 months. Are you still reading along and interested in more details on any of the aforementioned items? Well maybe I’ll be invited back for another guest blog post (*wink wink*) and we can take a deeper dive! Or even better, reach out to me and we can chat further. Check out my website or follow me on Instagram to learn more about what I do and the services that I offer.
Story of the “Just Look Left” Name
Just Look Left comes from an epic mother/daughter adventure in Europe back in summer 2017. My mom and I were meandering through the streets of Barcelona, London, and Reykjavík and continued to stumble upon these amazing little gems off the beaten path, tucked away in quaint neighborhoods. These finds were not your average tour guidebook recommendations and ended up being some of our favorite memories from this trip. We would find these places, more often than not, by “just looking left” down alleys and side streets when we were walking around the more populous areas of town. When we got home, I purchased the URL justlookleft.com with the intention of starting a unique food and beverage guided tour in my hometown’s downtown core. Instead, I sat on the URL for a few years and then struggled to find a name for my grant consulting business. Then, it clicked. Although the subject matter for Just Look Left is entirely different from what I first envisioned, the intent is the same – work with an open mind and desire to discover and you never know where you might encounter the most incredible opportunities.