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Storytelling for Grantseekers: A Guide to Creative Nonprofit Fundraising Paperback – January 20, 2009

4.4 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

This second edition of the best-selling book Storytelling for Grantseekers contains all the resources and information needed to help craft a persuasive summary, package a compelling narrative story, and create a short story approach to letters of inquiry. Cheryl Clarke walks grantseekers through all the phases of developing an effective proposal and highlights the creative elements that link components to each other and unify the entire proposal. Clarke also stresses the larger grantseeking effort, one that emphasizes preparation, working with the entire development staff and board of directors, and maintaining positive relations with funders. Using this resource, new and seasoned grantseekers will discover how to channel their passion and creativity to tell their organization's tale and create winning proposals.

Completely revised and updated, this new edition contains:

  • A collection of new illustrative examples

  • Exercises that incorporate the storytelling approach

  • Suggestions for planning and hosting successful site visits

  • A helpful example of a full narrative proposal

  • Information about how the storytelling approach applies to other fundraising communications such as appeal letters and case statements

Praise for the Second Edition of Storytelling for Grantseekers

"Clarke's book is easy to read and follow, and her contention that grantmakers will be persuaded by a compelling story that demonstrates both knowledge of program and need for funding is spot-on."
Catherine Fisher, trustee, The Thomas J. Long Foundation

"Cheryl Clarke breaks down the steps of writing a successful grant proposal and makes the entire process as natural as that of sharing the story of all the good work that our organizations do in the world."
Dorotea Reyna, director of development, California Institute of Integral Studies

"I recommend her book to all my students."
Vivienne French, parttime faculty, Truckee Meadows Community College, Reno, Nevada

"My first edition is worn out from good use."
Jean Therrien, executive director, Neighborhood Family Practice

About the Author

Cheryl A. Clarke is a fundraising consultant with more than 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. She works with a wide range of nonprofit agencies to improve their fundraising capacity. Clarke is also a much-in-demand trainer and speaker and has presented at several international conferences of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 2 edition (January 20, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470381221
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470381229
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 0.7 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,395 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jeff Lippincott on January 1, 2009
Format: Paperback
I kinda liked this book. Until now I have made it a point to avoid writing a book review for any nonprofit fundraising books on grant writing. I guess I am breaking with tradition for this book because I see some redeeming value to it. The first edition for this book came out in 2001 and had two less chapters and no appendix. Also, chapters 2, 3 and 6 of the original edition have been reworked for the new edition.

I suspect Amazon will be posting a Search Inside feature for this book in the next month or so. As a result, I won't be listing the chapter titles here. However, if they are not listed then I encourage you to examine the Search Inside feature at Amazon for the first edition. See ISBN: 9780787956301. The new or updated chapters are:

2. Research & relationships: Finding & cultivating your audience
3. The short story: Writing letters of inquiry
6. Goals, objectives, & methods: Making changes by addressing the problem
11. Site visits & beyond: Interacting with funders
12. Beyond grants: Applying the storytelling method
A. The final manuscript: Two letter proposal samples

The book includes numerous examples of inquiry letters, introductions, location descriptions, cases for support (needs), goals-objectives-desired outcomes, and executive summaries. I found them all to be well done.

This book is all about how to make a grant proposal readable. And I wish it had stuck to that topic alone, because when it moved into the realm of research and packaging the grant proposal that is where I had problems. Two books that might be of interest to the reader of this book are: "What's Your Story?" (ISBN: 9780132277426), and "Developing Your Case for Support" (ISBN: 9780787952457).
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Format: Paperback
Storytelling for Grantseekers: A Guide to Creative Nonprofit Fundraising

Grantwriting books are, unfortunately, often as confusing and tedious as the process itself. Clarke's book, "Storytelling for Grantseekers" is a welcome reprieve from the jargon-laden books that have been the standard-bearers for the past 20 years or so. From the conversational tone to the organization of the book, she's made it easy to follow, with real examples that clearly illustrate her points.

Most metaphors only go so far, but in storytelling Clarke has found perhaps the best way of explaining in comprehensive terms the process of writing a proposal. She doesn't take the idea too far; instead, she relates it in concrete, reasonable terms without oversimplifying the process. Clarke's storytelling model would also work well in a grantwriting course or workshop. She takes a common-sense approach to explaining some of the more arcane aspects of grantwriting, and brings humor into the process without sounding trite or condescending.

Especially important and unique to Clarke's approach are the budget and cash-flow sections. Instead of presenting a budget as a 'necessary evil' that is secondary to writing the proposal, she argues that the budget is essentially a translation of the proposal into numbers, and is equally important in telling a nonprofit's story. She offers clear explanations and provides effective tools and examples to follow. Most nonprofits do not take the important step of creating a cashflow chart for their organization. In these lean times, cashflow is critical to ensure a program or project's success.
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The book does provide some useful information for grantseekers. I currently work on the grantmaking side of grant writing and agree with the author on certain things to be aware of, include in proposals, etc. I gave it four stars because the writing is a little cheesy and sometimes I find myself weeding through the non-informative stuff to find the good stuff. Overall and easy and informative read for someone starting out in grantseeking/fundraising.
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This is the second time I am reading this wonderful guide to grantwriting. It's an excellent resource for grant writers, fundraisers and other nonprofit professionals seeking grants. Cheryl Clarke uses the art of storytelling as a framework for writing grants. It's a great way to get your grant in front of funders. I highly recommend this guide.
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I loved this book. It was interesting and full of writing information to make the proposals more interesting. By using the storytelling method, the proposal will be easier to read and more natural. However, it doesn't take away from the technical material that has to be in the proposal.

I would recommend this book to anyone writing proposals. It will add to the skills that a technical writers already has. It is very easy to read. I didn't want to stop reading it.
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I just started grant writing and this is one of my top favorite books because it helps with developing more creative letters and proposals. I would have liked to have seen more examples of Letters of Inquiries. There are also other grant writing books out there too. One of my other favorites is "The only grant writing book you'll ever need".
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