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More and more funding agencies are requiring “Sustainability” as part of proposal submission and they give points to the proposal if you successfully describe it. But, sustainability in the grant world is not being green, developing clean energy or reducing global warming.

What helps proposals stand out from the rest? I would venture to say that accurate data, when presented graphically, is potentially the winning edge. Terms that have been bandied about in recent years are “data dashboards” and “infographics.”

Recently, our external grant evaluator met with our project team and advisory board and identified the need for early planning for dissemination of our findings even though we were only 1/6th of the way into our project.

Funded: Grants Office Monthly NewspaperI have always enjoyed writing the “Needs” sections of proposals, since it sets the stage for the rest of the proposal and actually grabs the reader’s attention. Researching and substantiating compelling needs is one of the most important elements in a successful proposal.

Grants.gov: Find. Apply. Succeed.I subscribe to a Grants.gov e-mail list for new announcements for various federal grants. Since I receive daily announcements regarding a variety of grants from multiple agencies, I am struck with the fact that there are so many grant opportunities for Indian tribes.

Next Generation Learning ChallengesMany years ago, I was asked to be a proposal reviewer for the California Arts Council. I remember that I was selected to be on the “Artist in the Schools Panel,” which had an allocated amount of $250,000 for that year’s funding. There were five of us reviewers selected to be on this particular panel. We were each mailed forty-five proposals, which we had to screen and rank according to the proposal criteria given us by the Arts Council staff.

During the last year there has been a paradigm shift in the grant world. It is an offshoot of social networking giants Facebook and Twitter and it is changing the dynamics of the grant funding process via technology.

American Evaluation AssociationI recently completed my first formal internal evaluation for a large federal grant. This process piqued my interest in evaluation, since I usually use a generic evaluation design for proposals I write which was given to me by a project evaluator some 30 years ago.

Hamlet's Blackberry: A Practical Philosophy for Building a Good Life in the Digital AgeRecently a friend of mine told me about a book that he read and thought that I might be interested in. "Hamlet’s BlackBerry: A Practical Philosophy for Building a Good Life in the Digital Age," by William Powers. I got onto the Internet and immediately ordered it.

I consider myself a “Digital Neophyte,” rather than a “Digital Native” as my daughter’s generation of 20-30 year olds is known. According to Powers, this generation has always been around “screens,” be they computer, cell or other integrated devices. I am of an older generation, one that enjoys a stroll in the park, without being plugged into an iPod or carrying a vibrating cell phone to distract me from the sounds and beauty of nature.

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