Author Archive: Stanley

PowerPoint for Money

This is not to be death by PowerPoint (too many slides with too much text). This is presenting information in a different way that could be easily read.

Usually a nonprofit explains their needs through a grant application. Other ways can be through letters. A PowerPoint presentation gives the reader a different reading experience.

I have done many PowerPoint presentations in my Pentagon career. To be effective, a presentation should contain talking points, summaries, and general descriptions. I allow for white space on each page with few words, wide margins, and large fonts. Yes, it can be hard to describe a project and needs with this limited space.

One way is by listing all the project’s keywords, prioritizing them, getting rid of redundancies, and making them into sentences without adverbs, adjectives, or modifiers. When finished, I organize the slides such as I did recently (seven slides).

  • Self explanatory title with brief summary of the project (logo in top corner)
  • Introduction/Background (what the nonprofit does)
  • Importance of the project (impact to people and/or community)
  • Objective (where this project is going and how will it get there)
  • The Need (details about what is needed)
  • What the need will accomplish (relates back to the objective)
  • Summary with who to contact (it will be a sunshiny day in the end)

I do not mention dollars anywhere. Dollars allow for pre-judgements. The purpose of the presentation is to develop an interest in the project so the reader will ask for more information.

I make presentations that can be read. There may not be an opportunity to present it. A presentation can be given to people with influence over funding, such as politicians and government or business managers.

My presentation was to a politician who had influence with a foundation that excluded the nonprofit’s mission area. Maybe with a little push by the politician, a door could be opened, hopefully.

Pushing Toward Publication, Again

My blog post from two weeks ago exclaimed I would, “. . . work on uploading a new book size and cover into IngramSparks publishing.” My plan was to blog about this experience.

I did work on a new book size, but it was a pitiful amount of effort. My excuse I gave myself: I was finishing another book, which I really was doing. Yet, the real reason is that I’m overcome with caution about making my book available to more people. What would these people think about it?

The caution is stifling my motivation.

Without marketing, in KDP no one will look at my book. There are too many being published every day there. I may not find any readers on other publishing platforms, either. Why should I worry what people thing about my book when there may not be any readers to do that thinking?

I apologize for this being a whiny blog post. I have another two weeks when I hope to be blogging about my work on uploading a new book size and cover into IngramSparks publishing.

That sounds familiar. I think I might have heard it before.

Getting Emergency Grant Money

Grant money is slow to get. There’s the application period, evaluation phase by the foundation, approval (hopefully), and then a period of time before the nonprofit gets the check. What if a nonprofit needs money now?

The “now” can be some catastrophic event like a hurricane, wildfires, or a virus that affects a lot of people. When this happens, foundations send checks out of cycle and without the need for much paperwork. Yet, there are “now” events that affect only one nonprofit.

This is why relationships are important. But, don’t run to a foundation asking for help when something happens. Evaluate the emergency situation, gather facts and data, reasons for the emergency, and plans for a solution. It is very important to lay out all this information before meeting with the foundation’s board members.

A grant writer should write up a complete explanation with a way-ahead. Most people understand that emergencies occur; however, they are not willing to give money that may not solve the problem. The key is assuring confidence the emergency is under control.

The emergency may not be in total control by the nonprofit staff and leadership. Yet, it should be enough that there is a reasonable chance of success. Foundations (like most people) enjoy honesty.

I wrote this blog because of a recent similar experience. A nonprofit I worked with was renovating an historic building. Of course, old buildings do not like to be renovated. When they are opened, they reveal surprises.

I convinced the nonprofit staff to step back and evaluate the situation. The building was still standing (yeah!). The immediate goal was to keep it that way. We are in the process of collecting photographs, getting help from a local architect, and presenting our findings to a local foundation. A work in progress, but things look hopeful.

Size of the Book (Again)

I read recently a blog about book sizes. The blog author, and people commenting, generally agreed that a book size of 6X9 is considered amateurish whether self-published or by a press. My book is 6X9.

I went back over my notes and realized I ended up with 6X9 because KDP pushed me toward that size by making it the default. So, I am revisiting my book size.

I read that I should look at my genre, which makes sense. In young adult science fiction, the popular books are 5X8 or 5.5X8 or 5.5X8.5. So, I’m going to reduce my book size, but by how much?

I don’t want the page count higher than what I have (335 pages). I do have room to reduce the margins and line spacing while keeping enough white space on each page. This makes it easy to read, if someone ever reads it.

To reduce my book size, this week I will play with the inside format and bring the book size down. I’m going for 5.5X8. Also, I have a new cover!

My book designer through Reedsy came up with a design that I like. My plan is to leave KDP alone right now since that is working and work on uploading a new book size and cover into IngramSparks publishing.

The adventure continues.