A Nonprofit’s Volunteers part 2

I previously wrote a blog post about volunteers. This post is a different take on the subject.

A grant writer should learn about the volunteers who help a nonprofit. As an example, many companies provide grants where the employee volunteers. A grant writer only needs the volunteer’s permission to use their employee number.

On applications, a grant writer should note the number of volunteers and hours worked, even if not required. The more volunteers there are, the stronger the justification since it shows community support.

However, data on volunteers should be explained in relation to the size of the nonprofit. The number of volunteers and hours worked are only relative to the number of people helped by the nonprofit. A few volunteers for a small nonprofit are just as good as larger numbers in a bigger nonprofit.

Volunteers are crucial to the success of a nonprofit. Without them, labor costs soar to levels that are difficult to justify. To learn about volunteers, a grant writer should talk to the volunteer coordinator.

If this position is not filled or does not exist, there may be no need to get grants. Without management of the volunteers, the nonprofit’s primary labor source is unstable. Who will reliably help perform the mission? Foundations do not want to fund only labor.

Fortunately, most nonprofits have some management of their volunteers or they would not be around for long. Writing about volunteers in a grant application is an easy way to help justify the need for funding.

I did not form an LLC

In a previous blog post, I stated how I was forming a limited liability company (LLC) to publish my books. For the LLC, I completed the short application and long operating agreement, then decided to see what the wizard Google had to say about all of this (you would think I would have done this first).

I originally got the idea from podcasts and articles by authors who publish multiple books. They made me think it would be a good idea to start off self-publishing under the umbrella of a company. “Treat your writing like a business,” they proclaimed.

From my advisor Google, I found articles from authors and others who questioned the advantages of an LLC. At least for beginning authors. Most people publish under a sole proprietorship, meaning they are personally responsible and liable for everything.

Forming a company does not necessarily isolate an author from liability. However, liability was not the reason I considered an LLC.

It was to help me be serious about self-publishing and treat it like a business. I rethought my decision after one author wrote about the need for beginning authors to minimize expenses.

Forming an LLC in North Carolina cost $125. The annual report (really a tax) is $200 a year. This also got me thinking about complications since every year I would need to file a report (and the tax forms!).

Self-publishing is already complicated enough. Did I really want to add to my already complicated self-publishing attempt with managing an LLC?

I decided not to form one. I’ll still treat my self-publishing like a business. However, first I’ll get my books published and see where that goes. Hopefully, someone will read what I wrote.

Grant Writers Should Write Grants Only

After writing a grant, the writer should never be involved in receipt of the grant money or reporting on how the money was spent. This is the nonprofit’s responsibility.

I haven’t researched this ethical issue, this is my personal view. A grant writer should establish boundaries of what they will do for a nonprofit. Anything up to the point of submission can be the grant writer’s responsibility. Submission must be made by the executive director. After that, I think the grant writer’s responsibilities should be as a consultant, only.

  • For a nonprofit: a dishonest writer receiving grant money has all kinds of opportunities to take some of the money. They know all the details about the submission. Reporting on the grant money and a writer can control who receives the money and create false reports.
  • For a grant writer: other people can accuse the writer of dishonesty when it is someone else who is dishonest.

The grant writer should make sure the nonprofit understands the reporting process and procedures. Then, it is the nonprofit’s responsibility to correctly receive and account for the grant money. The nonprofit should report on how the money was spent.

Grant writers need to stay in their lane of responsibility. They find the opportunities and write the grants. To do anything else presents risks for the grant writer and nonprofit.

Anti-Clean Language

This blog post is about writers using profanity (obscenity, swearing, cussing, etc.). Are these words necessary in a story?

I think some profane words are all right in a novel if the words are part of the character’s personality. When a writer uses profanity everywhere, the novel is about the writer expressing a particular side of their personality. It’s not about the story.

I do not read books with excessive profanity (or graphic violence, I have the evening news for that). I think too much profanity pollutes the story with wordiness. The use of profanity can distract a reader and become a list of profane words without purpose.

Also, I find too much profanity boring. Yeah, the writer knows a lot of swear words, but can they write anything else? A writer who focuses on profane words is not focusing on the story.

If a writer uses profanity, how far should they go in the selection of words? I resent writers who use words that are anti-religious, racist, provoke ridicule, or are derogatory. Even if they keep within the character, I think this is unnecessary. If a writer wants the reader to know this about the character, they should do that in the story through active voice.

Profanity should not be the focus of the story. It should be the characters, plot, story line, and other elements in the story that make a good telling. Of course, there are readers who enjoy excessive profanity and do not care about the choice of words. That is not for me.

I’m interested in the story, plot, and characters. I enjoy word usage, style, and technique. Qualities I have never found in a novel with a list of profane words.