Michael Wells passed away in 2017. He was a leading supporter of the CharityChannel professional community and is greatly missed.

Michael had been consulting on grants since 1987, helping over one hundred nonprofit organizations as well as local governments, American Indian tribes and colleges to raise over $140 million. Clients of his consulting firm, Grants Northwest, included organizations in the arts, aging, alcohol and drug services, community action, the environment, healthcare, housing, women’s services, youth and minority services.

He had a Masters Degree in Humanities and was a Certified Fund Raising Executive and Grant Professional Certified. He taught grantwriting at Portland State University since 1992 and provided workshops for community groups. He was a presenter at national conferences for the Grant Professionals Association (GPA) for several years, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and the Council for Nonprofit Innovation. In the Pacific Northwest he presented or trained for Technical Assistance for Community Services (TACS), Willamette Valley Development Officers (WVDO), Puget Sound Grantwriter’s Association, CNRG and the Nonprofit Network of Southwest Washington as well as others.

On a national level, Michael was a former board member of GPA where he was Treasurer for four years and chaired the 2002 national conference in Portland. He was a board member and president of the Grant Professionals Certification Institute where he was heavily involved in developing the GPC certification process.

Michael is the author of Strategic Grantsmanship: It's Time to Raise Your Game (2015, CharityChannel Press). He was editor of the CharityChannel Press online Grants and Foundations Review for seven years and contributed several articles himself.

Michael loved to travel with his wife, Julie — favorite destinations included India, Bali, Machu Picchu, Europe, Thailand, and the Galapagos Islands as well as several places in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Michael was proud to tell his friends and colleagues that Julie was Oregon’s premier yoga teacher. Besides travel, they loved spending time with family and grandkids, dancing, and going to theater and dance performances.

Michael was a runner (dogged, if not fast, he would say) for over twenty-five years (his Hood to Coast team was the Running Dogs). He was a compulsive reader and generally had two or more books going at any given time. He also worked out, did some yoga, and meditated.

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Telling Funders about Yourself

Funders want to know who they’re being asked to support. In their guidelines they will generally ask for a section called “About the Applicant,” “Organizational History,” or something similar. The reason for this is simple and goes to the heart of the grants process: Funders want successful projects, and one indicator of future success is past accomplishment. A grant is a joint project shared by a funder (grantor) and the organization (grantee), and funders want to know who their partners will be. Many fundraising books call this the “credibility” section, because it’s where you convince the funder that your organization is able to carry out your project.

Should You Do Competitive Funder Research? Absolutely!

In business, each company needs to know what its competitors are doing and therefore conducts “competitive research” when developing a business plan and on an ongoing basis. You can do the same thing when searching for funders. Let’s say you work for a small liberal arts college and you’ve been successful with foundations in your…

Grants and Foundation Review gets Stimulus

About four years ago Larry Gallery, the founding editor of Grants and Foundation Review, called and said he was moving on and would I consider editing this review? I was astounded, honored and nervous — but said yes. And so began my journey into online journalism. They say if you want to learn something, teach…

This is Stimulating

[Editor's Note: This article was published initially on March 25, and re-published April 1 with a number of important changes.] ________________________________ The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), otherwise known as the Stimulus Package, is setting the grants world on its ear. As a consultant, I’m getting calls from legitimate clients with a…

The New 990 (and why it matters)

The IRS has dramatically revised the form 990 and its purpose, requiring many more nonprofits to file it and many more people to be involved in its preparation. Anyone working in nonprofits, including grantwriters, needs to be aware of these changes. Starting with the Sarbanes-Oxley act of 2002, the IRS has been getting increasingly involved…

No Grants & Foundation Review New Years Eve

Grants & Foundation Review will not be publishing December 31st (New Years Eve). Happy Holidays!