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Jul 27, 2021

In this episode of Nonprofit Architect, Travis talks with Catherine Ashton.  Catherine tells us the three pillars to grow your grant program. She explains the importance of language choices, getting organized, and where to find the money. Catherine is passionate about helping nonprofits raise money. You will enjoy these conversations with Catherine. 

Conversation Highlights: 

{00:48} Introduction of guest and The Giant Squid Group 

{02:16} What you need to know before you write your first grant

{09:56} Pillar One: Have the best grant language  

{13:35} How to write your story in the grant proposal  

{16:28} Pillar number two:  Get organized. 

{20:34} Take care of your reputation: Do not burn bridges, meet deadlines, etc. 

{22:45} Pillar number three: Find the right grant opportunities. 

{27:11} What you can do with the money you receive from a grant.


Remarkable quotes: 

No one starts a non-profit because they love fundraising.

I do not need it when I have the money to qualify for their grant. I need it before I have the money to qualify for the grant. 

I try to write it for my third-grade neighbor, how do I explain it to my third-grade neighbor? 

If you got the newbie out there reading your grant application and he does not know the words that you are using, you have lost. It is an automatic no.

If you look at any sort of grant template online and they were boring, quite frankly.

People that are chronically late… It is not that you are late it's that you've told me that you don't care about me. 


 Bio: Catherine Ashton

Catherine Ashton is on a mission to change the way nonprofits raise money. As the founder of Giant Squid Group, Catherine works with start-up and small nonprofits in Austin, TX and Chicago, IL to land donors, win grants, and fund their works. With her coaching and support, her clients raise millions of dollars each year and have an incredible impact on their communities. 

Catherine is an experienced nonprofit leader with a dynamic background in fundraising and management. She has served as staff member, board member, coach, and facilitator and has a unique ability to help nonprofits tie together program impact, fundraising, and agency capacity. She is a sought-after coach, speaker, and strategist both locally and nationally, and specializes in helping organizations marry best practices and mission-aligned innovation to drive systems-level change. 

Catherine is an alumna of Kalamazoo College and a member of the Leadership Austin class of 2020. She is dedicated to promoting inclusivity and equity in the nonprofit sector and is involved in the Association of Fundraising Professionals IDEA committee, the Texas Community-Centric Fundraising group, the Young Women’s Alliance, and the Answer The Call Community. Catherine also serves on the Board of Directors for the Austin Diaper Bank, as well as local and national advisory boards. 

Catherine is an audiobook enthusiast, jigsaw puzzle aficionado, and home-cooking fiend. In her “outside of nonprofit work” life, Catherine spends time with her daughter, husband, lazy rescue pitbull Latke, and rescue cat, Artemis. 


At Giant Squid Group, we believe that even the smallest nonprofit can change the world. That’s why we help start-up and small nonprofit leaders become effective, confident fundraisers. Whether you want to land your first donor, launch a winning grants program, or grow your board of directors, Giant Squid Group will teach you how to raise the money you need, and provide you resources, support, and community along the way. 
We’ve helped dozens of nonprofits escape the feast or famine of haphazard fundraising so they can generate consistent revenue to support their mission. And now it’s your turn. 

Nonprofit Architect Podcast Links  





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