By: Korie Marshall
Donnie MacLean is new to the grant writing position at the Village, but she’s certainly not new to the village.
“I like doing internet research, and I like helping people,” says MacLean about why she was interested in the position. “I would like to see the greatest amount of wealth come back to Valemount and lead us on to good things, and if I can help with that, I’d like to.”
“One of the reasons the Village picked Donnie is because she is a long term resident. She knows so many different organizations,” says Lori McNee, the Village’s Director of Finance. “And she has lots of writing skills.”
MacLean has three years towards a degree in English Literature from the Okanagan University College through the Open Learning Institute. She also has a two-year diploma in Occupational Health and Safety from BCIT.
“That was online and required a lot of internet research, looking into legislation, and a lot of writing,” says MacLean. She has also been doing technical writing for years and has taken workshops like “Shaking the Money Tree” at UNBC, a two day course on successful grant writing.
MacLean’s job is to help local non-profits and societies, as well as local government, with researching, writing and submitting grant applications. She has records from the previous grant writer, Sarah Thorn, so if there is something that may have been put on the back burner for your organization last year, MacLean would have the records. She is already working with a few organizations, helping them steer to get qualified for funding opportunities. But she can’t do everything. People and organizations have to be prepared to do some of the work and research on their own.
“I want to be the one that says yes, you qualify, we can do this,” says MacLean. But that might mean you have to go back and get some things in order first. Some of her biggest advice is to give yourself a lot of time, because many funders want to give you the money, but they may need some small details in your application sorted out. If you apply early, they are often able to help you with those details, but they usually can’t if your application goes in at the last minute.
And one more piece of advice – “The closer you are to the deadline for funding, the more critical it is to have your organization’s corporate records and finances in order and ready to present,” says MacLean.
MacLean says she will have usual hours in Council Chambers in the afternoons on Thursday and Friday, but she is very flexible. She knows a lot of people and groups have different work situations and commitments, and she can get together whenever and wherever works for you. You can also reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org and by phone at 250-566-3156. She may be reaching out to you as well.
“All of these projects are valuable to the community,” says MacLean. There may be things that you didn’t even know she can help you with.
The Grant Writer position is a part time position, funded again by Northern Development Initiative Trust and the Valemount Community Forest. Sarah Thorn left the position earlier this year when she moved away. Thorn took over the position from Janey Weeks last year, when Weeks took on more work with the Valemount Community Forest, and the position was moved to the Village. NDIT provides funding for local grant writers in communities throughout the north each year, to help local non-profits with grant application research and writing and to pursue community funding priorities.