Praise for Hammer

Informed and conversational, this little gem of a book tells it like it is…and how it should be. This is the thinking person’s guide to reimagining the purpose of grant funding and how you can use it to achieve change. Floersch challenges everything you thought you knew about the world of grants, from how and why to seek them to their purpose and potential. She distills her decades of experience into this powerful little book to remind us that the best nonprofits work to achieve change and that securing grant funding is just one means to that end. Michael Renner, Strategist at Missouri Foundation for Health

Preparing grant proposals in an era of upheaval in the funding arena is somewhat bipolar. It has to be both precise and nuanced. In her book You Have a Hammer: Building Grant Proposals for Social Change, Floersch makes it clear this is an evolving society and changing the perception of the grantmaking process is going to take work. There are also some cornerstones of the practice that will outlive all of us. You don’t often get this much direction in a short tome. Paul Clolery, Editor-in-Chief of The NonProfit Times

Raising money for social change is more important than ever in an era of extreme inequality, ecological crisis, and growing threats to democracy. But even the most passionate advocates won’t find the funds needed to drive impact without first understanding grants as tools for pursuit of the common good. This book is a great place to start. David Callahan, Founder & Editor of Inside Philanthropy and author of The Givers

How often do you pick up a book on philanthropy and then simply can’t put it down? This small book is pure gold and a must read for anyone engaged in grants development. Really quite brilliant in its simplicity and approach. Cynthia M. Adams, Founder & CEO of, Inc.

Floersch suggests that we balance best-practice and innovation in our grantseeking, and that is exactly what she does here, with fine-tuned practical advice in the context of a powerful argument for grantseeking as a social change practice. The path to successful grant proposals offered here is integrity, including honest appraisals of ourselves and our work, and respectful consideration of funders and their mission. Walking the talk of respectful relationships and careful thinking is what leads to the “righteous ask” and only a righteous ask brings the sustained support we all seek. If you have anything to do with driving financial support for social change, whether just starting out or well into the life of your organization, I encourage you to read this book. Floersch’s call to action has changed the way I talk about our work, and that change is already bearing fruit. Lucinda J. Garthwaite, Ed.D., Director of The Institute for Liberatory Innovation

You Have a Hammer is a little book with a big heart and a lot of common sense. In the high-stress world of competitive funding, it’s easy to chase opportunities and lose sight of what matters most–the people and communities who rely on the success of your work. This little book shares some of the critical lessons Floersch has shared with thousands of grantseekers around the US and internationally. I credit her teaching and mentorship with my success in securing millions of grant dollars and those lessons continue to inform my work as a grantmaker. A real strength of this book is Floersch’s engaging and authentic communications style. I’m so pleased she continues to share her knowledge to support your success in addressing critical social issues. Kevin Wiberg, Philanthropic Advisor for Community Engagement at the Vermont Community Foundation

Floersch explains the real power of grant proposal writing as a tool for social change and as a way to deepen community collaboration. By following her approach, nonprofits can escape the fund-chasing model and stand to make real change. Kelly Thomas, Fund Development Consultant and former Director of Development of the Tiyya Foundation

This book is an invaluable resource that reminds the grants profession of why our minds should be set on our work as a vehicle for social change. Based on her extensive experience, Floersch provides mini-chapters of important information for building effective grant proposals that result in lasting community impact. Get You Have a Hammer: Building Grant Proposals for Social Change and keep it close at hand as a reference and as an inspiration. Dr. Bernard Turner, GPC, Associate Professor of Social Entrepreneurship at Belmont University, member and past president of the Grant Professionals Association

This book is such a gift to the grants profession. Floersch provides awesome, meaty, actionable, inspiring content in a concise manner, and her deep knowledge, experience, and passion for the grants profession come through on every page. You Have a Hammer: Building Grant Proposals for Social Change is a must read for all grant professionals. Knowing “how” to write a grant request is helpful, but understanding the “why” is something that can set your requests apart and increase your probability of success. I recommend this book to everyone just starting their journey, and also to those striving for constant improvement. Tammy Tilzey, Director of Foundant for Grantseekers at Foundant Technologies

How do you write a powerful grant proposal that can drive positive social change? This compelling, short but insightful book highlights what effective and personal relationships between advocates and funders can accomplish. The author’s 40 year experience in the grants and nonprofit world offers a readable blueprint for effective partnerships between donors and the nonprofits they fund. Crea Lintilhac, Executive Director, The Lintilhac Foundation

You Have A Hammer is an inspirational, motivational step-by-step field guide in how to ground our proposals in activism, vocation, and social justice. From understanding your agency’s truth to strategizing how your proposal becomes an effective agent for change, You Have A Hammer is an invitation to join a movement of social equity. Floersch does a brilliant job of encouraging us to grow, pour passion into mission, confront bias, lead with integrity, and be willing to take reasonable risks. This book will reenergize you and reawaken your awareness that you are an instrumental part of the greater good in our world. Colleen Coffey, Executive Director of The College Planning Collaborative at Framingham State University and Mass Bay Community College

Floersch’s book is a quick and powerful primer for mission-driven leaders seeking an introduction to grant proposals. This is not your standard grantwriting book. You Have a Hammer: Building Grant Proposals for Social Change is an engaging and essential social change guide that will help you make your next righteous ask! Morgan Webster, Director of Common Good Vermont

You Have a Hammer: Building Grant Proposals for Social Change is Floersch’s latest contribution to the field of grantsmanship. In this easy-to-read book she affirms The Grantsmanship Center’s philosophy of using grant proposals to develop, implement, and evaluate a plan for social transformation. You Have a Hammer is a “why-to book” that urges you to start your organization’s enlightened odyssey to use grants as one way to draft your community’s blueprint for social change. Stephen D. Clark, community liaison and advocate, and retired Senior Management Analyst at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development

Rather than another how-to book on writing successful grant proposals, Floersch calls for a paradigm shift in our nonprofit field from supplicant to change agent, urging teamwork within our organizations and communities as well as equitable partnerships with funding agencies. Her clarion call is to focus on impact and change, not merely on activities. John Killacky, Vermont House of Representatives legislator and former Executive Director of Flynn Center for the Performing Arts

Floersch has never been content to tread water: she swims upstream, determined to use grants as a tool for addressing the root issues of human needs. You Have a Hammer is the kind of book that gets better and better with each reading. Charles R. Putney, External Consultant for Higher Education at McAllister & Quinn, Inc.

Ask yourself this: If a funding source is given a choice between paying for the work you do or buying the good you achieve, which would they choose? A guide to creating social change, You Have a Hammer captures the imperative of focusing on why we do what we do, who we’re doing it for and how we work with others. If you don’t already think this way, you should. If you do think this way, you’ll appreciate having it carefully laid out in a way you can easily share with others. I lose track of the number of times I wish I could just read the essence of what is important, and Barbara has done it here. If your ultimate goal is to create change, it’s a short and mighty read. Eddie Gale, Vermont Program Director for the A.D. Henderson Foundation

Floersch’s book does something quite remarkable. It challenges commonly held assumptions about proposal writing and suggests a new, far more powerful paradigm. Based on her years of experience, Floersch encourages readers to shift their perspective from the needs of their organization to the aspirations of potential funders. She clearly delineates a typical funder’s perspective and shows how aligning proposals with that perspective can dramatically increase success. Written in a clear, gentle yet powerful way, You Have a Hammer lays out an innovative, clear path to become “both a rainmaker and a change-maker”. This is a must have resource for anyone responsible for funding the essential services provided by so many non-profit organizations. Michael Rothschild, M.Ed., retired Nonprofit Director and Lead Proposal Writer

With so many challenges to meet right now in our communities, the country and the world, understanding how to build proposals that win grant funding for nonprofits is one powerful way to make a difference — if you “get” how to do it right. That’s the sharp focus of this short, unique and really useful new book by Barbara Floersch, longtime chief of curriculum and training at The Grantsmanship Center in Los Angeles. “Thinking of a grant proposal strictly as a funding request diminishes much of its changemaking potential,” she argues; instead, nonprofit leaders and writers of grant proposals can achieve a whole lot more if they focus on the people they serve, the problems they can help solve, and the results they aim to achieve. The book’s subtitle, “Building Grant Proposals for Social Change,” says it in a nutshell — but Floersch builds on that with clear, concise guidance on researching grantmakers, on building partnerships, on evaluating outcomes in ways that help to keep the good going. This little book can itself make a very real difference … and I hope it does. Doug Wilhelm, award winning author, nonprofit advocate

I know of no one who has explicitly articulated a philosophy of grant proposal writing until now. In her brilliant, compact little book, You Have a Hammer: Building Grant Proposals for Social Change, Barbara Floersch distills her vast experience as a proposal writer, grant administrator, trainer, and social activist to pinpoint why you need to think about this work in a certain way if you want to produce lasting impact. This small book corrects and explains common but ubiquitous misperceptions that limit the change-making power of grants work. Each brief chapter offers profound yet practical wisdom and memorable quotes. Floersch says “If you want to bring in grant dollars, you have to understand the how-to of the work. But if you fail to understand the essence of the work, the dollars in your pocket won’t amount to much when it comes to impact.” She tells us that a grant proposal is not just a request for money. It’s a “tool for building partnerships and a blueprint for change” and much more. She tells us that “a righteous ask is grounded in a community need, aligned with a funder’s mission, and seeks impact rather than dollars.” She advises us to “target causes your organization can influence” by taking the “right-sized bite,” to “generate hope,” to “argue for change not activities.” She speaks to vital role of ethics and cultural relevance. This book is so packed and engaging that after receiving an advance review copy, I read it three times. Since Floersch authored the outstanding 2015 update and expansion of Norton Kiritz’s seminal work in the field of grants, Grantsmanship: Proposal Planning and Proposal Writing, it seems inevitable that this new, foundational work would come from her. This engaging and beautifully written little book offers countless insights and nuggets of wisdom. This book, broadly understood, is Floersch’s finest work in a long and distinguished career. You’ll remember it, reread it, underline sentences, and quote it often. Henry Flood, CEO, Delegates of the Word, Inc., a Catholic social service charity that also does mission work in Honduras

“You Have a Hammer” is a book both new grant writers and seasoned ones will enjoy and learn from. As someone long in the field, I find the pressure to “get the money” often pushes grant professionals to act quickly out of necessity and to move on exhaustingly without considering the big picture and importance of the respected craft of, “grantsmanship.” While reading the book, I kept thinking it should be required reading for every nonprofit executive director and board member with whom I have worked. Grantmakers and nonprofits need one another. Barbara remarks, “each funder has a mission – a purpose that motivates and defines its work. And just like other nonprofits, different funders focus on different issues. But as diverse as they are, grantmakers have one thing in common. They use grants as tools to accomplish their mission.” This sets the stage for the preparation of appropriate and well-tailored proposals that lead to what she calls, “righteous asks”: those grounded in a community need that is “well aligned with the funder’s mission and put forth by a well-respected nonprofit in pursuit of impact rather than dollars.” I appreciated Barbara’s observation, “The sad fact is that many nonprofits are guilty of chasing dollars. Faced with an urgent and continuous need for cash, seeking grants easily devolves into a money-grabbing frenzy. I have met thousands of nonprofit staff members who are instructed by administrators to shake every tree that could possibly throw out a grant dollar.” Barbara discusses the need for different forms of nonprofit income, and that “grants” are not necessarily the answer to every financial need. She also sheds light on the role of grant professionals in project planning, how one should argue for change rather than “activities,” and for sustaining impact rather than “programs,” per se. The critical role played by data is discussed in detail (I liked the phrase, “taking the driver’s seat with data”), as are project evaluation, teamwork and collaboration (internal and external), and recognizing and dealing with, “hot spots where ethics are most likely to be violated. Carolyn M. Appleton, grants professional and fundraising consultant

For years Barbara Floersch was an eminent representative of The Grantsmanship Center, typified by her updating and expanding the second edition of the Center’s seminal publication, Program Planning and Proposal Writing. So, it comes as no surprise that she has moved on to capsulize her considerable knowledge in a striking new book, You Have a Hammer, with a compelling subtitle, Building Grant Proposals for Social Change. The book’s brevity and pithiness are particularly potent as a remedy to the media overload that confronts prospective readers nowadays. The pointed clarity throughout lends itself to a vision of repeated use by those who toil in the pursuit of resources for nonprofit organizations. As for what you’ll discover within the core 89 pages, the baseline is uncommon wisdom about the pursuit of grants to support such nonprofits. A few particulars follow. It reflects her learned respect for the craft of grantsmanship that Floersch puts things in proper perspective and frames what follows in the book by heading the first chapter, You’re Not A Grantwriter. In chapter after chapter, she returns to the importance of working with others when building a funding proposal, properly contradicting the image of the solitary practitioner laboring in splendid isolation. Every bit as important is her affirmation and reaffirmation that those with whom a proposal writer works include the community members whose challenges lie at the heart of the reason for developing any proposal in the first place. Distinguishing this book, there are two chapters devoted to the importance of ethics in nonprofit resource development. The chapter on Ethical Evaluation should be required reading for every grant proposal developer. Finally, it is in keeping with the insightfulness of this book that the author emphasizes the importance of differentiating between what nonprofits do and what happens as a result of what they do when building funding proposals. Her point? It is far more credible to feature an applicant for funding committed to community-level impact than one dedicated to being busy. In an arena marked by service delivery galore, this distinction cannot be overemphasized. For those dedicated to the continued vitality of nonprofit organizations in these often-difficult times, Barbara Floersch has condensed her years of exemplary action in this book at just the right time. Harvey Chess, grants professional, trainer, consultant, retired foundation program officer

You Have a Hammer is a digestible book on the craft of successful and socially impactful grantsmanship. It’s a slim volume, but don’t mistake slim for simple, or small for insignificant. Each of the book’s 23 chapters is an essential, precisely explained building block for pursuing grant funding with integrity, discipline, grit, and an unwavering focus on grants as instruments of social change. The focus here is not on the grant proposal itself, but on the process and the mindset. The author emphasizes that grantsmanship is not a ‘grant writer’ sitting alone in a room filling out applications or writing up a set of activities to be funded. The most important message is that grants do not support organizations or staff or programs–they fund impact. Effective grantsmanship requires a systematic effort of collaboration and partnership—between funders and grantees, staff in various organizational functions and levels, and organizations and the constituencies they serve—to address community problems with solutions that work and make a difference. For an instructional manual on how to write grant proposals, I highly recommend consulting the seminal book, Grantsmanship: Program Planning & Proposal Writing by Norman Kiritz, which the author updated and expanded in 2015. If you–the novice grant seeker, the seasoned grants professional, executive directors, board members–want to better understand leveraging grants strategically for maximum social impact, read this book! It is a good companion piece to to Kiritz’s handbook–a “gold standard” for practicing good grantsmanship. Holly Thompson, grants professional, nonprofit coach, consultant

Whether you are a new or experienced grant-seeker or grant-maker, YOU HAVE A HAMMER is a timely must-read . Never has so much of such importance been squeezed into so few pages! Concise but inspiring, informational, accurate, and practical, this is an essential addition for your library of resources. Buy it today, read it tonight, and read it again any time your motivation flags. Elizabeth Innes-Brown, author, writing professor

I was initially surprised by the length of the book, having received a hard copy to review from Rootstock Publishing (through a Library Thing Early Reviewer Giveaway) — but this is not a “how to” but a “why to” book—- and what intense inspiration is packed inside these 90 pages! The book can be tackled in one sitting and is uplifting and empowering to read. I will refer to it again and again. I was blessed to have worked for an organization as Floersch describes that is “a professional home that will stay with you for a lifetime, and bring lasting benefits to the community you care about.” Regardless of the stage you may be at/in, how to approach and practice grantsmanship as outlined here, is a true testament to the author and all other nonprofits that work tirelessly each day for social justice. Member

You Have a Hammer fully describes the core principles and reasons for pursuing the highest purpose, practices, and ethics of grantsmanship. Everyone interfacing with grants should thoroughly absorb and take to heart these principles prior to reading the “how-to” books or embarking on formal training on grant proposal writing. As an experienced grant pro and trainer, this book was re-inspiring, and I have already purchased copies for clients and colleagues. Katherine F. H. Heart, Grants Professional, Author of Grantepreneur: Getting Started in a Grant Career and Business

Providing context to grant writing is one of the hardest things for the average grant writer (NOPE! grant specialist or other job descriptor of choice) to accomplish; see Chapter 1). Barbara Floersch provides a comprehensive, soup to nuts guide to the whole grant ecosystem. I found this view of the grant process to be fresh and inspiring. Individuals who write grant proposals and non-profit organizations who depend on grant funding will find this resource extremely valuable as they pursue new grant opportunities. Karen Rasmussen, Professor, University of West Florida