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The 12 Days of “Grantmas:” Easter Eggs and Eggnog for the eGrants Season

December 20, 2011

At The Grant Plant, we use the term “Easter Eggs” to refer to an online application’s special surprises that are hidden within the submission process and not referenced in the grantmaker’s guidance materials, as in, “Oh, look! Another Easter Egg!” (To be fair, I have much more colorful terms for these hidden questions, screens, signature and verification requirements, etc., but in the spirit of holiday cheer, I will refrain from sharing those terms and stick with Aly’s much-more-diplomatic “Easter Eggs.”)

But it’s not Easter, it’s The Holiday Season: Christmas, Chanukah, Solstice, Kwanza, and New Years! This article was inspired by a recent holiday-season wrestling match with eGrants, the online submission software used by the Corporation for National Community Service for their AmeriCorps grant opportunity (fabulous opportunity, decidedly un-fabulous online system). It would be an understatement to say that eGrants is not my friend. In fact, eGrants is my own personal Scrooge. Or, Grinch. Or, mean Santa that replaces my lovely presents with lumps of coal.

In my estimation (and mixed metaphor), eGrants takes the proverbial cake for Easter Eggs. Between the completely cumbersome screen set up, the lack of a budget template (formulas, anyone???), the way the system magically generates its own budget narrative—unbeknownst to applicants, and the hidden pop-up performance measures screens, eGrants is a true test of will-power, patience, and sanity. Bah humbug? Yes! But seriously, eGrants makes Black Friday at WalMart look like a stroll in a peaceful, calm meadow of goodwill and caring.

Sure, sure, grant writing can be stressful—kind of like the holidays. We all have our own preferred stress-reduction techniques. Along with cheap red wine (and eggnog!), I like to write songs—or, as in this case, repurpose existing songs to suit my whims. Since the winter holiday season is upon us, I have repurposed a Christmas classic, The Twelve Days of Christmas, ala eGrants. You’re invited to sing along; it’s super fun and easy! And you can learn something (my favorite!). Do you know which of the 12 days of Christmas is actually Christmas? I had to look it up. Turns out it’s day one…the celebration starts on Christmas day and continues for 11 consecutive days. So, the best present comes on day one; the present that you get to repeat in this song 12 (!) times! For me, “Planting” an application and getting that submission confirmation is the best present, topped only by the award announcement (that often comes months later).

Obviously, this article works best when sung aloud, accompanied by piano or guitar (and quite possibly, eggnog…). So relax, unwind, and enjoy “The 12 Days of Grantmas:”

 

On the first day of Grantmas, eGrants gave to me:

Confirmation— It’s Planted, we’re free!

 

On the second day of Grantmas, eGrants gave to me:

Two panic attacks, and confirmation—It’s Planted, we’re free!

 

On the third day of Grantmas, eGrants gave to me:

Three software crashes, two panic attacks, and confirmation—It’s Planted, we’re free!

 

On the fourth day of Grantmas, eGrants gave to me:

Four verification errors, three software crashes, two panic attacks, and confirmation—It’s Planted, we’re free!

 

On the fifth day of Grantmas, eGrants gave to me:

Five Easter Eggs!!!! (ba-dum-dum-dum)

Four verification errors, three software crashes, two panic attacks, and confirmation—It’s Planted, we’re free!

 

On the sixth day of Grantmas, eGrants gave to me:

Six help desk phone calls

Five Easter Eggs (ba-dum-dum-dum)

Four verification errors, three software crashes, two panic attacks, and confirmation—It’s Planted, we’re free!

 

On the seventh day of Grantmas, eGrants gave to me:

Seven eGrants glitches

Six help desk phone calls

Five Easter Eggs (ba-dum-dum-dum)

Four verification errors, three software crashes, two panic attacks, and confirmation—It’s Planted, we’re free!

 

On the eighth day of Grantmas, eGrants gave to me:

Eight pots of coffee

Seven eGrants glitches

Six help desk phone calls

Five Easter Eggs (ba-dum-dum-dum)

Four verification errors, three software crashes, two panic attacks, and confirmation—It’s Planted, we’re free!

 

On the ninth day of Grantmas, eGrants gave to me:

Nine late-night work shifts

Eight pots of coffee

Seven eGrants glitches

Six help desk phone calls

Five Easter Eggs (ba-dum-dum-dum)

Four verification errors, three software crashes, two panic attacks, and confirmation—It’s Planted, we’re free!

 

On the tenth day of Grantmas, eGrants gave to me:

Ten days remaining

Nine late-night work shifts

Eight pots of coffee

Seven eGrants glitches

Six help desk phone calls

Five Easter Eggs (ba-dum-dum-dum)

Four verification errors, three software crashes, two panic attacks, and confirmation—It’s Planted, we’re free!

 

On the eleventh day of Grantmas, eGrants gave to me:

Eleven hidden windows

Ten days remaining

Nine late-night work shifts

Eight pots of coffee

Seven eGrants glitches

Six help desk phone calls

Five Easter Eggs (ba-dum-dum-dum)

Four verification errors, three software crashes, two panic attacks, and confirmation—It’s Planted, we’re free!

 

On the twelfth day of Grantmas, eGrants gave to me:

Twelve required signatures

Eleven hidden windows

Ten days remaining

Nine late-night work shifts

Eight pots of coffee

Seven eGrants glitches

Six help desk phone calls

Five Easter Eggs (ba-dum-dum-dum)

Four verification errors, three software crashes, two panic attacks, and confirmation—It’s Planted, we’re free!

 

(Big finale, all together now:)

And confirmation—It’s Planted, we’re free-ee-ee-ee!

 

Happy Holidays!

And, if you need to get the flavor of this version out of your brain, try this, my favorite version of all time (warning, it features The Muppets AND John Denver…):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDBMzGq1vhs&feature=share

 

Contact: Suzanne Dillon, Senior Resource Development Officer suzanne@thegrantplantNM.com

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