Tag Archives: scam

The Latest Outfit Promising Something for Nothing: Aimfar

You might think that, given our tendency to mock various scams and time wasters in the grant world (see, for example, here and here), people would stop sending us spam with outlandish promises in it. Alas, that’s not the case, since we recently received a message from Jacqueline Ruth Turco of “Aimfar,” which says, “Let us write your non profit clients a grant. At least 75% of your non profit clients will qualify for and receive a grant.” Aside from the awkward or nonstandard English, this message is bizarre because it doesn’t identify the purported funding agency.

A quick reminder: grants are usually made by government agencies at various levels (federal, state, local) or foundations/corporate giving sources to nonprofit or public agencies. If you receive e-mails promising something for nothing that don’t even a) identify the entity offering you money or b) why that entity might offer you money, it’s likely a scam of some sort. At the moment, Aimfar’s “About” page talks about micro loans, not grants, and it’s not obvious what exactly they do, which is another bad sign in the grant world. You might notice that if you go to the Seliger + Associates services page, we list the stuff we do: write proposals, edit proposals, grant research, and so forth. If you go to Aimfar’s page, it’s difficult to say exactly what they do aside from spamming us and presumably others as well.

Fake Grant Writers, Spammers, Scams, Community Spec’s Ryan Reeves, and Resource Associates

Attention grant writing consultants of the world: if you can’t even write your own website text, you’re not going to be very believable as a writer of any kind.

I point out this obvious fact because various people have copied our website over the years. Alert reader and grant writer Shirley Nelson of Grant Strategies showed us a recent example in the form of “Community Spec, Inc.,” which I’m not going to dignify with a link. Until very recently, their front page said:

CSI staff have over 15 years experience in successfully writing grants for clients in over 28 states across America. We differ from other grant writers in that we use a turn-key approach. Our clients only have to give us general direction and sign the completed grant applications. We do all the rest, including the program design, needs assessment, narrative, budget and final submission package.

Does that sound familiar? If you’ve ever been to the Seliger + Associates homepage, it should:

…We have been in business since 1993 and have had over 500 clients in 42 states.

Seliger + Associates has written over $200,000,000 in funded grant applications. We differ from other grant writers in that we use a turn-key approach. Our clients only have to give us general direction and sign the completed grant applications.

We do all the rest, including the program design, needs assessment, narrative, budget and final submission package.

In response, Isaac called Ryan Reeves, who was listed as the contact person for Community Spec. At first Isaac left a message with a secretary, and within an hour the offending Community Spec website disappeared. At the time of this writing, however, parts of the site are still available through Google’s cached version.

A day later, Ryan called back to claim that a) his site had been up for five years and b) he hired a web designer, who wrote the text for the site. The latter claim is particularly interesting, since when we hire web designers, we give them the text, not vice-versa. There are two unflattering possibilities in Ryan’s claim: he either plagiarized and then lied about it or is too incompetent to write his own text. The most hilarious part of the call came when he said that he wanted to “work with us” on the issue.

Doing so is really quite easy: don’t plagiarize our material.

I can’t imagined that Community Spec is long for this world.

In any event, if the copied website weren’t enough to tip off potential clients or workers, the e-mail Ryan Reeves sent to Shirley ought to be another clue. He’s trying to hire contractors based on the websites of other grant writers, apparently trying to position himself as a broker. If that’s the best way he can find employees, he’s doing something wrong. Other consultants aren’t looking to be hired as contractors for third-parties; they’re looking for clients of their own, and unsolicited junk isn’t much appreciated. As Shirley wrote in an e-mail, “I am also annoyed by competitors that spam my e-mail box looking for grant writers. The most notorious was Resource Associates.”

[REMOVED FOLLOWING LEGAL THREATS FROM RESOURCE ASSOCIATES AND DEBORAH MONTGOMERY; it appears, however, that Deborah Montgomery herself is not part of Resource Associates anymore. That has to be an improvement.]

If you’re Ryan Reeves of Community Spec, don’t copy our stuff, and if you do, don’t blame it on your web developer. If you put it on the Internet, you’re responsible for it. And if you’re reading this, remember that there are plenty of questionable and shady characters in grant writing, and you don’t want to associate with them.