Wednesday, July 21, 2010

How Positive Writing Makes a Better Grant

Yesterday on my Twitter account (Grant_Writer if you want to follow me) I received a tweet from someone I won’t name and the gist of the tweet was that this person was watching a single Mom struggling on a teacher’s salary to put a child through college – “sigh”.

Well, I thought this warped perspective must have some relevance or I wouldn’t have been meant to see it. Before pondering the significance of this to grant writing, I replied to the person’s tweet something to the effect that the person is indeed fortunate to be “struggling” with a “salary” (of any kind in this economy) and a “child in college” (what a great burden). Life could be so much worse.

Grants must be written from a perspective of abundance and positive energy. While there may well be some difficult circumstances that caused the grant to be needed, like extremely low reading levels among 4th grade students, or hunger and homelessness, or whatever the need may be, the reader wants to hear about the hope the grant provides for overcoming those circumstances. The reader wants to believe that your grant will resolve those issues, and that you are confident and competent to accomplish the objectives.

Writing that presents a “woe-is-me” attitude simply makes me want to jump off a bridge. I may well sympathize with the needs presented, and usually this is the strongest section of even a bad grant because most everyone can point out what’s wrong. But pointing out what is right that will lead to a positive outcome is the key.

Take my twitter “followee” as an example. This person could have tweeted something like, “So proud of my friend putting her child through college on a teacher’s salary-hurrah!” - Or – “My friend’s struggle to put her child through college on a teacher’s salary will pay off! She’s my hero!”

It’s all in the perspective, so choose to write grant narratives in a positive tone, one that promotes your energy, that clearly illustrates your fresh ideas, and that forcefully expresses confidence in your competent ability to overcome the current reality and create a better tomorrow!

By Non-Profit Consultant and Expert Grant Writer Derek Link


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1 comment:

smalld said...

Such a small shift - like when you look through binoculars and see a bird, and with an ever so small adjustment of your fingers and suddenly it is not just the jizz of a bird, it is a glorious, detailed, majestic, thing of beauty. In the same way, when you make this shift in your thinking, life presents itself in a whole new way - everything is sharp and crisp and a thing of beauty. Nice reminder about a mindset that will take the blur out of life!

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Creative Resources and Research is a consulting firm specializing in grant writing, grant seeking, program evaluation and professional development training. We have worked with hundreds of clients including public and private schools, school districts, universities, non-profit organizations, and social service agencies throughout California, securing over $155 million from federal, state and private foundation funding sources over the past decade. Our primary grant writers and program evaluators have over 50 years of combined experience in the education and social services fields. At CRR we prefer a personal approach to the clients we work with; by developing long term relationships, we are better suited to match client’s needs with available funding sources. We provide a variety of services to help assist you, including grant writing, evaluation consulting, professional development opportunities, and workshops.