Saturday, October 9, 2010

Grant Writing is Like Lasagna

Lasagna is one of my favorite Italian foods - it’s the complete package, if you make it right, that is. A good lasagna has layers of perfectly cooked pasta, tomato sauce, Italian sausage, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, and I even like to add a little cheddar cheese. Of course, it’s layered several times with all this good stuff!

Now a good grant is similar to a good lasagna! That’s right people, it really is! You have to write a grant in layers, like making nice lasagna. There’s the needs section (layer), the program design section (layer), the project management section (layer), the sustainability section (layer), the evaluation section (layer). And while each section/layer is distinct - like the sausage and the sauce of my favorite lasagna - there’s also a little bit of intermixing of ingredients/repeating of information.

That’s right! You can write a needs section and never mention it again but you will end up with an inferior lasagna…er, grant. You need to repeat the layers, when it’s appropriate. If the needs you describe are met by the project design - as they must be – then a mention of the needs layer is warranted in the project design layer to reinforce the deliciousness of the design.

A good lasagna would be incomplete with only one set of layers. It takes multiple layers to make a first class lasagna and repeating salient/savory points of the grant sections/layers make a grant come together like a good lasagna.

In example, if you say in your needs section that you have a waiting list o 30 parents for a particular program, then you want to point out that the parenting program you are proposing to implement in response to the need will accommodate all 30 parents on the waiting list and maybe even a few more! Abundanza, you have sausage in the first layer, and even more sausage in the second layer! TASTY!

So write your grant like a lasagna, write it in the layers specified in the RFA and then make sure you repeat the most delicious parts of the layers so that your lasagna is complete and not a single layered impostor that nobody will want to eat; and if they do, one they won’t give a 5 star rating.

By: Derek Link, Non-profit Consultant and Expert Grant Writer
If you're interested in more of Derek Link's obsession with how grant writing is like food, try some of these other posts:
Grants Are Like Box Lunches
Grants Are Like Sausage
Some Grants Are Like Peanut Butter
Grants Are Like Donuts

No comments:

About Creative Resources & Research

My photo
Woodland, CA, United States
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.