But guess what? Older is better. Today I type faster, am more efficient at research, more inquisitive in questioning a client, more effective at editing, revising and narrating. I tend to get grants funded more often than I used to with a lot less outside assistance.
Here are some long-in-the-tooth tips for you young grant writing whipper-snappers out there.
- Spend more time reading the Request For Proposals (RFP) before you start writing than you think you need to. Reading an RFP once is never enough for me.
- Spend more time talking to your client about the proposal than they want to. If getting their attention means you have to buy them lunch, do it.
- Write a detailed outline for the proposal. Follow the RFP outline carefully.
- Collect all the research you think you need first and understand it before you begin to write. Everything you collect should be the most current literature in support of your design.
- Cross out blocks of time on your calendar and hold those times sacred. Turn off the TV, the radio, and send the kids out to play.
- Stop writing when you become unclear about any element of the project design and call your client to ask questions. If you are unclear, your narrative will be too.
- Employ a trusted editor to review your writing.
- Communicate with your client early and often about what they are required to provide and do during the process.
- Overestimate the time that ancillary pieces of the grant with take you to complete, they always take longer than you expect.
- Always obtain and keep some form of verification that your grant was submitted.
We have many distractions these days from cell phones to messages that pop right up on your computer as you write. You won’t be a successful grant writer if your writing does not receive your full attention. It may sound kind of like I am an old fuddy-duddy about those dang electronic deeee-vices, but I am not at all actually. I love my electronic devices and I am a better grant writer because I use them. Electronics can get in the way if you aren’t careful so be sure you are giving your client 100% of yourself when it’s time to write.
Photo Credit - Leroy Skalstad