Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Do I Have Your Full Attention? Ten Grant Writing Tips

I’ve been writing grants for a living since before the turn of the century; that makes me rather old. Before I became a professional grant writer, I moonlighted as a grant writer for years; that makes me even older.
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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Write a detailed outline for the proposal. Follow the RFP outline carefully.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Employ a trusted editor to review your writing.
  8. Communicate with your client early and often about what they are required to provide and do during the process.
  9. Overestimate the time that ancillary pieces of the grant with take you to complete, they always take longer than you expect.
  10. 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.

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Photo Credit - Leroy Skalstad

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About Creative Resources & Research

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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.