Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Give Them What They Want

Do you know what grant readers want more than anything else?

They want to be convinced that you have a significant need, that you have a great plan to meet that need, and that you are capable of implementing that idea.  Yes, they want to be convinced. So, give them what they want.

I read a non-funded grant proposal written by someone else recently (the agency came to me for this year's submittal, hoping I'll be more successful). As I read the proposal, I noticed numerous technical problems with it like poorly written objectives, lack of baseline data, not much research documenting the effectiveness of the model (required), and a few other things. It was easy to see why it wasn't funded as it didn't effectively address all of the scoring criteria. All of those things are easy to fix.  They are the things we teach in Grant Writing 101: The Basics.

But that's not all that was wrong with it. It simply didn't make a convincing case.  It wasn't persuasive at all.  Even if all of the technical elements had been in place, I wouldn't want to fund that proposal.

Remember, grant readers are people and scoring guides are more subjective than you'd think.  If a reader really likes a proposal and wants to fund it, he can find a way if you have at least attempted to address all the criteria.  On the other hand, there are hundreds of ways a reader can nickle and dime a proposal's score when he doesn't want to fund it.

Of course, you know that I think you should nail the scoring criteria and make a compelling case for your project. Don't make the mistake of thinking that technical prowess is all that is needed.

Convince the readers that your idea is fabulous.

That's what they want.

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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.