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How can you develop an award winning grant proposal? Here's grant writing tip number one:
Create a checklist of all the funder's requirements before writing your grant proposal. Remember to read all of the funder's proposal guidelines, before you write anything. This will keep you from wasting valuable time making unnecessary changes.
So you want to write a grant proposal?
Congratulations! You are seeking a noble task, but why do you want
to write a grant in the first place? Have you ever written a grant
before? Do you know the rules and guidelines you are supposed to
Do you know where to send the grant proposal once you have written
it? What should you ask for and not ask for on your grant?
All of these are important questions that must be considered before
ever embarking on the journey to write a grant.
Here are a few grant writing tips to help keep you from wasting a lot of time and
1. Do not go at grant writing alone and make unnecessary mistakes
when you can learn from others.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make in grant writing is by
just blindly deciding to write a grant proposal without any
At the very least, read a good grant writing book or take a grant
writing course. This will save you hours of time and energy and
help you avoid many of the common mistakes that new grant writers
Remember, even the Lone Ranger had his faithful sidekick,
Tonto, and his horse Silver.
2. One of the best ways to learn grant writing is by simply doing it
with a bit of coaching in the process.
Grant writing is a skill that must be developed. However, just like
any building you want to make sure you lay a solid foundation to
So be sure to get real life experience by working on an actual
grant proposal while also learning how to write grants the correct
way from the very beginning.
This is often best done when you have a grant writing sample or a
template to start from instead of going at it totally from scratch.
It will also be important to have a mentor or a coach that has been
successful in securing grant monies to be a sounding board for you
to help assist you when you get stuck or have questions.
Coaching can come in many different forms, for instance, you can
learn by reading articles, books, attending workshops, or grant
trainings. You can also seek out an experienced grant writer who
might be willing to coach you through the process.
I coach hundreds of people in grant writing every year
and would be honor to help you in your journey as well.
3. Make a commitment to learn grant writing the correct way and
volunteer to write a few for some nonprofit organizations in your
Nonprofit organizations tend to really love grant writers and these
individuals are often in high demand. If you volunteer to write a
grant for a local nonprofit in your area some of them might have a
previous proposal on hand that you can glean from as you develop a
new one. This will allow you to get some real life experience while
also helping an organization possibly get funded.
It is worth noting that most grants are not given out to individuals
or to for-profit businesses. Don't believe all the hype and
sensationalism from those late night commercials and waste your
money and time.
4. Remember, the best investment you can make to learn grant writing
is to make an investment into you.
If you are really going to become a skilled grant writer you must
dedicate the appropriate time, energy, and resources into
developing this valuable skill set.
If you would like to learn more about how to write grants that get
funded, go watch this video now at...Grant Writing Course Overview.
All the best,
What is the single most important advice you would share with someone new to grant writing?
"Managing and understanding the process is just as important as the writing!" - Branwen Cale
"It’s very basic, but it’s also a very common mistake- a grant writer MUST read and follow the guidelines in the NOFA/RFP/Applicant Instructions/etc. – what is required, what is optional, funding priorities, even margins and fonts." - Sara Farina
"Sara’s advice is absolutely essential. The first thing reviewers do is look for any breach in their guidelines, and cull down the number of proposals they need to review. The rationale is that if you cannot follow clear instructions, should they trust you to conduct your programs in line with their mission and goals? They have many applicants to choose from and would do best to choose those who are meticulous in following guidelines. Once you have accomplished that, my advice is to organize your entire funding plan strategically. Know who you will submit to, when and for what. Make sure you schedule your proposals to be sent well in advance of the deadline. Delays can, AND DO, pop up unexpectedly and if you are too close to the deadline, your proposal may not be completed, sent or received before the deadline." - Michele Boyer
"Also remember that quality of writing is only one of a number of factors that affect the success or failure of a grant proposal, unless of course the writing is really bad. It could be that there are lots of similar competing proposals. It could be that the amount of available funding is down — we’ve all experienced that over the last couple of years. It could simply be that the board member or peer reviewer is having a bad day. Just because you’ve written a really compelling proposal, that doesn’t automatically mean your client will get funded." - Julie Marino
1. Follow the funder’s directions EXACTLY.
2. Use the funder’s language in the proposal. If you have science “kits” and the RFP is looking to fund the development of science “pods”….call them PODS!
3. Clearly outline your program’s objectives, the activities you will conduct that address each objective…and how you will evaluate the results, relative to each objective. - Susan Frierson
Don’t put your proposal in a format that covers all the bases in the way that works best for you – do it in the way that works best for the funder.
So when the funder looks for criteria a,b and c as listed in the RFP, they find it in front of them without having to search through your entire proposal to find the part they are looking for.
Remember, many funders have different people reviewing different parts of the application so if you don’t give it to them in the order they ask for it, they may never find it. Stick to the script! - Joseph Mayerhoff