Words for Good is nearing 10 years in business. Along the way, we’ve learned a thing or two about grant-seeking. Here are a few tips to make the grant writing process more cohesive and successful.
Time and time again, we’ve learned that the grant writing process goes best when clients:
- Start with an implementation plan and budget: One of Steven Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” is to “Put First Things First.” In grant writing, this means mapping out your post-award action plan (“implementation plan”) and budget, friends. Let’s be very clear—these are not supplementary documents—they are, in fact, the blueprint for your entire proposal. Asking the writer to draft a narrative before these elements are solidly in place will result in frustration, lost time, and ultimately, failure. Funders often have prescribed formats for budgets, but there tends to be more flexibility in formatting post-award action plans. Don’t worry—you don’t have to do it alone. We’ll set up the framework and coach you along the way. Heck, we’ll even tee you up to simply fill in the blanks. We just won’t agree to write your narrative before you have a solid budget and implementation plan in place.
- Align their request with the Funding Opportunity. Now that you’ve drafted your budget, re-read the Funding Opportunity Announcement and ask yourself if what you’re proposing truly meets the purpose of the opportunity.
- Collaborate. Your proposed plans should be the result of internal thoughtfulness and planning, but it is critical to be open to external input. Be sure your grant writer’s first task is to offer feedback on how to make your plans an even better fit for this particular opportunity. We are skilled in collaborating with you so that together we can create a proposal that stands out from the rest.
- Don’t rush letters of support. Most grant proposals require letters of support from project partners or institutions that financially support your organization. Clients can feel pressured to draft these early in the process in order to procure signatures in time. This is a mistake. Letters of support are most impactful when written later in the process, so that they can include finalized details that line up with your narrative.
We hope you’ll keep this “win-win” list handy for the next time you’re gearing up for a grant proposal. Stay tuned for more tips next month!