Tips: How Much Writing Should a Grant Writer Write?
Tips: How Much Writing Should a Grant Writer Write?

Well, it depends. If you’re somewhat of a generalist in your industry (as we are in the health care industry), then—gulp—not as much as you’d think. This is a tough nut for a writer to swallow and even tougher for his/her clients. Hear me out…

Successful grant writers tend to be perfectionists and just a little (ok, a lot) Type A. We know what funded proposals look like, and we know how to respond to complex RFAs (requests for applications) in clear, comprehensive, compelling, and compliant rhetoric that makes grant officers applaud and reviewers swoon. But it’s really time-consuming, and the success of our work is dependent on how far ahead of the deadline you nail down your plans.

My first job after graduate school was for a local health department with a strict policy of requiring program managers (e.g. the people running the county’s prenatal care coordination or lead abatement programs) to write the first drafts of all grant proposals. They’d send them to the grant writers (full-time writers on another floor) who would whip them into shape and submit to the respective funding agencies. Even a year into the job, I couldn’t help apologizing to the program managers for this seemingly inefficient mandate. They weren’t writers and their days were packed with meetings. It didn’t make sense.

Over the years, however, I’ve grown to appreciate this approach, at least for federal grant applications. Why? First, as grant writers we may not be subject matter experts, and second, gool ol’ accountability. All too often, we’re stuck rewriting important sections at the 11th hour based on plans that have changed for the 11th time. Ultimately, the end product suffers. (How could it not?)

So, we’re starting a new approach here at Words for Good for large grant applications. We won’t necessarily write less, but we’ll rely on you—the subject matter experts—more for certain areas, maybe even asking you to draft certain sections. This will help you work through your plans internally and get what’s in your head onto the computer screen in a more efficient format. That’s right—it should actually SAVE you time!

Words for Good looks forward to instituting this change along with many process refinements in the coming months in our ongoing effort to deliver ever-improving grant writing services.