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Federal government agencies, foundations and corporations get turned off by grant proposals that:
Have been tried elsewhere;
Give a negative tone;
Come from an applicant, not a client perspective;
Lack adequate infrastructure;
Include lots of unsupported assumptions; and
Look for quick fixes.
In this article, you will learn mistake 3 of 7 to avoid when approaching funders: negativity. Failure to stop its downward spiral or weed out negativity, turn it on its head or transform it into positivity could lead to your rejection. The solution is here, too, so you don’t make this mistake in the future.
Negativity can be found in various forms, some extremely subtle:
Putting down others, such as “the system,” government, big business, etc.
Showing lack of confidence – For example, flimsy words like maybe, possibly, perhaps… all which show hesitancy. Replace them with confidence-building words like will, definitely, absolutely. Nothing sells your proposal better than confidence, backed up with strong data.
Demeaning the competition.
Complaining about the past or anything.
Blaming the board or anyone.
Here are six ways to eliminate negativity from your proposal:
Be positive – Use an asset-based approach – Make a list of all of your “assets.” Mention the ones that are relevant to your proposal. For example, if you have a state-of-the-art library facility, and you’re applying for an education grant, mention that.
Focus on the strengths of your agency and staff – For example, include the cumulative number of years of staff, like “75 years experience working with children.”
Use testimonials – Keep your eyes open for testimonials and positive statements from clients and the community. Document these when they happen. In other words, don’t wait until you need a testimonial to collect it. When you hear something positive, ask the person if you can quote them. Write it down. Then, ask the person to give you his or her permission in writing then. When the moment passes, if you haven’t captured the testimonial, it’s often gone for good.
Transform weaknesses into strengths – If you have a weakness, brainstorm how to transform that weakness into a strength. For example, a new non-profit with no grant experience can have fresh, innovative approaches to old problems, like hunger and poverty. A new non-profit can also partner with a larger, more experienced agency and ride on the shoulders of established credibility.
Transform financial problems into improvements – If you inherited a non-profit with financial problems, clean up house. Then, write that you have officially adopted strict new accountability procedures (and state what they are). Create an official ceremony that marks the date of the adoption.
Move forward with your board – If there were problems historically with your board, don’t draw attention to it. Clean up house, again. Then, highlight accomplishments that emerge from the new board. You don’t want to be associated with the old, decrepit board, but rather with the new, highly “effective” one.
And now I would like to invite you to claim your free subscription to the Grant Writing Newsletter when you visit [http://GrantWritingNewsletter.com]http://GrantWritingNewsletter.com. From Phil Johncock – The Grant Writing Professor.