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11 Essentials Every Grant Writer Needs to Know

Phil-JohncockBy Phil Johncock

You know more than you think as a first-time grant writer. This article shows you 10 things you need to know including how to do what you do best and delegate the rest, as well as how to increase your success rate.

You’re not starting from scratch.  You already have skills that you can tap, like writing, delegating, networking. Brainstorm the skills have. Do what you do best. Delegate the rest. Then, leverage these in your grant writing.

Your first grant will take the longest. My first grant took 100 hours to write.  I wanted to do the best job I could, so I put in more time that I really needed. The first time is always the hardest and the longest. Very quickly, you’ll learn tips to save time and short cuts to getting things done faster.

If you submit a proposal without help, you’ll be successful 10-20% of the time.  You may get lucky your first time. I was lucky. Most aren’t. If you’re going to put the time and effort into writing a proposal, find a mentor or teacher to help you.

80% of all proposals don’t match the funder priorities.  This means that without your knowing, you may have your proposal rejected. This is another reason to get some help from the experts… to find out what the funder is really looking for.

Organize your time wisely.  One of the top reasons for rejecting grant proposals is because they were submitted too late. Start with the deadline and work backwards. Set a submission date several days before the actual date. Give yourself time to write a draft, get feedback from a mock review time, and get required signatures.

Grant information doesn’t have to be overwhelming.  Here’s a tip: instead of focusing on several grants or funders, focus on one grant at a time. When choosing a grant to focus on, start small, such as 1-4 page proposals to private funders like foundations or corporations.

Ask lots of questions.  Most experienced grant writers are willing to volunteer their wisdom. However, they won’t if you don’t ask.

Talk to a funder, first.  Before you go to all the effort of writing a proposal draft, contact the funder. Of course, check out their website and written publications first. Then, do a pre-proposal contact to see if your idea matches their priorities.

Get a copy of a well-written proposal.  When you contact the funder, ask for a well-written proposal… in their eyes. You can see what the funder considered important, like objectives and sustainability.

If you don’t like to write, outsource the writing.  Do what you do best. Delegate the rest. Most of my grants were written by a team. If you don’t do the writing, at least be part of the team. Hire a good facilitator and team leader who communicates well and in a timely manner.

Turn rejection into success.  No one can guarantee success in grant writing. The closest thing to a guarantee is to keep in mind that in most cases you can resubmit a proposal that is rejected… once you get feedback for improvement and ask the funder if you can resubmit once you’ve made the appropriate changes. This happened to a colleague. The funder even sat down with him to go over changes. He resubmitted the proposal and was funded the second time.

And now I invite you to download the top 10 mistakes made by grant writers FREE at [http://GrantWritingNewsletter.com]http://GrantWritingNewsletter.com

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1 comment to 11 Essentials Every Grant Writer Needs to Know

  • These are all excellent tips. I especially like “80% of all proposals don’t match the funder priorities.” This is true and often grant writers overlook this statistic and blame themselves if their application is not funded.

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