Believing grant writing myths is a dangerous and potentially costly mistake for you and your organization. Let me tell you why.
It was grade 9, and I liked an older woman… she was in grade 10 (she seemed old) and definitely out of my league. I had noticed her during an after school event and had convinced myself there was no way she would even talk to me. She was too pretty, too funny, and too smart.
Another problem getting in my way of dating the perfect girl was the talk in the halls that suggested she had a boyfriend at another high school. Apparently he had a moustache, a tattoo, and rode a motorcycle. How could I compete with that?
It turns out (as I found out much too late) it was all a rumour. No boyfriend. No tattoo. No motorcycle. I had bought into the lie, believed the gossip, and ended up missing out on what may have been something great.
In the world of grant writing, you too may have bought into some rumours. There are some lies that continue to hang over the grant writing community that many believe to be the truth, and we know these myths are holding some of you back from incredible funding opportunities.
3 Grant Writing Myths You May Think Are True
By exposing some myths, we hope to open the door for you to feel more confident in pursuing funding opportunities you may have otherwise left on the table.
Grant Writing Myth #1
To Obtain The Money You Need, Your Organization Must Apply To Every Fund Possible
This is definitely not the approach we would encourage you to pursue. The “shot gun” method is one many organizations practice because they believe it will be the only way to secure enough money to run their various programs and projects. What this approach will likely bring is stress, anxiety, frustration, and an overall disillusionment with the granting process. It may or may not get you the money you need.
Instead, by building intentional relationships with specific funders, and pursuing only the opportunities that fit best with your organization, one may be able to write six grants to get four funded. Reducing the number of grants you write, but placing a greater effort and focus on the quality and fit of the grant, will likely increase the chances of getting funded and make the grant writing process less frustrating and more enjoyable. This approach takes work up front to do the research and to build the right connections, but it is well worth it.
Grant Writing Myth #2
The Big Organizations Get All The Money
It is not unusual for large organizations to obtain significant amounts of grant funding over the course of a given year. For some, it can feel like it’s a situation of the “rich getting richer.” While it’s true that big organizations often have a strong track record of success, it is typically because they have shown the ability to be effective stewards of the money awarded to them. It’s also often the case that larger organizations follow through with their ability to comply with funder guidelines and that many of them have strong relationships with funding organizations. These ideas are often true, and make it much easier for a funder to say yes to a proposal they know has a high likelihood of success.
But, don’t bail on writing your grant just yet. Funders have told us they are always on the lookout for new, innovative programs and projects. If you are able to craft a compelling proposal, with data, facts, and new research, funders are very willing to explore your application further. The other element any sized organization can implement in their grant writing process is establishing credibility through relationships. Get to know the funder and allow them the opportunity to get to know you. Don’t let your proposal be the first time they hear about your organization or your project. Through relationships, you can build trust and move closer to project funding.
Learn More About Building Relationships With Funders “The #1 Step You Must Take To Improve Your Grant Writing.”
In any proposal, it is also vital to demonstrate how you are able to effectively deliver on your project. Provide a funder with proof, or examples, of times you have had great success.
Don’t let what the big organizations are doing get in the way of seeking funding. Most big organizations started small around someone’s kitchen table. Learn everything you can from the “big guys,” but don’t assume anything about where a funder is going to invest their money.
Grant Writing Myth #3
Grants Are Awarded To Those With The Greatest Need
Again, like the others before, this statement simply isn’t true. Grants are typically awarded to the organizations that do the most effective job of telling their story and defining the need. Too many grant writers don’t adequately communicate the problem or pain points and don’t effectively share compelling research or data that suggests they have the best solutions.
Funders are also looking for proposals that fit with their vision and their purpose. Your organization may have a significant need, but your solutions may not resonate with specific funders.
Tell your stories well, communicate effectively, make sure you are a strong fit with the funder’s purpose, and through everything, demonstrate your ability to deliver on the funder’s interests. Those are the proposals that get funded.
Put Yourself In A Funder’s Shoes
I used to work with a man I respected greatly who would take some time regularly to sit in a chair in the reception area at the front of the office to gain some perspective. He wanted to see what our clients saw as they waited to be served. He wanted to get a sense for their perspective to make sure he could understand, as much as possible, where they were coming from and what they most needed. He would listen to clients talk to one another and watch as men and women came through our front doors. It changed the way he interacted with and helped the people that came through his office and helped the organization create a space and a process that kept the client at the centre of it all.
I would encourage you to try and do the same when it comes to grant writing. Put yourself in the funder’s shoes. Imagine reviewing hundreds of proposals, and how difficult it must be to come to a decision about which organizations receive money and which ones don’t. What questions would you want answered before you were willing to invest thousands of dollars? That type of perspective might just change your approach to your next grant proposal.
Rumours can get the best of us. It’s always a good idea to take some time to reflect and dig for the truth to make sure your reality isn’t skewed. Don’t let the myths about grant writing limit your opportunities and your success.
The more you understand the myths, the better prepared you’ll be to write successful grants. Access “More Grant Writing Myths That Are Limiting Your Success” to get a sense for three more myths that cloud the grant writing world. Download the document here by providing your name and email address. It’s FREE and your email address is safe with us (we won’t be giving it away to anyone).
Want To Read About 3 More Grant Writing Myths?
The more you understand the myths, the better prepared you’ll be to write successful grants. Access “More Grant Writing Myths That Are Limiting Your Success” to get a sense for three more myths that cloud the grant writing world.
Download the document here by providing your name and email address. It’s FREE and your email address is safe with us (we won’t be giving it away to anyone).