Type into Google anything related to “learning from successful people,” and you’ll be overwhelmed with options… about 45,000,000 pages to be exact. There is no doubt that many of us have an appetite for knowing what successful people do to achieve their success. If we can avoid a few rough patches and speed up our road to success by learning from the trail someone else has blazed, we should totally do it.
We’ve had opportunities to interact with many grant writers. It’s always interesting to sit down and ask questions about their experiences. There’s one grant writer we know who has had an incredible amount of success. She shared three of her most important grant writing secrets with us, and now we’re going to share them with you!
3 Secrets To Successful Grant Writing
Secret To Success #1 – Have A Strong Process In Place
The first secret to success is about having a plan. Having a meaningful plan allows everyone to stay focused and keeps the process on track. You can’t fly by the seat of your pants and be successful in the long-term.
Do you have a plan when you write grants?
We’ve written a few blog posts about planning. Here’s one that explores the idea of developing a grant calendar: “How To Finally Bring Order To Your Grant Writing Chaos.”
If a successful grant writer encourages you to plan, you might really want to consider planning!
Secret To Success #2 – Don’t Write In Isolation
Not all grant writers are in organizations large enough to have dedicated grant writers on staff. In smaller non-profits, many Executive Directors end up shouldering the load of securing funding for the organization, which means being an event organizer and a grant writer.
But even in situations where staff may be few, it’s important to gain different points of view and to include others in the process of developing a grant application.
Don’t try to do it all by yourself. Leverage the strengths and skills of your Board or your volunteers. Use others in the research, writing, and editing processes of your proposal development. Having more insight from trusted sources can increase your proposal success rate significantly.
Find a way to build your grant writing team to include others in the overall process.
Secret To Success #3 – Think About The Future
Grant writing can often feel as though it’s in an urgent stage all the time. The deadlines seem to come fast and furious and at times in the life of the organization that are inconvenient and filled with other priorities. The reality is everyone is busy. When we do get a breather from the grant writing chaos, the last thing we often want to do is continue to think about on grant writing.
But, it’s vital for an organization to look ahead to its future and the grant writing that may need to happen in the next six months to two years. What happens if your only grant writer leaves? What vital information about the organization would they take with them that would be difficult, if not impossible, to replace?
Future planning could drastically impact the success of the organization and its ability to secure funding in both the short- and long-term.
How Do You Measure Success?
When working with grant writers, we often have to remind them that hearing “no” and experiencing some level of failure is absolutely normal. You just can’t expect to get funded every time; as it’s just not a reasonable measuring stick for any grant writer.
When referring to “successful” grant writers in any of our blog posts, please understand these are not individuals with a 100% grant success rate.
It’s more about long-term success, how much revenue the grant writers have realized over the years, and the impact they have been able to experience in their organization because of those grants.
Be the best grant writer you can possibly be. Learn from other successful grant writers and understand their secrets. Along the way, be sure to reach out to us and let us in on your secrets so we can pass them along to others.
There Are Many Successful Grant Writers Willing To Help
Do you know any experienced and successful grant writers in your community? If you haven’t taken the time to seek out relationships with other grant writers, We encourage you to be intentional about including that in your grant writing job description. Get out there. Meet some other individuals who are writing grants for their organizations, and pick their brains. Learn from them, and take everything you can to become a better and more successful grant writer. People like to help. People like to share their expertise with others, and grant writers are no different. It might just make you a better grant writer.