Posts

Letters Of Support – Done Right

Letters of support can seem like an “add-on” and you may even wonder if they really make a difference. We’re here to say they do.

Quality letters of support can help you get a “yes” verdict on your grant application. Keep reading to find out what makes a letter of support really stand out.

What Is A Letter Of Support?

A letter of support from a partner or supportive organization is their assertion that your organization should be funded. In writing the letter, they’re saying, “If we were the funder, we’d definitely give this organization the money… and here are a few reasons why.”

So, how does a letter of support help?

#1 – It Establishes A Level Of Credibility

Having a strong letter of support from other organizations can build credibility. If others believe this program or project is a good idea, it may just have some merit. Letters of support let a funder know that others recognize the problem you have identified and they agree with the solutions you propose.

A letter of support may also highlight for a funder the role that another organization is going to play within the project. If the partner organization is bringing a new skill set, resource, or specific expertise that your organization does not have, these additional credentials can enhance the overall strength of the application.

In the end, the letter of support can build trust with a funder and make them feel comfortable with their investment.

#2 – It Shows A Community Commitment To The Program

If a number of members of a community are committed to a project, a funder may be more likely to want to invest. In some instances a “lone wolf” organization may hold less appeal.

An organization choosing to work in isolation doesn’t necessarily preclude that organization from getting funding, but letters from other community leaders that speak specifically to their support for a program can certainly solidify the need, importance, and overall worth of the proposed solution.

#3 – It Demonstrates Genuine Collaboration

Beyond a community commitment, a letter of support can show that genuine collaboration exists. In a letter of support, an organization can highlight their specific involvement and show exactly how they plan to be involved in the program.

Giving money to the project, in-kind gifts, steering committee leadership, building space, or administrative support are examples of ways an organization might be willing to collaborate or partner. Making it abundantly clear inside a letter of support what the partnership will look like can help a funder fully understand how multiple organizations will work together to impact their community.

The Key Elements Of A Beneficial Letter Of Support

Not all letters of support are created equal. Here are a few key thoughts to consider when writing or asking someone to write a letter of support.

The Letter Should Be Unique

Templates are a popular approach when it comes to producing letters of support. In many cases, to ensure you get your letter completed in time for the submission of your proposal, and to make life as easy as possible for the writer, organizations will put together a template in advance and ask the partner organization to fill in the blanks. It’s a great way to ensure efficiency, but can detract from the overall effectiveness of the letter of support.

In cases where you may only be looking to receive one letter of support, a template may be a helpful way to go, but if you’re asking for multiple letters, you will want to make sure a funder doesn’t receive five letters that all sound eerily similar.

If you do want to go the way of providing templates, it may mean you have to develop a number of different ones, or it may be that you simply ask the organizations to write their own. Plan to talk to them on the phone or in person and give them some ideas for what they might include and what might be most helpful.

However you decide to handle the process, be sure each of your letters of support have some substance and a one-of-a-kind feel to them. Don’t just pump them out with an assembly line type approach – funders will recognize this and it won’t be helpful.

The Letter Should Relate To The Activities In The Proposal

A letter of support needs to be relevant. If a letter is too vague, a funder may feel like the writer of the letter doesn’t know enough about the program to write with specificity. Make sure your partners understand the program and have some insight on the solution and how it will be carried out.

Provide your partner with a copy of your needs statement and take a few moments to walk through some of the activities. Make some specific decisions about how they will be involved so they can refer to those activities in a definitive way.

The more information your partners have, the easier it will be for them to write helpful letters.

The Letter Should Be From Partners First And Foremost

The best letters of support you will get are from the organizations that are planning to partner with you in very specific ways. Some organizations get letters of support from agencies that think the program is a good idea, but have no intention of collaborating in any tangible way. Those letters are nowhere near as helpful. A funder may wonder, “If this idea is so good, why aren’t you getting involved?”

If you don’t have any partners specifically involved in the program with you, getting support from agencies in the community can be helpful.

The Letter Should Be Clear and Concise

A letter of support should be no more than a page long. A letter of support is not a place to provide more research or to try and make additional points about the virtues of the program. It’s meant to let the funder know why and how a partner will be getting involved.

Want More Information About How To Craft A Letter Of Support? Access Your FREE Template

Letters of support can be a helpful and valuable component to any grant application. To help you write and receive the best letters of support, we’ve put together an outline that provides some insight into what to include.

To gain access to the “Letter of Support Outline Template,” download the document here by providing us with your name and email address. It’s FREE and your email address is safe with us (we won’t be giving it to anyone).

  • To download your file, you must agree to the GrantsEdge Terms of Service.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

How To Build A Massive Grants Database In Just Five Minutes A Day

Do you think finding the perfect grant opportunity is like finding a needle in an excessively large and messy haystack? As you’ve scoured the Internet, you may have seen a few potential options, but felt like none of them were a good fit.

So what do you do? You get frustrated, tell yourself there’s nothing out there, and chase the same four or five grants hoping the funders say “yes” this year. The whole thing can be really stressful.

What if you could have access to hundreds of potential grants that are the perfect fit for your program, for free? You can, and it’s not that hard. All you need is consistency, commitment, and five minutes a day.

There Are A Ton Of Funding Opportunities Out There

We’ve told you this before, but it’s so important we want to tell you again.

In our blog post, “One Easy Step To Finding New Funding Opportunities,” we showed you how you can use your everyday schedule to uncover potential funding opportunities. If you haven’t read it, go read it now. It will give you some great ideas to help you build your new database. But remember to come back here when you’re done!

In the blog post, we highlighted the fact that there are thousands of funding opportunities available across the country and new ones being developed all the time. Yet, many grant writers only know about five to ten of those funders… and thousands go unnoticed.

3 Ways To Gather Information About Potential Grants

Building your massive grants database is going to happen one opportunity at a time. Here are three easy ways you can begin to identify new funding opportunities to add to your database.

#1: Use Free Online Resources

If you follow us on Facebook (@GrantsEdge) and Twitter (@GrantsEdge), you’ll learn about new funding opportunities each week. We also include funding opportunities in our weekly email to our GrantsEdge Insider subscribers. If you go back through our social media posts or emails, you’ll easily learn about 60+ new funding opportunities without breaking a sweat!

Federal, provincial, and municipal governments and corporations also list the funding programs they have available on their websites. You can also sign up for newsletters through these sites, which let you know when funding opportunities become available.

If you commit to looking at one corporation’s website a day, or one government ministry website, you’ll start to access the hundreds of opportunities that exist and you’ll build yourself one massive database that’ll cost you nothing. As a bonus, you can access your database whenever you need it. Make sure you record opportunities that might not be relevant now, because they may be relevant to you in the future.

#2: Use Your Network

Word of mouth is a powerful tool, and you can get tons of helpful information by simply connecting with the people you know. Be intentional about staying in touch with other grant writers.

Don’t be shy about asking others to point you in the direction of a new grant opportunity. You’ll be amazed at how willing others are to share what they know. Through all of your interactions, be ready to share your ideas with others as well. Put a plan in place, and begin to pick up the phone, send a few emails, and set up some coffee dates, and you will start to see your database grow.

Remember, when you’re building your database, you don’t need to be selective about opportunities. If the funding opportunity could be a fit at some point down the road, for you or someone else, include it in your database. You may not always write grants for the same organization, so having a wide variety of opportunities is never a bad way to go.

#3: Access Indirect Sources Of Grants

You may have heard of “The Hidden Job Market.” It refers to available jobs that never get posted, and they actually make up about 80% of all job openings. Doesn’t it seem odd that 80 available jobs out of 100 never get posted anywhere? But it’s true!

Finding grant opportunities is exactly the same. There are thousands of funders who don’t necessarily market their funding programs, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. As you flip through magazines (Canada Business, MacLean’s Magazine, etc. ) or read your local newspapers, you’re often staring at potential funding opportunities. Most of the companies you read about or drive by day after day have funding programs and sponsorship opportunities of some kind. Again, it may take some work, but if you buy a new cell phone at Best Buy, you may be staring right at a potential funder.

As you watch commercials (for those who don’t fast forward through them) or access business directories, know that they are filled with sources of grant funding. It will only take a few minutes to gather the information to put into your database. The result: you’ll begin to grow a database you can go back to again and again.

Make Building Your Database Part Of Your Daily Routine

The secret to building your database in just five minutes a day is recognizing opportunities and consistently putting them into your database. One day, a friend might pass along an opportunity while you enjoy lunch together. The next day, you might get an email from a local organization with a funding opportunity highlighted in their newsletter, and a few days later, you might notice an opportunity on Facebook you hadn’t heard of before. A week later, you might do a quick online search after filling up for gas at Petro-Canada and seeing something about their work in the community.

And so you build your database… one opportunity at a time, one day at a time, one week at a time. At first, you’ll have one grant, then ten, then 50, and then 100. Before you know it, you’ll have a massive database of opportunities and wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. The time will pass anyway, so you might as well build your database.

Find Out More About Building Your Database

If you’re ready to build your own grants database, we’ve got more information for you. We’ve prepared a list of questions you should be thinking about as you research your prospects and a template that shows you exactly how to put your database together.

To gain access to the “Grants Database Template,” download the document here by providing us with 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).

  • To download your file, you must agree to the GrantsEdge Terms of Service.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Hot Tips From Savvy Grant Writers

I love getting my hands on grants written by other grant writers. It’s a fascinating way to learn new tips, tricks, and different ways of approaching grant application questions. I’m also fortunate that, through my work at GrantsEdge, I get to hear about how hundreds of other grant writers approach grant writing.

Today, I’m sharing with you some of the hot tips I’ve received from grant writers. Keep reading to find out what they are.

Here’s What Grant Writers Have To Say About How They Write Grants

1. The Preparation Stage

Preparing to write a grant is as important as actually writing the grant. You can learn a lot in the preparation stage to help you successfully develop your proposal, including laying a solid foundation for writing and establishing an undeniable fit with the funder’s objectives.

Here’s what some grant writers have told me about how they prepare to write a grant:

  • “We start with a thorough review of what the funder has provided as far as guidelines and purpose. We try to understand what they are looking for before we ever write our first word.”
  • “We read through the information the funder has provided and ask a few important questions. Does our request meet their criteria? What’s the timeline and can we meet it? Will this be a major effort for us to write and how much time will it really take? Who on our team needs to be involved? After answering those questions, we put together a work plan and begin to connect with the appropriate people.”
  •  “We plan to have a meeting with the funder to ask questions and identify any issues.”
  • “We do a lot of work up front to decide if it’s worthwhile even writing the proposal. We don’t want to waste our time… or the funder’s.”
  • “I like to connect with like-minded organizations in our community to find out if they have plans to submit a proposal. If we can do something bigger and better together, I like to explore those collaboration opportunities before we get too far into the process.”

2. The Writing Stage

For some grant writers, the writing stage is fun and exciting. For others, it’s challenging, time-consuming, frustrating, and just plain hard.

Here’s what some grant writers said they do during the writing process:

  • “I start writing at the top and work my way through, question by question, starting with bullet points initially. I’ll move past some questions if I feel stumped at all. I’ll come back to those questions later, but will have had more time to prepare my thoughts about how to answer.”
  • “I will write a first draft in a Word document. I also go back to previous proposals to look for helpful information and ideas I can use in the new proposal. As I write, I am very focused on making sure the proposal resonates with the funder’s language and priorities.”
  • “I try to set aside uninterrupted time to write, but that can be incredibly difficult. With some of the bigger grants, I plan to work from home during portions of the week as I have fewer distractions there.”
  • “Our organization often has as many as three people writing within the same grant. We plan to collaborate often during the writing process so we ensure some consistency in our messaging, style, and tone.”
  • “If time allows – and I work really hard to ensure I have the time – I will write one section of the proposal at a time. I find I’m much fresher that way and don’t feel overwhelmed if I write smaller sections over the course of a number of days. Trying to write everything all at once, for me, is a recipe for disaster. If I want a funder to get my best work, I need time to sit with it.”

3. The Review Stage

Funders tell us all the time that it seems, based on the hundreds of proposals they have reviewed, that many grant writers don’t take the time to review their proposals before hitting the submit button. A thorough review process gives grant writers the chance to correct spelling and grammar mistakes, revise content, and make sure the proposal generally makes sense.

Here’s what some grant writers had to say about their review process:

  • “I include my wife in the review process. If she’s confused by what we are trying to say and do in the proposal, there’s a good chance a review panel may have the same issues.”
  • “We like to use the “Track Changes” tool in Word to provide feedback as it’s easy to read and an easy way to accept changes and revisions directly in the proposal.”
  • “We have a specific person in our office who is brilliant with reviewing and editing spelling, grammar, and general consistency in the writing, and we have her do a review of every proposal before it leaves our office. We make sure to build her review time into the work plan so she isn’t always having to do it in the late stages of the process.”
  • “Our leadership team is always involved in the review process to ensure the proposal is highlighting the program in the most effective ways.”
  • “We use our regular bi-weekly managers’ meetings to check in often throughout the process. We would rather review on an ongoing basis compared to taking only one look at it.”

Some Bonus Input From Grant Writers

What was the most helpful piece of advice you read? What can you implement into your grant writing to ensure you produce the best proposals?

The preparation, writing, and review stages are important parts of the overall process and the areas where grant writers have given us the most feedback. Occasionally, we get ideas and feedback from grant writers that don’t always fit neatly into one of those three stages of the process.

Here are a few additional pieces of feedback you might find helpful.

About Budgets:

  • “We involve our finance manager in the grant writing process from the very beginning. It’s so helpful, especially when looking at the budget.”
  • “I like to start with the budget to help me see what’s possible. From there, we can narrow it down to the key goals.”

After Submitting The Grant:

  • “We always follow up with the funder to make sure they have received the grant.“
  • “I set up a tracking system when we are granted funds in order to follow it through to completion. This definitely helps us make sure we complete all the final reports.”

Relationships With Funders:

  • “I didn’t understand how important it was in the first year to get on the phone with funders.”

If you like reading about what other grant writers have to say, we encourage you to have a look at “Confessions of Embarrassed Grant Writers.” Discover some of the things grant writers are embarrassed to admit. You’ll likely feel better about your own situation.

We’d Love To Hear From You

We’re always interested to know what you have to say about grant writing. Do you have some insight or a few ideas you think other grant writers might find helpful?

  • How do you prepare for writing grant proposals?
  • What process do you use for writing?
  • What does your review process look like?

Connect with us on Facebook (@GrantsEdge), on Twitter (@GrantsEdge), or through email to share your thoughts, frustrations, brilliant ideas, or questions. We look forward to connecting with you!

Writing A Compelling Summary: How To Grab A Funder’s Attention

The summary section of a grant proposal can feel incredibly overwhelming because many grant writers think they have to summarize every part of their entire proposal in 250 words or less. It doesn’t have to be that difficult! With an easy-to-implement outline and a handful of helpful ideas, your next summary section can be the most compelling you’ve ever written.

What Is The Purpose Of A Summary?

Before we get too far into how to write a summary for your grant proposal, it’s first important to understand why we write it in the first place. The summary is often the first impression a grant writer gets to make on a funder. The job of the summary then, is to sell. Your summary should be persuasive, should sell your solution, should “knock their socks off” and should help the funder decide quickly they want to partner and invest in your organization.

The summary brings proposal to life and to encourage the funder to read more about your project or program. It’s not about trying to outline your entire grant proposal for them…that’s just too much too soon, but the other parts of your application should begin to fill in any of the blanks.

What Components Make Up An Irresistible Summary?

We’ve put together the five core components we believe you need to consider each time you write your summary.

Component #1 – The Opening

How many times have you started a book or a movie and a few pages or minutes in you have an overwhelming feeling that this is going to be bad…or that it’s not your style? It happens, and it’s amazing how quickly we’re prepared to move on to something we’ll like better. If the opening few words or sentences to your summary is boring, bad, or not helpful, a funder may be inclined to skip past you to the next proposal.

Your opening needs to be strong, it needs to grab their attention, and it needs to be compelling. To accomplish this, we would suggest avoiding anything about your organization, and make your introduction all about the “hero” of the story. The reviewers of grant proposals are humans, with human emotions, so find a way to strike a chord with them and make them take notice. Make them “fall in love” with your hero right from the start.

In an earlier GrantsEdge blog post we wrote about how to most effectively tell a story when writing your grant application. In it we described the “hero”, who represents the clients or community you serve. They represent the main character of your story, and are the ones your funder is most interested in understanding. Write your opening in such a way that funders know the hero needs some kind of support or a solution to a problem. Read more in this blog to find out about the “hero” of your story, how story telling and grant writing connect.

Component #2 – The Issue

The “Issue” is the part of the summary where you clearly demonstrate your understanding of the need that exists with your clients or in your community. In a clear and concise way you should define what problem exists and that it needs an urgent response. In writing the summary you might include some of your most important research and highlight the evidence it uncovers.

Make sure that your focus continues to be centred around the hero of the story and the need that they have, and not on your organization.

Component #3 – The Solution

This is the place where your organization can begin to shine. Once you have highlighted the main issue, it’s time to provide a glimpse into the innovative solution that your organization has developed and why it’s the right fit for this problem at this time. If you are anything like most grant writers, you will be inclined to want to lay out the entire solution at this point, to make sure the funder sees it and understands it all. The summary is not the place for all the details, but the place where you will just pull back the curtain slightly to let them see enough that they are intrigued, but that it also clear what the organization intends to do if awarded funding dollars.

Be sure to write about your solution at a very high level, avoid acronyms so that you don’t alienate your reader, and make sure that anyone, no matter how much they understand your “industry”, can easily recognize how your solution works and how it deals with the issue written about earlier in the summary.

This section of the summary would also be an appropriate place to highlight the cost of the solution and the financial ask that you will be making of the funder. As in other places in the summary, you will not have the opportunity to walk them through the entire budget for your project or program, but will only provide the main parts of what your solution will cost and the role the funder will play in that solution. If you have other funders, partners, or investors involved, this would be an ideal time to make that known.

Component #4 – The Credibility

What authority or credibility does your organization have to effectively deliver the solution? When formulating your summary you will want to demonstrate to the funder that your team is qualified and capable of managing the program or project, while also showing how your experience and leadership sets you apart from other organizations who may serve a similar target group.

This would be the time in your summary to highlight a few very specific reasons why the organization will be successful in delivering this project and ensuring positive impact for the participants.

Component #5 – The Funder

The final component of the summary provides the opportunity for the grant writer to establish the link between the goals of the project with how they align with the purpose or mission of the funder. As with everything else in the summary, be clear and concise in pointing out how the work of your organization fits nicely with what the funder is also looking to accomplish. You will want to be sure to have read through the funder’s guidelines, objectives, and overall purpose for their fund in order to show how working together makes sense. By doing this, your summary can further solidify for a funder that together a real difference can be made.

When Should I Write My Summary?

There is no right or wrong answer to when one should write their summary. There are successful grant writers on both sides of this question. Some find it easier and more effective to write the summary before any other part of the grant proposal, as it then becomes the outline for the rest of the application.

There are others who feel more comfortable waiting to write the summary at the end so they can be sure to clearly articulate the main highlights of the proposal. A proposal can often go through a number of iterations and changes, so for us, waiting until the other sections of the proposal are written is the path that we would most often choose.

As you gain experience in writing grant proposals you will likely find your groove. If you are early in your grant writing career, I would encourage you to try it both ways to see if one fits better with your style.

Make A Great First Impression

Your summary is your first chance to wow your funder and excite them about the opportunity your organization is proposing. By including the components we have described in this blog, you will have the chance to grab their attention quickly, demonstrate to them that you understand the issue, show them that you have a great solution and the capacity to implement that solution, and finally, highlight for them how your program or project aligns with their goals and objectives. Those are the ingredients needed to make a persuasive and lasting impression with your funder, one that will encourage them to dig into your full proposal, and one that will hopefully pave the way to the funding you need to impact your community.

5 Grant Writing Tips To Make A Funder Giggle… In A Good Way

You might be thinking that GrantsEdge writes a lot about what grant writers need to consider as it relates to funders. Well, you’re right, we do. The reality is that we do it very intentionally because it’s with funders where your grant proposals either die on the review table or live to bring financial support to innovative and impactful projects and worthy participants through the work of your organization.

Are You Ready For Some More Grant Writing Advice From Funders?

Just a couple of weeks ago we gave you some insight on a recent conversation we had with funders in our blog, “Get In On The Secret: What Funders Want Grant Writers To Know.” If you haven’t read it already, you may want to either read it now, before you really dive into this blog, or you may want to read it as soon as you are done here so that you can gain even more perspective on what funders want grant writers to know…and more importantly, what they want you to do.

As we prepared and developed an outline for the blog this week, we realized how much more insight we had from funders that we needed to share. So here are five more grant writing tips we have learned from funders that, if implemented, will make them super happy.

What Are The Five Grant Writing Tips?

There’s so much more to writing a successful grant than the actual writing. Managing the overall process of a grant application as well as being intentional about the way you establish relationships with funders and community partnerships can dramatically alter the fate of your proposals.

Tip #1 – Be An Awesome Partner

Funders like to invest their resources in programming or projects that have well thought out partnerships. Funders are looking to avoid the duplication of services that can take place in communities and know that when organizations work together effectively, amazing work can get done. Funders know that most programs can accomplish more with greater community involvement.

If you are not the one in your organization to spearhead collaborative relationships with other agencies or partners, take some time now to meet with representatives of your leadership team to explain to them the importance of collaboration in grant writing.

Underline the fact that the more that can be done to build relationships and establish strong working partnerships before a proposal is written, the more influential that part of a grant application will be when viewed through the eyes of a review committee.

Tip #2 – Ask Questions That Haven’t Already Been Answered

We’ve talked in multiple blogs about the value of building relationships with your funding partners. Part of building trust and credibility comes through in the questions that you ask. When you are connecting with funders and gathering information about an upcoming application, be sure to do your homework first. Asking questions that can be easily understood by referring to a website or reading page two of the application guidelines is a sure way of frustrating your funder. Use your questions to dig a little deeper and to get some perspective from funders that you may not understand after having read through the application instructions.

Look at these two questions and think about which one might provide you with more helpful information:

  1. Can you explain what the term “collaborative partnerships” means to you?
  2. Can you provide an example of how an organization that you invested in within the past few years implemented an effective collaborative partnership that was able to positively impact a project or program?

It may well be that you need to understand more completely what the funder means by “collaborative partnerships”, it’s not a bad question in and of itself, so ask away. But if you are going to connect with a funder, don’t just ask questions for the sake of asking, and certainly don’t ask questions that you can easily find answers to yourself.

An Egyptian novelist, Naguib Mahfoz once said, “You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” Your questions will make an impression with your funder, so be sure they are thoughtful and valuable.

Tip #3 – Make Reasonable Funding Requests

At GrantsEdge we hear numerous anecdotes from funders, that provide us with ammunition for our blogs and stories for our training events. This next story is one that is difficult to imagine, but does a great job at demonstrating just how unreasonable some grant writers can be as they develop their proposals.

A funder we know once told us that they received a hand-written application requesting $1 million dollars. That alone should raise some eyebrows. But the other interesting part of the story is that the organization making this significant request had an operating budget the year before that totaled $5,000.

Without the entire context of the story, and without giving the grant writer (we don’t actually know who they are) a chance to defend him or herself, this seems to be an example of a grant writer/organization that hasn’t necessarily considered the perspective of a funder.

Funders want to have confidence that an organization can be an effective steward of the money they have invested. The organization making the million-dollar request may well be able to effectively manage that kind of budget, but the funder told us this story because based on all the information they had, nothing about the proposal was reasonable.

Funders are excited to give money to all kinds of organizations, whether they are grass roots operating on streamlined budgets, or whether they are large non-profits with multi-million dollar budgets…and anything in between. But, when making your funding request, be realistic with the approach to your ask. Put yourself in a funder’s position and understand their perspective before crafting your proposal.

And, in case you weren’t sure, please don’t hand write your proposal.

Tip #4 – Keep The Funder Updated

There are times when significant changes happen within your organization after you have completed the original submission of an application but before a final determination is made. In those circumstances, it is important to communicate with the funder to provide them with new information. Examples might include (but are not limited to) a change at the Executive Director level or a revision to program outcomes. Another scenario that needs to be considered is when an organization has received funding for the project from another source. New information about the budget might change the actual amount now needed to run the project, or might encourage the funder with the fact that a solid financial foundation is in place to effectively move a project forward successfully. Any kind of adjustment in the financial information related to your request may further encourage a funder to invest and may bring an increased sense of confidence in the project.

If changes occur and you are not sure if you should connect with a funder, then connect. It would be better to have that conversation in advance, knowing that there is nothing that could sabotage or create issues in the future.

Tip #5 – Know How To Tell Time

If, at GrantsEdge, we had a nickel for every time a grant writer was feeling stressed about meeting a proposal deadline…well, you know how that saying goes…we’d probably have a lot of money. We know grant writing can be a challenge in regards to the time it takes to complete a quality proposal. We know that deadlines often seem tight and that application submission dates always seem to fall at the worst possible times. But, as a grant writer, you need to know (if you don’t already) that funders don’t like it when you send a proposal in past the deadline, and in many cases they can’t do anything about the fact that it was late.

We can’t stress enough the idea that you can’t be even one second past the funder’s deadline. In many cases now, an online proposal won’t be accepted or can’t even physically be sent once the time has passed. But, even if a funder was gracious enough to accept your proposal, what kind of impression do you think submitting a late application really makes? Fair or not, your tardiness brings into question your organization’s ability to follow direction, implement a work plan, or manage time in general. A late proposal may suggest that your funder was not a priority and that you are not ready to receive their money.

We can’t stress enough the importance of building a work plan that allows you to submit a proposal a few days before the deadline. Think of the stress you will avoid, and imagine the smile on the face of your funder when they see that an organization has worked diligently to complete a proposal before the deadline. That sounds like a win, win situation.

What Do You Need To Do To Make Your Funder Smile?

We think reflection and evaluation is important. Ask yourself and your grant writing team to think about these five tips to gain an understanding for whether or not you currently make funders happy with the way you write grants. Is there anything you can do differently? Is there anything you need to begin to plan for now that can put your grant writing processes in a much better place? Are there partnerships you need to initiate? Are there questions you need to be asking?

The next time you talk to a funder, take a few minutes to ask them what makes them happy, or what grant writers do to frustrate them, and don’t be shocked when some of the tips mentioned in this blog (and some of our other blogs) are at the forefront of their mind. We want you to write successful grants, and these ideas are another small piece of the puzzle that will keep you moving in the right direction.

Get In On The Secret: What Funders Want Grant Writers To Know

Connecting and talking with funders is something we try and do as often as we can. We know that every conversation will turn into an opportunity to gather valuable grant writing tips and helpful information that we can pass along to all of you.

This past week was no different. We had the opportunity to sit around a boardroom table with seven funders, from a variety of government and community funding organizations, to “pick their brain” about what successful grant writers consistently implement and execute to ensure the best proposals get submitted.

Writing Effective And Successful Grants Isn’t As Hard As You Might Think

After years of writing grants and getting to know funders, we find it interesting that not much has changed in what it takes to submit a successful proposal.

Yes, grant applications look different and have moved online, and there has been a shift in funding priorities that now seeks greater collaboration, innovation, evaluation, and overall impact of a program or project, but what funders talk about as it relates to what makes grant writers successful remains strikingly familiar and within reach for anyone trusted with the task of securing funds for their organization.

It’s Time To Get Back To Grant Writing Basics

Part of our role at GrantsEdge is to share information directly from funders, and to ensure that grant writers have everything they need to write successful grants. So, no matter how long you have been writing grants, whether it’s been five years or five days, we encourage you to take out your pen, or get you keyboard ready to take a few notes.

The following five ideas may not be new for many of you, but the funders we spoke with reminded us that grant writers continue to make the same mistakes and fail to recognize the importance of some of these foundational elements. It’s time to reflect on your own grant writing, be honest with yourself, and make sure you’re doing everything funders tell us that successful grant writers do each time they submit a new proposal.

5 Foundational Ideas You Need To Implement To Be Successful

The following five ideas are not listed in a priority sequence. They are all equally important, and the funders were uniformly passionate about the relevance of each and the emphasis one should place on all of these concepts.

1. Successful Grant Writers Understand Funding Guidelines

Each and every funding opportunity comes with a set of guidelines and expectations. Successful grant writers take the time to read the guidelines, understand the funder’s priorities, and take note of the application instructions. Once they’ve read through the guidelines once, they do it again, with a highlighter in hand, keeping track of any questions they might have to ask.

It is within this part of the process that a grant writer will determine whether their program or project is a strong fit with the funder’s overall objectives, while also gaining awareness for any boundaries or restrictions related to receiving funding.

Why is this so important?

Funders often receive applications that don’t comply with their instructions or requirements. Some grant writers think their proposal will be so compelling that funders might overlook their guidelines to fund a project that falls outside their core purpose. They won’t, they can’t – trust us on this.

Not fully understanding the guidelines of a funder is a quick and easy way to waste your time and ensure an unsuccessful result.

2. Successful Grant Writers Talk To Funders Before They Write

We know that not all funders make themselves available to grant writers, but many are very open and willing to connect. Long before you even begin to type your first word in the grant proposal, funders want you to understand how important and valuable it is to reach out and begin to build a relationship. Funders appreciate the opportunity to answer your questions, clarify information, understand your program more closely, and provide insight that can guide your writing.

Why Is This So Important?

Funders want organizations to be successful in their grant writing. Funders want to join organizations in bringing significant impact to communities. They want to find credible partners who can be effective stewards of the money they have to invest. One of the best ways to accomplish all of these things is by working in partnership to bring a successful proposal together. Effectively and regularly communicating with a funder can be one of the best ways to increase your chances of success.

In an GrantsEdge blog from October of 2016, we wrote about how to have successful meetings with funders. In, “A Halloween Story: Turn Meetings With Funders From Scary To Successful,” we outline three ideas you should consider to ensure a meeting with a funder goes well. Read this blog to gain some helpful ideas and resources that will make talking to funders easy. Inside the blog you’ll have access to a FREE template that will outline how to write an effective concept paper.

In another GrantsEdge Blog from September of 2016 we write about “The #1 Step You Must Take To Improve Your Grant Writing.” In this blog we also write about the how important it is to meet and build relationships with funders. Inside the blog you will have access to a FREE email template that you can use to reach out and schedule meetings with funders.

Take advantage of these FREE resources and make connecting with funders a huge priority.

3. Successful Grant Writers Know Their Audience

Do you actually know who will be reading your proposal? Are the reviewers a group of staff members from the funder’s office, a small group of community members, or a combination of staff and volunteers? Successful grant writers take the time to find out who will be reviewing their proposal and what is most important to that specific group. Will the reviewers be motivated by logic or emotion? Will the reviewers be most engaged by story or data, or both? In the end, it may be a combination of all of the above, but without asking any questions and attempting to understand the reader, your proposal may come up incredibly short.

Successful grant writers focus their proposal on what is important to the funder, not on what the writer necessarily thinks is important. Reading the guidelines and talking to a funder (see points 1 and 2 above) can provide the insight needed to engage your audience effectively and realize a successful proposal.

Why Is This So Important?

With tens and potentially even hundreds of proposals to read, a review committee is faced with the unenviable task of identifying the best projects to fund. If your proposal is written in a way that does not resonate well with the review team, it can be quickly moved to the bottom of a very large pile. Be very clear in your writing so that your audience knows, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they are understood, that you have their priorities and objectives in mind, and that your project is worth the investment.

4. Successful Grant Writers Submit Mistake Free Proposals

Just like the clothes you wear can leave a certain impression with the people that see you, so too can a mistake and error-filled grant proposal influence the perception funders have of you and your organization. We are amazed at how often funders receive proposals with multiple spelling and grammar mistakes and budgets with numbers that don’t add up properly. Successful grant writers ensure a rigorous editing, review, and revision process is followed. Successful grant writers invite fresh eyes and outside perspectives to read their proposals and provide feedback. Successful grant writers put a process in place to ensure that each application is completed with excellence in mind.

Why Is This So Important?

Funders are seeking credible and professional organizations within which to invest their dollars and maximize impact. By submitting proposals filled with errors, funders may be left wondering if the organization has what it takes to successfully organize, operate, and manage a project. Everyone makes mistakes, it’s part of life, but a sloppy grant proposal is not the way to build trust with a funder. Don’t have your proposal moved to the “no” pile because the time wasn’t taken or the process wasn’t implemented to review the document before sending.

Added bonus: If you use the cut and paste method in the development of a grant proposal, be sure to watch for words, titles, or names of organizations that are specific to one proposal and not relevant for another. A funder can be quickly frustrated by a proposal that has a different funders name mentioned within it. Imagine being called by someone else’s name…it doesn’t feel very good, and certainly makes you think the other person either doesn’t care or lacks attention to detail.

5. Successful Grant Writers Write Like They’ve Never Been Funded Before

Grant writers, especially ones who have some experience, have been successful in the past, or do grant writing for large organizations that have historically gained funding, can begin to believe that they don’t have to work very hard on their proposals because funding is a foregone conclusion. This is not universal, of course, but it is easy for grant writers to get somewhat complacent and just routinely “pump out” proposal after proposal without truly thinking about what funders need or want.

Funders have been very clear that times are changing. Grant writers can no longer expect to get funded just because they have in the past. Organizations can no longer assume money will be awarded to them because they have a large program that has been run for years. Funders are more focused than ever on the impact of a program and the difference it truly makes. Grant writers will need to be very intentional about demonstrating the need for their program and the change the community will experience because of the program. Funders want you to write with urgency, and passion, and like the success and health of your community depends on every word and every number you include in your proposal.

Why Is This So Important?

It’s a new day for funders. The status quo for proposals will no longer be good enough. More organizations are asking for more money, and the competition for funding dollars continues to rise. To gain funding for your organization, don’t write your proposal as though it is going to get funded no matter what. Find some new and creative ways to tell your story and to share you message. Make sure funders understand the value and importance of the work you are doing. Do everything you can to make it impossible for them to say no.

So Now What?

Is it time for some reflection? Is it time to implement some new ideas or tactics into your grant writing processes? Based on what our funders have told us, are you a successful grant writer?

Although these ideas are somewhat basic in nature, our funders couldn’t express passionately enough how important these five components are to being successful as a grant writer. Don’t assume you are doing it right. Take some time to evaluate and look for ways to improve. Take the opportunity to gain some feedback from funders on proposals that weren’t successful so that you can find out if you dropped the ball in one or more of these areas. And the next time you are getting ready to write a proposal, have this list close by to ensure you give yourself every opportunity to experience success.

  1. Understand The Guidelines
  2. Talk To Funders Before You Write
  3. Know Your Audience
  4. Submit Mistake Free Proposals
  5. Write Like You’ve Never Been Funded Before

Effortless Ways To Save Time In The Grant Writing Process

When we asked grant writers to share their biggest grant writing challenges with us, many of them gave the same response: time.

We know that writing grants is one of the many things you do. It’s usually captured in the “other duties as assigned” line in your job description. Which means that writing grants becomes one of many competing priorities. It can often feel like there is not enough time to write a grant, never mind write it well.

5 Time Saving Tips

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Many grant writers struggle with finding enough time to write grants.

Below are five tips to help you limit the amount of time you will need to spend on the grant writing process. While not all of these tips will save you time directly, they will make the writing process much easier. And when writing is easier, you save time.

#1 Create A Work Plan… And Stick To It

Work backwards from the deadline outlined in your grant calendar and determine how much time you have before you need to submit. Plan out the time required to review, edit, and revise before submission. When you know how much time you have left to write the proposal, break it down into sections. Decide when you will write section 1, section 2, etc. The idea here is to plan everything out in advance so you know exactly when you need to have each section completed.

This tip will save you time in the sense that creating a plan for your writing will keep you on track and keep that proposal from eating up too much of your time.

#2 Plan Out What You’re Going To Write

As you review the questions asked in the grant application, think about how you will answer these questions. Don’t start writing anything yet, but feel free to make some point form notes. In addition, make a list of any questions you may have that must be answered before you can begin to write.

If possible, set up a meeting with the funder. We’ve written before about how important it is and how valuable it can be to meet with the funder before you begin to write your proposal.

Take this meeting as an opportunity to learn if what you want to write about is what they’re looking for and have any of your questions answered. With this knowledge in mind, you should have exactly what you need to complete each section of the proposal.

#3 Gather Your Documents In Advance

There are a number of pieces of information every funder will ask for in a proposal. Rather than wasting time searching again and again for this material, or re-writing already existing content, keep a folder on your computer of all the information funders regularly ask for.

First of all, having this information readily available in one location will save you from figuring out where to get the information you need or having to ask others to get it for you. Second, while you wouldn’t want to recycle an entire proposal completely, reusing those pieces that never or rarely change will keep you from having to re-write content that doesn’t need to be re-written.

Curious about what those pieces of information every funder asks for are? Download our checklist here.

#4 Keep A Notebook For Ideas

I’ve read that many authors keep a notebook strictly for ideas for the book they’re currently working on and separate notebooks for ideas for other books. When they’re out and about and something pops into their minds, they write it down. The same is useful for a grant writer.

Keep a notebook on you at all times for ideas you could incorporate into your proposals. When a co-worker cites an alarming statistic that your program is aiming to address, write it down. When a participant of your program approaches you and tells you how the program has impacted their life, write it down. When your program receives an award or some other recognition for your work, write it down. You may not use every idea, but collecting them will help you tell your story to the funder.

#5 Know What You Need To Do To Write Well

I know I do my best writing in the mornings, in un-interrupted silence. I used to listen to soft, instrumental music while I wrote, but have learned that doesn’t work best for me anymore.

Figure out what you need to do your best writing and do it. Communicate it to others. Tell your co-workers you are going to be writing and that you can’t be interrupted for the next few hours. Find a place that inspires you and makes you feel creative. Pour a cup of tea. Do whatever you need to do to make sure you are focused and are able to produce your best work. By creating an environment where you can concentrate, you can ensure you spend more time writing and less time responding to distractions.

Start Implementing These Tips Today

We know grant writing can be difficult, but we’re here to help make it a little easier. Start implementing these tips today to set yourself up for success the next time you’re preparing to write a grant. Spending less time writing grants means spending more time doing the other work you really love to do!

Common Documents Checklist

Don’t forget to download our checklist of documents every funder wants to see in your submission. Keeping these documents in one easy to access location will save you a ton of time in your grant writing process.

Provide your name and email below to download the checklist. It’s FREE and your email is safe with us.

  • To download your file, you must agree to the GrantsEdge Terms of Service.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
 

3 Grant Writing Myths That Are Limiting Your Success

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.

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).

  • To download your file, you must agree to the GrantsEdge Terms of Service.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
 

The #1 Step You Must Take To Improve Your Grant Writing

Many of my favourite memories, from working as a Program Manager at the Ontario Trillium Foundation, relate to meeting with potential grant applicants. I’ve sat in coffee shops, at kitchen tables, on park benches, and in boardrooms meeting with people who had ideas to transform the community. There were lots of laughs, a few tears, and incredible stories of resilience.

So How Can This Benefit Me?

For grant writers, there are many benefits to meeting with a funder before you submit your grant. Besides building relationships, the importance of which shouldn’t be underestimated, meeting with a funder provides opportunities for you, as a grant writer, to:

  • Check for alignment. Meeting with a funder gives you an opportunity to better understand their priorities. Through the discussion, you can make sure your program activities match with what the funder is interested in funding.
  • Improve your grant. Most funders have seen hundreds, if not thousands, of proposals. If you take the time to listen, funders can be a wealth of knowledge in terms of what you should and shouldn’t do when writing your proposal.
  • Save time. At an initial meeting, many funders will tell you whether your program appears to be a fit for what they fund. They obviously can’t guarantee your project will be funded. But, if you know upfront your project isn’t a fit, it will save you hours of time writing a proposal that will never be granted. This way, you can spend your time writing proposals where you do have a real chance.

Do you have to meet with the funder? No, you definitely don’t have to in most cases. There are some funders who won’t meet with you at all, and there are others that make it mandatory to meet with them.

It’s been my experience though, that meeting with a funder can help you write better grants.

If you’re not having success in grant writing, the number one step you can take is to meet with funders. Click To Tweet

I’m Sold, How Do I Go About Meeting With A Funder?

  • 1. Do Your Homework

    Before contacting the funder, become well versed in their language and with their programs. Review their website and access any resources they may provide, including Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). You might be able to answer many of your own questions in this way.

  • 2. Prepare Your Questions

    Write down your questions before you contact the funder. This will help you formulate your thoughts in advance and will help you feel more confident, which will be noticeable to the funder. This will also show a respect for the funder’s time. The funder will receive many inquiries from many different organizations about granting programs. If you have spoken to them in the past, don’t assume they remember you or your program. This is not a lack of interest on their part, but rather a product of the volume of interactions they have.

  • 3. Reaching Out

    Different funders have different ways of interacting with potential grantees. The key is to determine the funder’s preferred method of communication, and then use it. If they say they prefer to use email, don’t phone them – use email! Here are some ways you can connect with funders:

    • Information Sessions. Some funders have information sessions delivered in person or online. If they do, it’s a good idea to start there.
    • Telephone. Set a time to speak to a funder on the phone. Remember, don’t just call them up and expect them to be able to talk. Making an appointment respects the time of both you and the funder.
    • In Person. You can also request to meet with a funder in person. This will allow you to meet at a convenient location and discuss your idea together.

    Set telephone and in person meetings through email or phone. I personally think email is better, because the funder can respond to your request when it’s most convenient for them. But, if you can’t find their email address, a phone call might be your only option.

Where Do I Go From Here?

It’s time to get started! If you have a funder in mind, review their website, prepare your questions, determine how to best contact them, and then connect.

Are you nervous about contacting a funder to set up a time to meet? Don’t worry, the GrantsEdge Email Contact Template For Funders will provide you with everything you need.

  • To download your file, you must agree to the GrantsEdge Terms of Service.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Two Simple And Strategic Ways To Become A Grant Writing Superstar

Being a superstar is about being a “big deal,” being “the cheese” (yeah, it’s true, look it up), being a “hotshot,” and a “name.” Now, maybe you’ve never thought about being a superstar in the context of grant writing, but imagine what you could accomplish for your organization and your community if you did. And the reality is, it’s totally doable.

In an earlier post, I shared the Two Actions That Are Sabotaging You From Becoming A Grant Writing Superstar. In this post, I explore the two solutions that take you from saboteur to superstar.

By strategically implementing the two ideas outlined here, you’ll become instantly stronger and more successful in your grant writing. So what are the two solutions?

1. Start By Creating Your Program First

Start By Creating Your Program First

To experience success as a grant writer, it’s imperative to stay off funders’ websites until you have a program or project firmly established. While in pursuit of your vision and mission as an organization, you’ll naturally begin to think of and create new and different ways to serve your target audience.

Before you search for a funder, develop your idea, test assumptions, and establish the need for your program. Click To Tweet

Once the hard work is done to create your much-needed program, it will be considerably easier to pursue funding opportunities. With your mission clearly in sight, the pursuit of the ultimate funder can begin. Your research will be more robust and your search will be more focused. With this type of approach, finding the right funders for your idea will take significantly less time and be much less frustrating.

It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. Make the effort to find the right funder. Don’t bend your program beyond recognition just to fit funders’ priorities. Like a dog smells fear, many funders will sense the desperation in your proposal, and it won’t be funded.

By creating your program first, you can confidently begin to search for grants that fit. You’ll find funders whose mandate aligns with your mission and you’ll start to build strong, strategic relationships with funders. It’s win-win for everyone!

2. Build A Detailed Work Plan

Build A Detailed Work Plan

Making your way toward becoming a grant writing superstar may not be “rocket surgery” (thank you George Bush for your mixed metaphors), but it does take time, effort, and a good dose of planning.

Building a work plan and getting organized at the front end of a project can take some time. If incorporated properly, it can save you hours in the long run, can keep your hair from turning grey or falling out altogether, and can provide you with the margin needed to complete the grant with time to spare.

I’m going to show you how to build a work plan, so you can submit your proposal the day before it’s due – after having completed a full review and revision cycle too!

To build a work plan:

  1. Outline key phases. To begin, you’ll want to map out the key phases that need to occur to write and submit the grant. Phases are the larger categories of work that need to be completed. Examples of phases include, Conduct Research, Build Partnerships, and Complete Final Edit.
  2. Plan specific tasks. It’s important to determine the detailed tasks that need to be completed within each phase. The more detail you can provide in this section, the better. It will help you avoid last minute panic. For example, if the phase is Building Partnerships, tasks may include approach potential partners, meet to discuss partnership opportunities, and ask for letters of support.
  3. Set deadlines. Critical to a work plan are firm deadlines. They help to communicate expectations and ensure the necessary work gets done. Deadlines can include month, day, and year. For example, September 25, 2016 or 25/09/16.
  4. Determine accountability. Putting a name beside a task, gives each task an owner. It helps all team members identify the role they’ll play in the preparation and submission of the proposal. Only assign one person to a task in a work plan. When more than one person is assigned to a task, it’s too easy for the task to fall between the cracks. Everyone ends up thinking someone else will do it. Keep it simple, one person per task.

Work plans will change your grant writing forever. You’ll work with less stress and more focus. You’ll also write better grants and complete the process with time to spare.

I Know What You’re Thinking

Some of you may be wondering, “That’s it? That’s all I need to do?” Well, this isn’t absolutely everything you need to be a grant writing superstar. That would be the longest blog post you’ve ever read. But these two steps will be an amazing start!

Not approaching the right funders and writing grants without a plan are two mistakes I’ve seen result in a significant amount of wasted time and energy. Not to mention, rejected proposals. Yet, they’re mistakes that are so simple to solve.

Get Started Now

So, here’s what I want you to do. Start now. Implement the two foundational principles outlined in this blog. Add them to your toolbox. They’ll help you to achieve grant writing superstar status.

Use the GrantsEdge Work Plan Template to become more organized, than ever before, in your grant writing. Complete your next grant on time and stress-free.

  • To download your file, you must agree to the GrantsEdge Terms of Service.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.