I hope you found the first five actions from last week helpful. Let’s pick up where we left off with and dive into last five tips to becoming a successful grant writer.
Find a mentor and never stop learning.
Consider asking a successful grant writer to mentor you for several months. This writer may have more work than she can handle and would appreciate your assistance. This experience will increase your confidence and provide you with the opportunity to learn from an accomplished grant writer.
I can’t stress enough the importance of continuous training to hone your grant writing skills. There are excellent online training programs, grant writing books, and classes at local community colleges and universities. No matter what route you choose, make it a point to frequently update your grant writing skills.
Volunteer to be a proposal reader.
Why is this important? Because being a proposal reader can significantly enhance your success as a grant writer.
There are three primary benefits to being a proposal reader…
1. You will better know and understand your competition.
When you serve as a proposal reader, you get an “up-close-and-personal” view of other grant writers’ proposals. You learn what your competition looks like, how your competitors frame their ideas, things they do to make their proposals stand out, and different ways they present similar information.
2. You can gather ideas that strengthen your proposals.
Serving as a reader means you get to see all the different ways that fellow grant writers approach similar topics. You have the rare opportunity to review multiple proposals and see how other writers use communication techniques such as charts, tables, graphs, bold type, highlighted text, and colored print to make their points to the readers.
3. You broaden your professional network.
Just like you add followers to your social media networking sites like LinkedIn, it’s equally important that you expand your professional network by including people who work at funding agencies. By serving as a proposal reader, you get the rare opportunity to “hob knob” with these individuals who influence decisions about which grant proposals are funded and how money is distributed. This makes it much easier to begin building rapport.
Whenever appropriate, use tables, charts and graphs.
You know the old adage… a picture’s worth a 1,000 words? This holds true with grant writing.
Any time you can use a table, chart or graph to display data or other information, use it. Proposal readers have only a limited amount of time they can spend reading each proposal. The quicker and easier they can get through your proposal, find all the information they’re looking for, and score it, the happier they’ll be. Tables, charts and graphs make it simple and clear for them to digest large amounts of information and they also break up the text on a page, making it easier on readers’ eyes. An unique page layout is always makes for a more interesting read.
Use clear, concise, and compelling language.
In other words, know your audience and make sure you use persuasive terms that will appeal to the readers. The narrative should be written so that proposal readers can quickly identify such things as the problem and the proposed solution.
The most important ideas should be highlighted and repeated in several different places throughout the proposal. This way, if a reader misses it in one place, he/she will catch it in another.
Don’t be afraid to ask someone else to proofread your final document. They’ll probably catch things you didn’t. And, never forget the KISS Rule – Keep It Short & Simple! Don’t exaggerate. Don’t embellish. Just use your persuasive writing skills to let the facts speak for themselves.
Write to the readers!
Readers will be scoring your proposal. They make recommendations on which proposals to fund and which proposals to reject. Their recommendations are almost always followed by the funding agency. With that in mind, make it as easy as you can for them to find the information they’re looking for and to understand your proposed project.
Information in your proposal should be exactly where they expect it to be. Your writing should be succinct and thoughtful. Go for quality, not quantity. Readers don’t want to be impressed with the number of pages you can give them; they will be more impressed with the quality of the content within your writing.
We hope you find these actions helpful. For additional information on each action, be sure to sign up to the right to receive a video detailing these actions and more!