Grant writing can seem intimidating. The idea that the words on a page can earn you thousands of dollars…or not. The idea that how you position the good works of your non-profit can seem like a worthwhile investment by philanthropists….or not. There is definitely pressure in grant writing. But, there are also incredible payoffs, if done correctly. This article will share five tips on how to increase grant writing effectiveness and in turn, increase your chances of earning those critical dollars.
Answer the questions clearly and concisely. Avoid giving lengthy or jumbled responses. Most grant applications will have word limits for responses, but if they do not, triple-check that you are not using more words than necessary to convey your message. Oftentimes people think more is better because it gives the appearance that there is a lot going on. Quite the contrary- less is more when grant writing because funders want to know exactly what you focus on. Streamlined services with a very specific focus are more valuable to most funders than scattered services trying to solve all problems at one time. *Bonus tip- If a question has multiple components, address each one separately by using headers or sentence starters for each new section within the response box.
Copy and paste all grant questions and responses into your business plan or other boilerplate documents. Many grants will ask the same or similar questions. Rather than starting from scratch each time, refer back to the bank of responses you have previously submitted and make minor edits or revisions to those answers.
Use Grammarly.com or other editing software. Nothing is worse than a solid non-profit idea conveyed with grammatical errors and misspelled words. Using software beyond built-in spell check is absolutely worth the effort to ensure you haven’t made careless mistakes that could cost thousands. *Bonus tip- Grammarly.com has a free version that is an absolute game-changer when it comes to writing grants (or anything else).
Encourage the Executive Director to reach out to the funding organization and build a relationship with them prior to submitting the grant. Grant funders are typically excited to see organizations they believe in apply for their grants. They can’t believe in organizations they don’t know exist. If you build rapport prior to submission, it can greatly increase your chances instead of submitting as strangers.
Utilize a grant management system. Staying organized as a grant writer is critical. A primary way to not miss grant submission deadlines, remember to send thank-you cards, and stay on top of grant reporting requirements is to use a grant management system. It can start as easily as a spreadsheet with grant names, deadlines, award amounts, and submission status and then go as advanced as premier, paid-subscription management systems. Most grant writers are probably somewhere in between. The system works best for your organizational needs may vary, but the outcomes are the same- staying organized.
I hope you found these tips helpful as you embark upon grant writing to change the world. You have wonderful ideas and your dedication to improving society is remarkable. Keep up the great work and earn those funds!