Scrolling through the Grant Professionals Association site, I came across the lament that, “a poorly written grant proposal about a well-developed project is more likely to be funded than a well-written proposal about a poorly developed project.”
As writer who became a grants professional to earn a steady paycheck, I definitely share that complaint.
But over a decade of writing and submitting proposals has hardened me against other people’s reactions to my writing. I accept that the best grant writing is writing that communicates clearly and consistently brings in the dollars.
There is room for eloquent writing when you’re crafting a proposal, but you have to have all the other pieces of a proposal in place even more than you need a beautiful narrative. Program details, budget details, clearly established roles for program managers and staff, realistic timelines. These are the things that matter the most.
I try not to get discouraged when the toil that goes into crafting a strong proposal is lost in the effort to cut down an answer to 1,000 characters. Some people see grant writing as a purely technical skill, but I see the profession as a different type of art. Both art and skill are involved in crafting an answer that fully answers a detailed question in 1,000 characters.
Focus on pulling everything together coherently, and you’ll have the makings of a successful proposal. #grantwriting
Lauren Schultz, M.A.