Archive for the ‘Grant Writing’ Category

Tame Grant-Writing Summertime Blues

In Effective Communication, Grant Writing, Writing on June 22, 2011 at 2:00 am

It’s summer and thoughts of lounging at the beach or hiking in the mountains are floating through your head. The reality is you are stuck in your office writing a grant proposal. Not your idea of a fun summer? Here are some of my favorite ways to speed up the grant-writing process to get you out of the office sooner while still getting optimum results.

  • Find your comfort zone. I can’t stand clutter. It bothers me so much that I find it difficult to work in a messy office. I need a neatly organized space to think straight and write well. On the other hand, years ago when I worked in a news bureau, my mentor had no problem working in an office where files teetered precariously and the floor was filled with papers, books, files and notes. Andy was a fantastic writer, even in this atmosphere. Moral of the story — find your comfort zone, especially when working under a tight deadline, even if it means taking an hour to clean the clutter off your desk.
  • Start with your story. The starting point of your proposal should be your story — your agency mission, the need you serve, the clients you assist, the program you have developed. Understand your story before you answer the proposal questions. This approach helps you provide a cohesive response that will help the funder understand the value of your program and the urgency of your request.
  • Dissect the Request for Proposal (RFP). The bottom line is the funder controls the funding that you want. You need to provide all of the information requested, in the required format. The easiest way to do this is to understand what the funder is requesting. Read the RFP as many times as it takes to understand it completely. For longer proposals, create a summary of the funding request and an outline of the questions asked.
  • Write by topic. The quickest and most effective way to write is to follow the six steps of the writing process. (Click here for more information on the writing process.) Writing is a thought process. To keep your train of thought and to write more quickly, attack one topic at a time and complete that topic in one sitting.
  • Turn off all distractions. Writing is a thought process. When you become distracted by email, texts, phone calls and conversations with colleagues, your thought process is broken. Your writing slows down or grinds to a halt. When you write, get rid of all distractions.
  • Give yourself time to mull it over. When I have a major writing project, I like to prep late in the day in anticipation of writing the next day. If your goal is to complete three sections of a grant in one day, brainstorm, research and outline those sections the day before. This gives you the time to mull over your writing and you will find the process goes much more smoothly when you actually begin writing.
  • Take a break. Everyone gets hit with writer’s block sooner or later. When you are under a deadline, however, you can’t afford to waste a lot of time. If you hit a dead end, take a break. A quick walk or other diversion will go a long way to getting your writing back on track.

How do you streamline the grant-writing process? Leave a post to share your ideas.