Grant proposal writers are in great demand these days. Mission-driven organizations typically survive on contributions and grants, and the competition for those dollars is fierce. So everyone wants a grant writer who can come in and work some magic.
Grant writers, though, do not come with magic wands to wave over the fundraising operation, and today’s post highlights one of the challenges some of them face: Grant writers are sometimes expected to spin compelling grant proposals out of thin air. Or out of a jumble of bits and pieces.
Imagine being handed a big box of puzzle pieces, all the same color. You can start framing the puzzle by finding all the straight edges and corners, but what about the middle? There are few visual clues to help you assemble the rest of the puzzle quickly. So you stumble along in trial-and-error fashion until you finally get all the pieces in place.
Sometimes grant writers inherit this kind of challenge. When a grant writer gets a proposal deadline, but little information to work with, office life might get a little tough. The frustrated grant writer is “grilling" the staff for information. The already-busy staff is “pouting” about having to dig up that information.
And the flustered exec answers the grant writer, “We hired you to figure all that out.”
What’s the solution?
A partnership between the grant writer and the staff. The organization’s leaders and staff know the ins and outs of the agency’s programs, and the grant writer needs to know that too.
Trouble is, sometimes all that knowledge is locked in somebody’s head—usually several somebodies, but it’s not written on a page.
And since grant writers don’t usually come equipped with mind-reading skills, someone has to harvest all that knowledge.
Today’s video gives you 4 specific steps that you and your staff can take to better equip your grant writer (staff or contractor) for success. I’m not offering you a magic wand or fairy dust; you’ll have to put some real work into this if you haven't already laid the foundation. But if you do these things consistently, you’ll lay a foundation for more than fundraising.
For example, you’ll be better equipped to recruit board members, make public presentations, and respond to grantmakers' questions. The organizational knowledge that was once locked in “someone’s" head will be available for your board and staff to use in many ways.
So relax for 4 1/2 minutes and watch the video, Grant Writing: 4 Steps to More Powerful Proposals, and I hope you’ll see why hiring a clever wordsmith is not enough. The power in your great proposal lies in its ability to tell the grant maker a compelling story based on real information.
Meanwhile, please drop down to the Comments and let me know YOUR biggest concern about grantwriting. And if you found this article helpful, please share it to your favorite social network!