Optimism Will Get You Funded

The power of optimism is a huge advantage when seeking funding. A positive outlook sets the stage for your entire grant application, and donors will notice! You must believe that you will obtain the necessary funds for the important idea you wish funded. Addressing the details about what you will do in positive and optimistic terms gives a donor confidence that you will effectively utilize the money. Always remember that donors are looking for applicants who have the strength to undertake projects and are optimistic about their success.

In a study published in the February 28, 2011 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers at Duke University Medical Center found that individuals who were optimistic (as determined by survey responses) about their diagnosis, treatment and recovery, were more likely to be alive after 15 years than individuals with lower expectations. The researchers noted that the level of optimism displayed by patients did not have to be extreme to have an effect.

Similarly, I recently reviewed 25 proposals that had been funded and 25 that had not. The common denominator in most of the funded proposals was the level of enthusiasm and optimism.

Optimism becomes evident when:

You are proud of your work.

Donors will see that you take pride in what you are trying to accomplish. This will give them confidence in your stewardship and accountability.

You are proud of your institutional mission and strategic direction.

You address the mission and innovative direction of your institution and make the match with the donor’s mission and objectives. Donors will be impressed with your ability to execute your activities via a well defined direction that is couched in experience, strength and previous success.

You have a passion for your cause and are willing to share your enthusiasm.

The two sections of your proposal that will demonstrate your passion will be the need statement and your organizational background. Ultimately, you are undertaking a project that will make a difference for your constituents/research with a plan that will enrich lives.

You believe that you will be funded.

You will be funded if you have written an excellent proposal, have a well researched and developed idea, adhere to the guidelines of the request, and build a relationship with your donor.

To be enthusiastic about your success, you need to be proud of what you are currently doing and what you hope to accomplish. You must also believe that at the end of the day you are submitting the best work that you are capable of doing. Stay optimistic and both the funding and success will follow!

Mathilda Harris

Over the past 18 years, she has written grants, conducted capital campaigns, developed strategic plans for grant procurement, and assisted individuals and institutions to write winning proposals for various donors.

One thought on “Optimism Will Get You Funded

  1. Thank you for your sage advice. I, too, believe in the power of optimism. Our organization has done a major turn around in program and campaign development in the last two years after a dramatic change in leadership. We are now facing an existential search for funding and welcome any advice you can offer.
    If you are available to speak about our potential, please contact me at your earliest convenience.
    Thank you.
    Tammy Murphy
    Executive Director
    Project for Nuclear Awareness

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