A failed grant request can lead to disappointment, doubt in one’s ability, confusion about what to do next, lowered morale, and perhaps even unwillingness to try again. Consequently, as grant procurement becomes more complex and competitive; how do you improve your chances of success?
Follow these five simple steps to achieve great results:
Employ a strategic approach to grant writing
Grant writing takes time. This implies excellent research, exceptional writing, understanding the donor’s mission, making the match, collaborating with colleagues, planning strategically, and developing an outstanding business plan. If your proposal is prepared correctly, it will guarantee higher chances of rising to the top of the competition and receiving the funds.
Find the right program for you and your idea
Making the match means aligning your mission and your funding request with the donor’s mission. The closer both of you are in what you wish to accomplish, the more likely you will be funded. One of the most fatal mistakes any grant writer can make is to ignore the interests of the donor.
It is critical that you follow the donor’s directions to the tee, for if you do not, the grant will be returned to you without review. This is one of the major reasons many submissions are rejected. Minor mistakes such as not answering the required questions, not following the obligatory format, or even simply not checking the appropriate boxes may get you immediately disqualified.
Start with a good idea
Poor ideas will not be successful regardless of how well they may be packaged. Behind poorly presented grant proposals often lie poorly reasoned research plans. Crafting a good idea is a process that requires discipline. Ultimately, a good idea is one that is needed, will lead to paradigm shifts, and will have a broad impact for its beneficiaries.
Develop a timeline
A timeline will help you determine how long it will take to develop your proposal. Also, timelines will demonstrate the individual steps you will be taking and the time it will take to accomplish them. Seeing this process clearly and realistically laid out can be achieved by organizing the activities in terms of the time it will take to effectively accomplish them.
Understand the evaluation criteria
Understanding the evaluation criteria before you begin preparing your proposal will provide you insight into where to place your greatest efforts. In most cases, the main concerns for reviewers will be the need for the project or research, the relevance of the application to their program priorities, the qualifications of the personnel, and the credibility and stewardship of the organization. This is not an exhaustive list, and there may be other key areas that you will need to address. If you are writing a federal grant, the evaluation criteria will be in the application itself or on the website of the agency. If you are writing a foundation grant, their website or the program office may have this information.
Attention to detail, carefully crafted ideas, excellent planning of the project, ensuring credibility and following directions are the key steps to having your proposal funded.
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