In the world of grant writing, fear of placing the right words within a narrative often holds prospective grant applicants back. For the non-writer, that fear may translate into a mentality of, “I cannot write well enough to obtain a grant.” In most instances, this fear is unjustified. The larger question for grant writers should be, “So, how do I start the grant writing process?” That question is more easily answered than even the most fearful grant writer may think. Writing well first takes being inspired about the project for which you are writing; then you must inspire the reader...the potential funder, with your written narrative.
One of the first steps is to find out exactly what the funder wants to see in your writing. Though you may have an enormously worthwhile project in mind, the funder has laser-specific requirements for their targeted funds. You must consider these in order to write the most effective narrative possible for that funder. The only way to satisfy these requirements, and to better understand the funder’s perspective, is to speak with them to discuss all of the grant’s specifics. Before making the call, be sure and write a list of questions and items to discuss. Some of those questions may include, but certainly are not limited to:
- What projects will be funded?
- Is your project a mission fit with their funding stream?
- What areas of their funding will meet your project needs?
- Do they have data suggestions for your grant narrative?
Let’s get back to writing to inspire. Once you have completed your due diligence, garnering all information and data for your project in preparation for writing and speaking directly with the potential funder, it is time to write the grant narrative. The best advice is to always write from the heart. Then back up your writing with meaningful citations from knowledgeable sourcing relative to the validity of your project. Let others evaluate your narrative prior to submission. Objective input is always helpful. Finally, go back over your narrative as many times as it takes to ensure that it not only represents all of the project facts correctly, but inspires the funder to grant the award to your project.
Everything in life that creates meaningful change requires inspiration. Think of the innovative projects that matter most to people. For example, there are those who devise pure water systems for Africa and India. They do so to counter drought, disease, and death. Their successful outcomes are born from their inspiration to save lives. So, whether it is clean water, or another life-affirming project that promotes human dignity, your project must be written to inspire.
David Kiviaho and Sharon Sandifer, M.Ed, a brother and sister team, are the creators of kiisa corporation, a workplace training firm. They are also adjunct instructors with LSU Continuing Education and lead their Successful Grant Writing Courses, one of many business and non-profit courses/seminars offered by kiisa corporation. To learn more about the upcoming June 2014 Successful Grant Writing Course in Slidell, LA, visit: http://reg.outreach.lsu.edu/modules/shop/index.html?action=section&OfferingID=1058&SectionID=4253