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Grant Writing Tips

Grant Writing Tips

Grant Writing Tips from Nancy Mitchell,
Program Manager Mid-America Regional Council

The following are some simple grant writing tips that, while they seem common sense, are often overlooked during the process.

-- Review the grant guidelines and purpose. Make sure the project or program you are proposing matches the goals and outcomes specified by the funder. Don’t try to turn your proposed project into something that doesn’t fit your agency’s goals and objectives; doing so requires extra time and energy that most of us don’t have. And my experience is that funders often can tell when your proposal doesn’t really “fit”, which usually results in not getting the funding.

-- If there is a program officer listed in the RFP, see if he or she is willing to meet with you to discuss your program or proposed project for which you are seeking funding. Many people are hesitant to do this, but most program officers want to help and they want your grant to be good; this makes their job easier. Program officers are a great source of information can often give you good advice and will sometimes tell you whether they believe your proposal is or is not a good “fit”.

-- Be as specific as possible with the outcomes you want to achieve.

-- Read the instructions carefully and follow them to the letter! Be sure you use the prescribed format (e.g., font size, spacing, margins, page limits) and include all documentation requested. Nothing is more frustrating than submitting a proposal only to have it rejected because you used the wrong font size.

-- A good grant is clear and concise. A good grant is grammatically correct. A good grant has no mistakes. A good grant is easy to read. A good grant is memorable.

-- Ask someone else (preferably someone who does not have direct knowledge of your program or proposal) to read the proposal. A fresh perspective and fresh set of eyes can do wonders for a proposal. If they have a question about what something means or something doesn’t make sense to them, chances are the “official” grant reviewers will have the same issues.

-- PAY ATTENTION TO THE DEADLINE! If there is conflicting information about the deadline in the RFP and/or grant instructions don’t assume – call and confirm the deadline. And …. this is easier said than done, but don’t wait until the last minute to submit. Establish a deadline for yourself a few days before the real deadline just in case things go wrong or you need time to obtain any required signatures on the final submission.

Nancy L. Mitchell
Program Manager
Mid-America Regional Council
Metropolitan Council on Early Learning

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