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Grant Writing Basics | 10 Tips for Successful Grant Writing

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Following these 10 grant writing basics can help you land the grant you need for your research or project. Check out our tips for successful grant writing here.

10 Tips for Successful Grant Writing

Successful grant writing may sound like an insurmountable challenge, but in reality, writing an effective proposal isn’t as scary as it seems. We’ve compiled a list of grant writing basics that you can follow to draft a solid proposal.

1. Start small

Every grant writing process begins with the temptation to land a large grant and be done with the process as quickly as it began. However, grant writing is often an ongoing process that consists of many smaller, less substantial grants. Small grants are also beneficial in that they don’t necessitate a lot of introductory data and generally have less competition.

2. Research the organization

One of the best things you can do while grant writing is to research the organization you’re applying to. You can use this information to incorporate the organization’s mission and funding interests into your application for an extra boost.

3. Pay attention to guidelines

Organizations tend to be sticklers about their guidelines. To keep your proposal from being overlooked, be sure to pay close attention to all guidelines, from any required internal compliance reviews all the way down to the font size. If you have questions about an organization’s requirements, call them! It’s better to get a clear understanding than to miss a guideline and lose out on a funding opportunity.

4. Communicate clearly

It’s imperative that you clearly state the details of your endeavor or project. Important details include what, how, where, why, and when.

5. Point out any relevant affiliations

Now is the time to call attention to any important or relevant affiliations you have, be it a person or an institution. These affiliations add to your authority and relevancy in your creative or research field.

6. Think outside the box

When applying for a grant, many people tend to believe that you should apply strictly within your discipline. This doesn’t have to be the case! There are plenty of opportunities for funding outside of your circle—all you need to do is put your project into a practical perspective from which others can benefit.

7. Avoid jargon

Too much jargon can turn a reader off. Instead, make it a point to define and explain industry-specific terms early on so the reader can track with you and learn something new from your proposal—especially if you’re applying to an organization outside of your field.

8. Consult

Consultation is a key element of successful grant writing. Consult with professors, colleagues, and other skilled grant writers to learn about what works and what doesn’t. These peers can also review your proposal and give you invaluable feedback.

9. Examine 990-PF tax documents

A lesser-known trick, examining an organization’s 990-PF tax documents will provide key insight into where the foundation’s money goes. Here, you can see if your project matches up to endeavors they typically fund.

10. Be flexible

In grant writing, it’s uncommon to land a grant that pays you to do everything you want to do. Be prepared to emphasize a certain aspect of your project, as that may be what a particular source gives you funding to pursue.

Whether you need funding to research and develop something as technical as transformer testing equipment for aviation vibration analysis, or a creative endeavor such as a public art installation, we hope you’ll get an extra leg up with these grant writing basics. What are you waiting for? Get started on writing a successful proposal today!

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