Grant Writing is Like a Ropes Course
Updated: Jan 7
I’m a professional grant writer.
I love my job.
I began this journey in the nonprofit world as a young graduate student in Washington DC and the intervening years have taught me many lessons, both technical and practical.
I started my grant consulting business in 2016 as an organic progression of my nonprofit experiences - both as a volunteer and ultimately as an Executive Director.
If you’ve landed here on my blog then perhaps you’re new to grant writing and looking for some nuggets of inspiration, guidance, or “tricks” that make this process easier.
Or maybe you’re a seasoned nonprofit leader at your wit’s end trying to manage every part of the nonprofit business AND coordinate a successful grant program at the same time.
Grant writing is a little like a ropes course.
I’m no expert in ropes courses - though I successfully completed an exhilarating zip line course recently. I’ve been doing this a long time, have learned a lot over the years, and have gained some expertise in this field. So, why not share my experiences, tips, and knowledge? I wish someone had done the same for me.
Gear up - protection is a must.
Get ready for whatever the course puts in front of you. Like rejection, for instance, because it’s going to happen. Don’t take it personally, just remember that it’s an opportunity to improve your proposal. Only about 10% of grants are actually awarded, at least according to statistics. We’ll talk about what to do when you receive a rejection in another blog and how to interpret those notices even if the funder doesn’t give specific feedback.
Plan - you have a lot to figure out and planning is key to your success.
How much time do you have till the deadline day? Do you have the information needed to actually write the proposal? Do you have all of the required supporting documents? You certainly don’t want to fail just because you didn’t plan appropriately. We’ll talk about checklists, timelines, and document preparation in future blogs as well.
Research is included in the planning part. Researching grants is necessary especially when you're just starting a grant program. Do NOT pay for those expensive subscription databases. There are lots of resources that are affordable or even free. In future blogs, I'll cover how I research, analyze, and develop a valuable document.
Execute - hang on and put one foot in front of the other, carefully and intentionally.
Ultimately, your proposal should meet all the funder’s requirements AND be compelling. Is your statement of need clear? Have you included the components of your logic model? Do you have data and evidence to support your request? You must write a proposal that ultimately supports the theory that your nonprofit is a good investment. (If you don't know what a logic model is, that's okay. We'll address the importance of that document in a future blog.)
Throughout this blog, I hope to bring value to you, the reader - the grant writer. Perhaps something will click in what you read. Or you’ll find value in some freebie that I share.
So, if you’re interested in maneuvering through this grant writing ropes course with me then sign up for my email newsletter. Take a minute to “contact me” on my website and let me know what you'd like to explore in grant writing.
What information would be of value to you?
Or better yet, share a success story. Or share an epic fail story and how you overcame or learned from it.
We all have them.
Alright, grant writers - let’s gear up and head out on the course.