We sometimes run the risk of using the word unique just a little too much in our proposals. Well, yesterday, I attended the United Way of Toronto and York Region's (UWTYR) information session on their community service sector program funding and heard a great alternative to the word unique.
Instead of describing your program as unique, articulate it against a backdrop of similar programs relevant to the community you serve. This gives you the opportunity to highlight the components that make your program unique while also demonstrating your awareness and knowledge of the sector.
I always recommend to clients to show, don't tell. Don't tell the reader that your program and organization are high-quality, show them. UWTYR adds a nice subtlety to the show, don't tell rule by inserting a description of the competing and complimentary programs.
And here are some other reasons why UWTYR deserves applause.
1. Improving accessibility of their funding. Gone are the days when United Way funding was only open to a few historically-selected social service agencies. Now, if your agency and program fit their priorities, then you are welcome to apply for program funding.
2. Application questions follow the thinking of a logic model. If you have not guessed yet, I am a big fan of logic models. However, it seems that logic models have fallen out of fashion, replaced by the more popular framework - the Theory of Change. Maybe now logic models will begin to emerge from the shadows. In reality, the two tools/frameworks are not just similar, they are actual complimentary.
3. Application questions are straightforward, clear and non-repetitive. Now that is a nice change.
On and upwards!!