Rethinking the Grant Applicaiton
If you google search “how to write a grant proposal?” you will find similar suggestions as to the information to include - Executive Summary, Need Statement, Organizational Information, Goals and Objectives, Program Design, Evaluation, and Budget. This is helpful if the grantmaker accepts the five to ten- page free-form proposal. This is not helpful if the grantmaker has a paper or on-line application of questions. It is even more unhelpful if those questions appear redundant and require restricted word count answers.
The pointed questions and restricted word count can impede your ability to build your case and tell your story in a persuasive and concise manner. This is the grant writers’ puzzle, or more accurately, the grant writer’s alchemy - transforming a series of staccato questions into a lyrical story of facts, compassion and triumph.
How is it done?
I start by rethinking the proposal sections in terms of their role in addition to the content. For example, the need statement articulates the nature and extent of the problem your program aims to address. The role of the need statement is to capture the interest of the grantmaker. A successful need statement will invoke an emotional response, align with the priorities of the grantmaker and compel the reader to read on. The need statement is simply the Hook.
The organizational information invokes confidence in your organization. The goals and objectives is the grantmakers’ return on investment (ROI). The program design is the details.