GETTING READY FOR PROPOSAL WRITING
The process of developing a proposal is essentially the same regardless of who the funder is and who the grantee is. The more systematically a grantee approaches the process, the easier it is to write successful proposals. One thing should be noted. Most of the time spent on developing a proposal takes place before the actual writing. This may surprise you. It may also be the reason why your organization has not been successful in proposal writing lately. A good rule of thumb is that 80% of the work of writing a grant proposal is NOT writing, but research, planning, and involving appropriate audiences!
Perhaps the most important tip anyone can give you is to know your
audience. This means DO NOT assume what the readers already know. In
order to do this, you must answer the following questions:
Also, when thinking of your audience, remember that the grant
administrators and readers are dealing with hundreds and sometimes
thousands of proposals. They are extremely grateful for well-organized
neat and easy -to-read documents with lots of subheadings which are
keyed to their guidelines.
If you do not consider yourself a good writer, keep things simple. Write in a conversational tone. Keep sentences short. Ask someone who is a good proof-reader and who has not been working on the grant to edit and proof read your proposal.
Your goal is to submit a proposal that is neat, professional looking, and most of all clear, logical, memorable and persuasive.
To make your writing more memorable, compelling and convincing, spice it up with D.I.C.E.
D -etails or description
Be appropriately specific for your audience and their guidelines. In a government grant you need lots of examples and explanations to justify why you have selected the approach and activities you have. For short proposals, however, much of the detail is omitted. In this case, you must have a good idea of the detail and include just enough to make it compelling and memorable. This is where personal stories become important. And remember, most newspapers are written at the 5th and 6th grade reading levels. Simple and clear are easier for proposal readers…who are, after all, your primary audience!
Lynn Shelby Kickingbird, in Grant Writing for Results, by Lynn Shelby Kickingbird,
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