If You Are Going to Do a Job...
Do it right. It's what your parents told you, and by now, you know your parents were right about 90% of the time.
By Don Peek
When you're writing a grant, I can't think of a maxim that would fit better. For most people, completing a grant application is not fun. It gets easier the more of them you submit, but it will never be a pleasurable experience. The fun is getting all that money!
Just because writing a grant is not going to bring you all that much pleasure, it doesn't mean that you should put less than 100% effort into that application. When you're submitting competitive grant applications, it may take that 100% and then some.
Here are a few things you need to make sure you do:
1) Research the grant being offered. Make sure your situation and your problem matches very closely with the purpose for which the grant is being offered. I can't overemphasize this one. People waste a huge amount of time submitting applications to organizations that would never fund a grant for their particular needs.
2) Follow the directions of the grantor. If they say submit a letter before you apply, submit one. If the deadline is on August 15th, don't mail it on August 16th. If they say use 12-point type, make sure your word processor is set on 12-point type. If you can't follow the simple directions that grantors give you, chances are you won't be receiving their grant money.
3) No fluff. Grant applications are not about impressing anyone. Your application doesn't have to be boring. It can express your enthusiasm for starting a new program or solving a problem, but stay focused. Lay out your needs, support your case with statistical information if you have it, and address how you’ll put your plan into operation if you get the money you need to fund it.
4) Don't leave any part of an application blank. If you don't understand parts of the application or what information is being sought, pick up the phone and get clarification. People from granting agencies would much rather answer your questions than read an inappropriate application.
5) Proofread, proofread, proofread. Get someone else to read your application, and then proofread it again. Typos and downright mistakes are distracting when you read grant applications. It's easy to tell when an application is completed and proofed appropriately.
It's time to start writing those applications for fall grant money. Take your time and do an excellent job when you apply for grants. You will be rewarded for your extra effort.
Don Peek is an expert in school funding. He has run The School Funding Center since 2001. Its database contains over 100,000 grants available to all types of schools in the United States. Don worked in education for 20 years as a teacher, principal, and assistant superintendent before becoming the VP then the president of the training division of Renaissance Learning, developer of the Accelerated Reader.