Grant Writing — 5 Things Not to Say in Grant Applications
You can make some major mistakes when grant writing but the experienced grant writer will avoid major blunders, We all at times make a mistake — we are all human but the mistakes I am just about to discuss need to be avoided at all costs in your grant writing.
Many inexperienced grant writers seem to be focused on honesty and being totally upfront in your grant applications. Grant writers can’t outright lie in an application but the quality grant writer will be careful about what they say in an application and how they say it. You can massage and infer something in an application to present the best possible case scenario as opposed to downplaying your prospects. However be reasonable in your claims but it is better to slightly oversell than undersell in my opinion. Your grant application is your chance to “sell” your organisation, project and the need for funding — very few in the “sales world” survive by underselling!
On a similar theme to the first point it is vital that you do not outline in your application any negative things about your organisation, project, abilities etc. It is hard enough winning funding at the best of times but to highlight negative issues in your application generally will adversely compromise your chances of success.
Some organisations suggest in an application that the organisation is reliant on this funding for survival. This is a totally flawed strategy and will come across as desperate while also suggesting that the organisation is in stable, financially unviable and on its knees. Never ever ever suggest that the funding is needed to survive. The one time you might portray such a position is IF funding is being made available to sustain struggling organisations, Such funding is very very rare but I have seen such a program being made available once in Queensland and if your organisation wasn’t struggling and in financial trouble then you missed out on the funding.
Grant writer worth their salt will ensure they are always positive in their grant writing and instead of could, should, might will use positive statements like will, would, can. Positive action statements create a positive impression of your organisation and also infer that your organisation will deliver what you say and that you will spend the money granted exactly how it is supposed to be spent. Negativity in a grant application is to be avoided at all costs.
Don’t use industry buzz words in your grant applications. Some members of the assessment panel might well have no idea about your industry or what programs you are delivering to whom. Never take it for granted that those reading your application have any in depth understanding of what you do. Clearly outline in plain English what your organisation and project is all about and how this funding will realise significant outcomes which link to the outcomes intended by the funding program.
The successful grant writers will avoid these mistakes. Grant writing is not impossible — it is challenging but with some practice, some patience and by following these tips you will increase your chances of success in the grant writing world.
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