3 insider secrets to get you started with your first successful grant proposal.

So the boss stops by your office and says, “Congratulations, you’re our new grant writer. “ Wait, was that in your job description? Ah, yes, that would fall under “any other duties as assigned.” Well, before you quit your job or tell your boss where he or she can get off, let’s have a little talk.

Grant writing is not so hard, once you have the basics under your belt. However, there are a few mistakes that most beginning grant writers make that are sure to cause them to flounder like a fish out of water.

Let’s look at three of three mistakes and see what you need to do instead.

Mistake 1:

New grant writers forget to plan ahead.

They are so excited about their new job and so nervous about where to find these grants they are expected to procure that they forget to do the grunt work ahead of time.

What to do instead:

Meet with your supervisors – you know, the ones who want you to find those grants. Set aside some time, put those flip chart sheets up on the wall and list out all the projects they want funded. List the needs, target audience, costs, personnel, objectives, and anything else that will help your potential donor visualize this project in their mind.

Mistake 2:

New grant writers forget to get grant ready.

In other words, they are so excited, they jump right in before they’re organized and ready to write.

What to do instead:

A few hours spent now, before you sit down to write, will save you many hours later. So go around the office and gather all the information you can about your organization. Who has the organization’s budget? Is there other written material you can use to incorporate into your grants, such as a history of the organization? Where is the IRS designation letter and who has a good list of board members? Get as much information as you can, note where it came from, and get it into electronic form if possible. Then, you can start writing your proposals, knowing you have what you need.

Mistake 3.They sit in their offices banging away at their computers and hardly ever come up for air. In other words, they try to go it alone.

What to do instead:

Grant writing can be a lonely business, but it doesn’t have to be. Find a grant writing colleague in another niche to have lunch with and share horror stories. Take some classes.

Bonus Tip: Find a coach or mentor who has nothing to lose by helping you be your best.

What to do next:

Want to know more about the grant writing process? Click here for my free “Quick Start Guide to Grant Writing Success.”

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