Tips for improving your grant writing

Here are a list of quick tips to help you immediately improve your grant writing:
  • Write like you are going to get the money. If you use the term “proposed project,” the funder may think you are doing a project specific to their grant rather than a predetermined project of the organization that you are trying to get funded.
  • Say ours/we instead of its/theirs. Personalizing a proposal make it harder to say no.
    Do not repeat the same lines/ideas- if you have to repeat something refer to the first mention of it for details.
  • Follow generally accepted writing practices as laid out in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.
  • Do not use parenthesis except in rare cases.
  • Don’t overuse words and phrases like ‘yet’, ‘as well’, ‘however’, and other transitional words. They muddle the point you are making, and should be particularly avoided if there is a character or word count.
  • Don’t use words that make judgements or assumptions and do not use adjectives to build up your own work, especially when the sentence reads well without those adjectives.
    Adjective-heavy: Org X is doing fantastic projects that have brought an overwhelming amount of financial support to Region Z.
    Better version: Org X projects have brought Y% increase in household income to Region Z.
  • When you are working as part of a writing team, do not suggest ideas to discuss the day before a grant is due; make the changes and justify them.
  • Don’t worry about the details of a timeline, for the most part. The funder will want to focus on you getting the project done the way you say you are going to and are aware of the realities of work on the ground.
  • Don’t make assumptions about instructions-ask if you are unsure.
  • The first time you mention something that has an acronym or can be shortened put the acronym in parenthesis and then use the acronym every time you use the term again.
    Ex: Dynamic Solution Associates (DSA)
  • Do not say unique-say innovative.
  • Do not use any clichés
    i.e. “the poorest of the poor”
  • Do not say anything that cannot be substantiated. If you talk about facts from a study, you need to cite that study.
No one can guarantee funding, but with so much competition, these simple tips can give you a big step up towards getting funded.

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