Does grant writing seem like a daunting and time-consuming task?
The reality is, most businesses and organisations today are time-poor. At the end of the day, they just want to get the questions answered adequately so they can meet their grant deadline. Writing may not be their greatest strength, or they may write in a very technical, industry-specific way.
So, what do language and tone have to do with the success of your grant application? Well, it has a lot to do with it – don’t underestimate the importance of perfecting your pitch. Grants are extremely competitive and you need to make sure your application has an impact so it stands out from the rest, and makes it to the top of the pile.
A successful pitch doesn’t just involve copying and pasting information from your business plan, strategic plan, website, or financials. To be successful, you need to write for your audience and tell your story. You need to win the reader over and draw them in. Story-telling language isn’t difficult. Think about the story you have to tell and why it’s worthy. Use language that shows enthusiasm and excitement. Avoid using multi-syllable words, heavily technical language, or industry-specific jargon. You don’t know the grant assessor’s background, which means you need to write using simple and clear language that anyone can understand.
Put yourself in the reviewer’s shoes
When pitching your proposal, keep it clear and concise – ‘this is what we want to do, and this why it’s important’ – don’t waffle, just get straight to the point. Grant reviewers are faced with numerous applications to assess for a massive range of projects, so be brief and concise. If a technical explanation is required, try and summarise the big picture at the end in a simple way. Getting straight to the point will also ensure you stay within the character limits of each question which are often pretty tight. If you don’t, you will end up having to go back and delete and re-write the content, which may put you at risk of missing your grant deadline. Your project title is really important and usually overlooked. This is one of the most crucial parts of your grant application because it’s the first thing that the reviewer sees.
Having a good project title increases your chances of capturing the reader’s interest and making your project appealing. Think about what the most important words are for your project and put them at the beginning of your project title – this will make your title have an impact. Buzz words are really important so make sure you include some throughout your application. A good tip is to look at the grant information documents. These will explain the objectives and outcomes of the grant. Some grants also have really helpful videos you can watch. Carefully listen to see what it is they’re looking for and what the grant is aiming to achieve– weave some of these terms into your writing and draw out key buzz words so your pitch hits the mark. Some keywords might include capacity, capability, competitiveness, novel, innovative, collaboration, vision, making a difference, investment (rather than donation). Think of words that tell a story – verbs and descriptive words are really effective.
Proofreaders are invaluable
Lastly, get feedback on your writing from a trusted and reliable source. Use someone who doesn’t know a lot about your project and can be completely objective – does it make sense to them? Does it excite them, does it sound worthy? Review your draft numerous times and have it read over by a few different sets of eyes.
You might also want to consider outsourcing the work. Don’t be put off applying for a grant you believe you could be eligible for. We want to help you tell your story in an amazing way, that will get you the funds you need to see your story come to life.
A version of this blog post first appeared on Anna Dixon Consulting’s website, our previous brand.