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Looking back on your career as a grantwriter / grant professional - What is the best advice you've received?
What's some of the very best advice you would give to someone new to developing grant proposals?
The best advice I received is to make friends with people who are professionally a little further ahead of me. People I can learn from and ask questions. We all have questions when we get started. I've learned over the years that the only stupid question is one that is not asked.
To write clearly and concisely. I tend to be wordy. I am a word nerd, so I love flowery vocabulary, and I tend to restate the same point 10 different ways if I don't monitor myself LOL! It's easy to slip into industry jargon, too. I was advised to write grant proposals so that someone with no knowledge of my organization or industry could easily understand.
Focus on relationships with funders! Most nonprofits employ the full fundraising cycle when working with individual donors, but don't use the same intentionality to developing relationships with foundations and corporate giving offices. Funders are not ATMs and do not wish to be treated as such. Ask questions and listen. Truly take the time to understand the impact they want to have on the community and how they measure success. Become a partner that they turn to when they want information from the frontlines. Find ways to develop authentic relationships, built upon your shared commitment to the greater good.
seems so simple, but the best advice was "answer the application question "exactly with what they asked for." think of the tired reviewer and if the question is how is your program aligned with our funding priority, the answer should start "the program is aligned with your funding priority because ..."
Very basic advice...read the funder's directions and follow them! Along with reading their website, FAQs, and any other information that will give insight to their priorities and culture.
I bet a lot of us didn't get much advice and guidance. I was "thrown into the deep end of the pool" and had to learn to swim fast. Over the years I've certainly gleaned advice from colleagues. Now, 40 years into grants work, I myself have A LOT of advice to give. I bet you all do as well. Maybe that's a flipped version of the question we're responding to. What's some of the very best advice you would give to someone new to developing grant proposals?
Great point @BarbaraFloersch! I'm going to edit the question and hope to continue the discussion with more great advice!