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Everyone who has ever had a grant proposal funded has ideas about what made it win funding. Here are four more imperatives for ensuring successful grant seeking from the start.

1. Be Specific:

Effective projects use specific approaches or strategies to solve specific problems. Do not settle for vague generalities! State problems, needs, strategies, personnel, resources, timelines, and evaluation measures in concrete and specific terms. Propose measureable and achievable objectives. Be as explicit as possible in every judiciously chosen step and detail.

2. Sell Benefits and Results:

Grant makers are results-driven and goal-oriented. They use grants to obtain specific desired outcomes within predefined time-spans. Grant makers invest in strategies that promise to solve or reduce real-world problems. They judge success by your results and by the benefits that flow from those results. Try to consider your proposal from the grant maker’s practical perspective while you prepare it, and again before you submit it.

3. Be Consistent:

Grant makers allocate resources in situations of scarcity. Never motivate them to invest those resources elsewhere. Inconsistent details in narratives and budgets distract the decision makers who review your proposals. Align your objectives and activities with corresponding budget items and be sure that they reflect and reinforce each other.

4. Be Relevant: 

Your organization’s great ideas are probably as abundant as grant makers’ funds are scarce. Problem-solving strategies that work in one place often work in others, that is, they are often transportable. Propose strategies that others can learn from or adapt to fit their own needs. Make the transportability of your solutions an irresistible magnet for winning a grant.

A final set of four imperatives for winning grants will appear here soon.

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