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Myth: One size fits all.

Reality: A custom fit is the best fit.

 

This post is part of a series on Myths in Grant Seeking.

 

The Myth of Uniformity relates to differentiation among proposals and, consequently, to the ultimate number of proposals one needs to create in pursuing competitive grants. One variant surfaces as: ‘All it takes to create a grant proposal is to fill out some forms.’ A second variant appears as: ‘All it takes is to create one application to submit for dozens and dozens of grants.’

 

Both variants of the Myth of Uniformity reflect the same misapprehension — that using a template or a boilerplate approach is sufficient to win myriad grants from multiple funders. They minimize the investments commonly required to create proposals that win grants.

 

In reality, an applicant’s responses in a template proposal are invariably generic. They are unresponsive to the details in and among the selection criteria that differentiate one proposal solicitation from another, one funding program from another, and one funder from another.

 

If an applicant is to prove successful, it must respond to the specific selection criteria that govern each specific funding opportunity. Across available funding opportunities, such selection criteria will differ from each other in ways that will be more or less subtle, more or less profound. An applicant’s competitive grant proposals need to resonate with these differences.

 

An applicant’s proposal also must respond to all of the selection criteria, not merely to some or a few of them. Use of a single template is seldom sufficient to respond adequately to all of the specific criteria that govern every specific available grant opportunity of interest to an applicant. The degree of an applicant’s responsiveness to each criterion contributes to the success or failure of its competitive grant proposals.

 

The applicant for a competitively awarded grant improves its likelihood of funding by customizing every proposal to match the particulars of every specific funder.

 

The next post in this series on Myths in Grant Seeking will address the Myth of Needless Complexity.

 

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