I can think of a number of times I wanted to be a superstar. In grade four, I thought I could be famous by rocking out on the recorder. I didn’t get out much at that point in my life. By grade six, I had plans of being a superstar comedian travelling all over the world telling my stories to stadiums full of laughing people. By high school, I was on my way to stardom as a major league baseball pitcher.
As I’ve matured, I’ve become a little more realistic and grounded. However, my early pursuits taught me an important lesson. Becoming a superstar, in any field, is a combination of what you do and what you don’t do.
Let’s dig in to what you should stop doing, if you want to become a grant writing superstar.
1. Stop Looking For The Grants First
Have you ever watched a child play with one of those shape sorter toys? If they match the shape to the right cut-out, it falls right in, perfectly. But, when they’re just starting, it takes them a while to figure this out. They spend a ton of time and energy smashing the plastic pieces against the toy, trying to find the right fit.
Too many organizations do this with funders. Organizations and grant writers look for funding opportunities first, then try to create a program, and ultimately a proposal, that fits the fund. In a haste to secure financial support, the appropriate effort isn’t given to researching the need, building the case for support, establishing collaborative partnerships, or exploring how to evaluate impact. The focus becomes trying to come up with a new program to be able to access the money available.
In many cases, the result is an ineffective project rationale, unreasonable project outcomes, and a proposal that doesn’t necessarily fit with the stated mission of the organization. Mission drift and burnout are serious effects of this type of grant writing approach.
When grant writing is done in this way, often the grant doesn’t get approved. As hard as we try to lead funders toward a yes, they quickly see through the proposal, and it gets a big, fat no.
2. Stop Writing Grants Without A Plan
It doesn’t surprise us anymore, at GrantsEdge, when we hear the stories of stress, and the grumbling and panic that sets in as grant application deadlines loom.
We know how busy you are and understand that your grant writing tasks are often done “off the side of your desk.” We know that for many of you, grant writing is not your primary responsibility. We get it. We understand the stress and we understand the angst. There always seems to be a lack of hours in a day or week to get this work done. The clock and the calendar really can feel like the enemy.
We’ve heard from funders that they frequently receive grants that have incomplete information or grants that weren’t checked for spelling and grammatical errors. We’ve also heard from grant writers about the fact that they’ve abandoned half written grants because they don’t think they can get it done on time or find the information they need to get it right.
All of these factors lead to frustration, proposals not submitted, and emphatic “no thank yous” from funders. In the end, this approach leads to zero dollars. This is definitely not grant writing superstar territory.
There has to be a much better way! For what you should do, wander on over to Two Simple And Strategic Ways To Become a Grant Writing Superstar.