So your venture is finally ready to court financial backers. It took a lot of hard work to get your ducks in a row, but you’re here, and you’re confident that people will love what you’re selling.
There’s only one problem: your grant application reads like a high school book report, and a poorly written one at that.
If you’re worrying that you’ve hit the snag that will derail your dream, stop IMMEDIATELY. While you might not be the greatest writer on the planet, grant applications are a unique beast, and with a few helpful tips, you can master grants and ensure that you get the funding you need.
Remember, You’re Talking to a Person.
This is arguably the most important thing you have to keep in mind when writing your grant. Truth is, you’re going to be filling out a lot of boring paperwork (check the link to see the mandatory page requirements for a few grants), checking boxes, and committing the particulars of your business to paper. At the end of the day though, a real live human being will have to read your grant and be captivated enough by it to say yes.
That’s why you need to think of whomever is processing your application as a person, not some anonymous machine that relies on a mysterious algorithm to make decisions. People will respond to your work based as much on the way their brains are wired as they will based on how you present it.
While that person might have something you want, they’re a person, just like anyone else. People always want to be captivated, and drawing them into your grant application will greatly increase your chances of being successful. Although these tips were written from the perspective of a children’s storyteller, many of their lessons hold water in this discussion.The bottom line: you’ve navigated relationships and human interaction your whole life. There’s no way you got to the point of starting your own business without at least a few people skills. Don’t forget them now.
Get to the Point
You are competing with literally thousands of other entrepreneurs that all want the same thing. Whenever your reader’s undivided attention is the goal of a competition, as it most certainly is here, the sooner you can tell them why you are the right choice, the better off you’ll be.
Don’t try to impress anyone with your writing skills or your word choice. Simple, concise, straightforward language is always best when it comes to grant applications; get to the point and get it done. If you allow the person reading your application to get through one more of the many they will read even a fraction faster, and with even a fraction more clarity, you can count on them eyeing your application with special consideration.
Tell a Story in Your Application
Sure, you’re not a novelist, but you’re still writing something that is meant to move someone. With that in mind, try to spin your grant application into a cohesive narrative.
Your product is unique, and your story will be too, but remember that every story has a beginning, middle, and end. Write a narrative that focuses on how your product or service was born, the struggles that you had to overcome to make everything happen and ultimately, how you see it making an impact on society.
This will give your application a flow and will allow your reader to follow everything logically. You might just discover that you have a knack for writing, and if you don’t receive your grant, Hollywood is always looking for new storytellers!
What Have We Learned?
Any effective grant application hinges on your ability to make an impact on your reader and force them to remember your product or service for what makes it special. Put as much time and energy as possible into showing how and why your organization is special or different. If you can do that concisely, you will be able to effectively set yourself apart from the field of competitors.
Be sure to check out all of my other tools and resources for aspiring entrepreneurs and forward thinkers. This article only scratches the surface of how you can connect with people who will help make your dreams a reality. And please, I encourage you to share any and all of your thoughts here; this is only one perspective on writing better grants, and more discussion always means better results.