If you've never applied for a grant before, or even if you have, you might consider getting yourself a grant-writing partner. It can be quite intimidating to apply for your first grant. Almost certainly, you will wonder... Are you answering the applciation questions properly? Did you do enough research? Do you have enough statistics to support your assertion that you need the grant money? How do you even get started?
[content block] The complexity of grant applications can be daunting to anyone, but having help can make the difficult task easier. You might find a partner who has some grant-writing experience. But even if you are both novices, the moral support you give one another may make up for your lack of experience. I do recommend choosing a partner who will benefit equally from the grant money when it is awarded to you. In other words, if possible, you should both have a stake in the outcome of the application. That gives you both an incentive to complete the application and to make it as good and thorough as possible.
When you're looking for a partner, you want to select someone who will contribute as much as possible. Your partner might be an innovative thinker, have good writing skills, or work magic with a budget. It will not be beneficial to choose someone to simply keep you company. A good partner will not only contribute, but should also keep you moving forward on the tasks that you're assigned.
While you could work on the entire grant application together, it might be more beneficial to divide responsibilities. I had a partner on one of the federal grants for which I applied. She did all the work on the budget. I completed all of the narrative parts of the application. We reviewed each other's work and then put in the final touches together. In the end, we delivered an excellent application and were awarded more than $100,000. We both had experience writing grants, but it was more efficient for each of us to use our strongest skills in completing the application.
Before you actually begin writing, you should read over the entire application and any directions that accompany it. Decide together exactly what information is being requested in each part of the form. Once you have determined that, you will be able to divide responsibilities appropriately. After you begin, review each other's work as often as possible to make sure you're both staying on track.
If at all possible, when you have completed the application, get a more experienced grant writer to review it for you. That person may find a few ways to improve the application that the two of you had not considered. After you get the application in final form, put it in the mail and hope for the best. Even waiting to see if you are awarded the grant money is more exciting when you have a partner.
Once you've applied for a few grants, you may decide it's easier for you to complete grant applications by yourself. It does get easier and easier the more applications you complete. On that first one or two, however, it makes excellent sense to choose a good partner with good skills to help you through the process.
Article by Don Peek
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