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Seven Deadly Sins of Grant Writing
by Ann Zeise
Too often grant writers fall into these traps when applying
for community grants. My thanks to the Community
Foundation for allowing me to reproduce this information
from one of their seminars.
- Using "grant-speak."
- Avoid acronyms
- Avoid trite phrases "outcomes," "cultural
- Avoid big words
- Avoid complex sentences
- Not doing your homework before applying
to a foundation.
- Make sure you fit the type of grant. 50% of applicants often
are not eligible.
- Don't ask for too much money.
- Include correct attachments
- Using the "Grants-R-Us" approach
to seeking grants.
- Don't use canned, "one size fits all" grants
- Pick your 5 best donors per year
- Be consistent: donors talk to each other.
- Writing in generalities and emotional
terms rather than being specific and factual.
- General: We want to make an impact on young people.
- Specific: We seek to improve the ability of 700 children
attending ABC school to work collaboratively through a series
of interactive theatre workshops.
- Providing qualitative rather than quantitative
goals and/or evaluation methods, or no goals or evaluations methods
- Think it through
- Provide hard numbers that can be measured.
- Lack of planning for the project, for
the organization and/or the future of either or both.
- Budget should accurately reflect the project.
- Budget should accurately reflect the goals of the organization.
- Inflating the value, uniqueness and/or
affect of the project or your organization.
- Bad Example: We will enrich the cultural life of all
the people in the Bay Area.
- Another Bad Example: We are the only organization
[fill in the blank] ... providing this service ... doing this
kind of work ... serving this community ... etc.
- Be realistic!
Related page: Grant Writing
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