- Yes, they’re brutal
- They’re worth it
- My proprietary grant writing process is a gift for you
Got some good news this week.
I helped a client win a competitive Western Economic Diversification (WED) competition. Sadly, it was a loan (a very favourable one), but it’s still rewarding to win. The “L” word is a dirty word here at ABG, but I’ll write those applications for preferred clients.
Don’t Wait! Download our “Three Steps to Winning a Government Grants” PDF here – http://albertabusinessgrants.ca/
Similar to WED, I’m working on another really challenging grant this week. It’s just brutal, and instead of putting my head down and getting it done, I want to teach you this week how I write – and win – government grants.
This blog will be a doozy of a resource, which I’ll keep on my website.
Here we go. I hope you enjoy it.
I want to write about a sensitive subject this week: are grants hard?
Now part of me want to say, “no, just do it. They’re not that bad.”
But the truth is some grants require several skills, and I want to give you a gift that will help you win them.
This article will be structured as five grant challenges, then I’ll give you my gift.
#1 YOU NEED TO BE ORGANIZED
The grant I’m working on this week is asking for several documents from several different people. Never mind that I need to write the grant application.
GRANT TIP: If you don’t collect all these documents early on, you’re toast.
Before you start writing a grant – long before, – you need to read and collect all the required documents. This point segues right into point two.
#2 YOU NEED TO START EARLY
Like, really early.
If you don’t start really early and get all your ducks in a row, you’re going to be STRESSED.
Heck right now I’m stressed that I’m not working on that grant, but I’ve committed to teaching the world about grants every week. I hope someone out there is reading this and is getting some value!
You also need time to ask the grant agency staff questions if you’re stuck – you can’t do that at the last minute.
#3 YOU NEED EXCEPTIONAL INTERPERSONAL SKILLS
Now look back at points one and two. Imagine you don’t have a great personality. You’re going to be dealing with all kinds of people. And for the most part, you’re asking them to do “extra” work that they’re not usually doing. If you don’t have the skills, you’re not going to get what you want BEFORE the grant application deadline.
The other major point: YOU WANT THE GRANT AGENCY STAFF TO LIKE AND TRUST YOU.
#4 YOU NEED TO BE ABLE TO WRITE
This step kills so many people from entering the grant game. I mean just imagine if accountants could write. Wow, they would be all over grants. Instead, many people in our society discourage people from getting liberal arts degrees. If I had not studied arts for a couple degrees, I wouldn’t be able to write grants well.
One other point on writing, you need to use plain language. I love writing phrases that the taxpayer understands, which is important because grant money is their money. Don’t be shy about keeping your writing clear and relevant.
#5 YOU NEED TO BE ABLE TO FOCUS
My goodness we live in a world with enormous distractions. But if you’re going to get deep into a grant, you need to tune the world out. I mean out.
I’m not sure where you are on your grant journey: maybe you’re looking to hire a full-time grant writer, write a grant yourself, or hire a grant writer. I hope that these five points will help you decide the appropriate next step to take.
After years of working on how to write a grant, I’ve put my process into 20 steps. Here you go:
PROCEDURE FOR WRITING A GRANT
1. Start as early as possible and set the schedule. Determine how many stages are in the grant. (recommended six weeks in advance)
2. Reads the entire program guide in detail.
- Highlight key words and phrases to be used for point eight below
- Identify all attachments: quotes, articles of incorporation, letters of support, testimonials, financials
- Identify how the submission works: online, in person, email, or mail
- Identify matching or not matching funds and assign budget responsibility
3. GO/NO Milestone One: Do you proceed?
4. Create Grant Project Management Sheet
5. Collect all relevant documents (e.g. previous applications, background material, business plans, etc)
6. Pull the entire application into a Word document. Questions with a substantial amount of writing and several components should be broken down with separate headings.
7. Save the document using this format mmddyy and time
8. Using the grant’s keywords and phrases, draft application abstract. Everyone needs to know what this project is in a short paragraph, and it needs to align with the grant guidelines. For example, we should state “This application proposes to XX because (1), (2), and (3). The three sections should be elaborated on in bullets on this draft one page. Point 4 address counter argument.
9. Review project abstract internally and make sure everyone agrees on the grant focus
- Check on all testimonials, attachments, budgets
- Review project management sheet
10. Send abstract to the grant agency.
11. Draft the application using the grant agency approved abstract
12. Review draft application with your team internally.
13. Submit draft to grant agency for feedback.
14. Update application with grant agency comments
15. Submit grant application two weeks in advance of the deadline
16. Sign grant agreement and documentation
17. Identify reporting team
18. Submit milestone report
19. Submit final report
20. Apply for the grant again
CHECK THIS OUT.
If you want to improve your grant writing, I have two classes coming up that might interest you in Edmonton and Airdrie.
It’s a really fun day with a mini-grant competition at the end. I teach all the steps to winning a grant, and you can see the video testimonials from alumni on my website: https://albertabusinessgrants.ca/grant-writing
Have an awesome week!