Welcome to Day 5 of the Finding Funding Challenge!
Today, we'll consider top tips and tricks that will make your grant a standout. Below are some initial considerations, drawn in part from this Art History and Communications professor and the National Institutes of Health.
Tip #1 Follow the Granting Agency’s Guidelines, with attention to:
Tip #2 Write to Your Audience
Tip #3 Effectively Tell Your Story
Tip #4 Have Realistic Goals
Tip #5a Make the Proposal Easy to Navigate - Quality over Quantity!
Be clear and concise, use active voice/action verbs, and avoid jargon and wordiness. This helps you meet proposal page limits and word counts in applications with these limits, and it helps reduce reader fatigue for reviewers who are reading 100s of pages of text:
"Grant reviewers are often reviewing grants on top of their already busy schedules of conducting research, teaching, conducting professional service, and managing their lives. Help your exhausted reviewers help you. Write a concise proposal that has clear headlines, is easy to read and visually appealing, has a logical flow from one paragraph to the next, contains visuals that complement the words, and connects to a broad audience in that field." From Science's article, Help Funders Help You.
Also, check out "Why Academics Have a Hard Time Writing Good Grant Proposals," with a focus on Table 1, "Academic Writing versus Grant Writing: Contrasting Perspectives."
Your First Challenge: Substitute a Single Word for Each of the Following Phrases
This a quick, easy approach to thinking about an economy of words.
Tip #5b Make the Proposal Easy to Navigate - Recognize the Importance of Skim Value!
Example 1. Which of the following is more eye catching?
Both documents include similar information, but one utilizes bolded headers and a timeline table to increase white space.
Example 2. Gantt Chart-Style Work Plan
A Gantt Chart is a visual representation of tasks that will take place over a period of time.
See the full chart at Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship successful application
Your Second Challenge: Create a Work Plan for your Grant Project Using this Template
This is an effective way to visually represent the activities you're undertaking, including any research you're conducting during your grant project period (without having to write all of the details in paragraph form). It can also be a useful tool to set up your project calendar, track your project status, and create progress reports. Click on File, and Make a Copy, to create your own template from the link above.
Example 3. A Logic Model
A logic model is a visual representation of the overall scope and expected outcomes of your grant project, in a flow-chart format.
Your Third Challenge: Create a Logic Model for your project, using this template.
A logic model can be helpful as an outline to guide your proposal writing, as a ready reference to track project progress, and as an aid in project evaluation development. Plus, more funders are requiring logic models as part of the grant proposal! Click on File, and Make a Copy, to create your own template from the link above.
BONUS (Optional) Challenge: Create a Grant Evaluation Plan
Create an evaluation plan that you will use to determine if your expectations were met, using these examples as inspiration. This type of assessment will help you discern the impact of your project, if you met your objectives, and what comes next for your project. This is usually presented narratively, but the addition of a visual timeline may be helpful.
Further Considerations in Your Grantseeking Journey
Remember: Balance is key. Identify a few ways in which you will refresh and sustain yourself during the grant seeking process. This is a marathon, not a sprint!
Congratulations! You have completed the Finding Funding Challenge!
Thank you for joining us this week, and please reach out with any questions.
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