Grant Writing: Don’t Be Scared

Occasionally I meet people that have both a great idea and a hazy notion that there might be a grant out there to fund it.  Yet they are intimidated because they have never written a grant proposal.  That was me!  It’s true that fundraising is an art and skill, and I’m sure there are good workshops to learn how to do it well (especially when going after the big ones). Nonetheless…’s how I got involved in grant writing:

I wrote one, and I got it.

Suddenly I had $20,000 to run with my little idea, and I became convinced that ordinary people with good ideas sometimes get them funded.  (If you don’t know the story of Green Party Kits, you can read it here.)

Once I had this confidence in hand, the whole process was demystified, and I kept trying for others.  Getting one is ridiculously empowering.

From my limited experience, I think the keys to “grant writing for the average person” are as follows:

-Know what you want.  Always ask for funding based out of a deep sense of vision.

-Be specific in what you want.  Do your homework.

-Read the application, and be clear about what the organization wants to fund.

-Assure the grantors that it is absolutely do-able.

-Write well.  There is no substitute for clear, decent writing.

-Remember that the first one is the hardest.  I’ve learned that once I’ve written up a few proposals, I’ve already done the hard work of cataloguing the important information I’ll need for others.  Every application is different, but you’d be surprised how much you can cut and paste!

-Don’t give up!  The $1,200 grant we received this week was rejected on the first cycle, but accepted on the second.

-Go for it!

Me, Principal Kevin Ogden and Mary Junqueiro, Director of Programs for the Western Plant Health Association from whom we received $1,200 and a gift basket with an additional $250 gift certificate from Home Depot