Grant Writing

Grant Writing


One of the major dilemmas that I have learned about over the years is that there are proposals written which never get “off the ground”, much less even get submitted. I’m aware of organizations that have spent hours, days and even months on researching and developing a particular proposal, yet it never gets sent in.


After investigating this predicament, I discovered that this occurs because of a simple omission and that is, no one is designated as the team leader. No one person is assigned the leadership role of getting the proposal written and submitted. Many times, an organization will select team members because of their expertise in research and their ability to write specific section of the proposal. This is fine, except the problem here is that this project lacks the leader who is needed to pull the sections all together, until it is too late.


I strongly recommend that to produce a successful proposal, someone must be clearly designated right up front as the team leader who’s responsible for getting the proposal written and submitted on time. It’s as simple as that, yet many times, organizations do not designate a specific person for this role. Thus, the grant-writing process suffers because the proposal pieces are never gathered and assembled in a timely fashion.


When you are both the team leader and the key writer, immediately, let everyone know that you are ultimately the “boss” for getting this proposal submitted. It is vital that right up front, you let everyone know who you are and what your roles are.  Regardless of the others who contribute to the proposal, in the end, you are the one who is totally responsible for the success or failure of this grant proposal. 


The first step of grant-writing is to identify an organization that has a need for outside grant funds for a specific program or service. Grants are the award of money that is not a loan which has to be paid back to the grantor. Whether you seek out an organization that you feel needs grant funds or an organization that comes to you with their financial need, the steps to follow in my manual are similar.


As a grant writer, numerous organizations contact me for advice and assistance regarding how to secure outside funding to launch or refinance one of their projects. My first action is to research and analyze the history and credibility of this organization.  Once I’m satisfied that this is worthy organization and there is a definite need for outside funding, we meet to discuss a formal partnership agreement. Only after the contract is signed, do I begin the search for matching the needs of this organization to an appropriate grantor that has readily available funds.  


My grant-writing process begins the same way each time and I never agree to be part of a grant team unless I’m designated as the team leader who is solely responsible for the entire grant-writing process.  If I’m not appointed the team leader then I usually “walk away” until the next grant inquiry comes along.  Some people feel that there should be two or more team leaders, but through the years I have found that one person must be designated as the one to quickly handle any critical situations that arise and be solely responsible for successfully meeting the deadline for the grant submission.


This may sound arrogant on my part, but put any hard feelings aside because strong and concise leadership is what it takes to win a grant. This is the person that I must be, the one who can lead to a successful grant award. It’s as simple as that!


When you are designated as the team leader of a specific grant-writing project, then your authority becomes a great resource for seeing that this grant proposal is successfully being researched, written and submitted. It is vital that everyone within the organization be informed that you have the authority to lead, manage and successfully meet the deadline for submission of this proposal.


Many times, I have seen organizations that are full of bureaucrats, red tape, policies, procedures and endless chains of command, so that it is almost impossible to get a proposal written, much less successfully submitted because the proposal moves “as slow as molasses in winter”.  I recommend that as the designated team leader you always act with the authority to achieve the mission of submitting the proposal fully executed and on time.


Dr. Pat authored HOW TO WIN AT GRANT WRITING, a work book for the aspiring grant writer who wants to win grant awards and can be obtained from Amazon or Barnes & Noble. This workbook is one of the most essential resources to help you learn how to secure grant funds. This manual covers the vital steps of grant-writing that are reinforced by Dr. Pat’s inside trade secrets that only she knows about.


Serious grant-writing takes specific skills that are absolutely needed to succeed in this field. Let’s begin by assessing whether or not you have these ten essential management skills:


  1. Effective Leader & Manager
  2. Effectual Researcher & Data Analyst
  3. Precise & Capable Planner
  4. Decision Maker
  5. Well Organized
  6. Problem Solver
  7. Critical Thinker
  8. Effective Communicator
  9. Time & Stress Manager
  10. Able to Deal with Change

Don’t despair if your skills in these areas are limited at this time. When I first began I lacked some of these skills so I partnered with another grant writer until I was ready to go out on my own. You could consider this same approach if you need to acquire some new management skills.