Do’s and don’ts of grant seeking–from the horse’s mouth

28 Mar

I told you so.

While RFPs vary from funder to funder, there are some basic tenets that never change. I ran across this nice little list of do’s and don’ts of grant seeking, as published by the ASPCA. Yes, that ASPCA.

Now, just because you aren’t an animal charity, don’t think this list doesn’t apply to you. It does. It’s all common sense and things I tell prospective grant seekers all the time. But I always love when I run across advice like this presented by an actual funder. Gives me my “I told you so” moment.

Basically, you need to follow the instructions and complete the application in full, answering each question as they ask it, not as you wish they had asked it. It seems like such a simple request, but it is the single thing that people struggle with the most in grant writing.

Not answering the question in the way it is asked will really hurt you. The funder is trying to gather information that is important to them, even if it makes no sense to you. It’s your job not to circumvent that process, but to fully disclose the information they need to make a decision.

I admit, sometimes, the information they ask for seems odd. You are allowed to roll your eyes from the privacy of your desk. But then you simply have to suck it up and answer the question. If you’re not prepared to do so, then you have to be prepared not to get the money. Remember, it’s their money until it’s yours–and even then, it’s still their money.

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