Up Your Grant Writing Prowess with these Reading Materials

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Whoa! We said what? 

As our loyal readers know by now, KFA is a team effort, and it has come to my attention that last week our beloved senior editor Chelsea suggested that you should be reading grant proposals. While this is good advice, it is not an open invitation to ask for ours.

We are consultants. As such, we are not at liberty to share the content we have created for our clients. I assure you, when you decide to work with us you will appreciate our stringent confidentiality as much as our current clients do.

Last week, Chelsea provided a pretty solid list of hyperlinks to publicly available grant proposals that you can view. I agree and strongly encourage you to have a look at those.

But this week I'm going to chime in with a few other reading materials you should explore.

Read news articles

Staying up to date with the news can provide clues about where funders’ priorities are headed. Often the information won’t be spelled out in black and white, but by reading between the lines, you can anticipate new funding opportunities that may arise. Along with your favorite daily newspaper, look to Politico or The Hill for news about the federal government.

Read fundraising materials (your own and those of other nonprofit organizations)

Fundraising and/or marketing materials are specifically designed to be compelling and to pull on the target audience’s heartstrings. Grants should also be persuasive and emotionally resonant with grant reviewers. That’s why we all stand to learn a thing or two from compelling marketing and fundraising writers (like Chelsea!).

Read good books

You probably think I spend my time reading peer-reviewed journal articles, business publications and nonfiction about society’s ills. While I do read these, the truth is I spend most of my reading time with the likes of Tolkien, Martin, and my personal favorite, Terry Brooks.

 Yes, I am a fantasy nerd. But there is great value in reading fiction when you're a nonfiction writer. Fantasy and science fiction writers are masters at engaging their readers’ imaginations and allowing them to truly picture worlds and scenarios beyond the realm of reality.

Capturing a reader’s imagination is important in grant writing as well. Grant applications generally don’t allow you submit images so you must you use writing to describe a picture of your agency, your service recipients and your project. It’s not as easy as you think, so take some time to learn from the authors who do it well.

Yes, it’s to your advantage to read grant narratives, but don’t stop there. Reading all sorts of writing – from journalism to sci-fi and fantasy to copywriting – will help you become a better grant writer.

While you’re making a reading list, consider adding our Quick Start Guides. Packed with useful information and tips, our guides will help your organization create a strategic plan, develop a communication or development plan, or figure out what a logic model is and how to create one. And for making it all the way to the end of this blog, we’ll reward you with a 15% off coupon if you purchase any of our guides. Just use code READ15 at checkout.

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