SHOW ME THE GRANT MONEY!
Retool your gray matter with JONATHAN O'BRIEN and win more grant money!
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09/30/08
The Reader/Scorer
Filed under: PROGRAM DESIGN
Posted by: Jon @ 6:20 pm

When you think of the funding agency staff considering your proposal for funding, think of them as the “Reader/Scorer,” not just the “Reader.” That’s because grant applications are not merely read, but are competitively scored against other proposals from programs or agencies just like yours. Your program will never be judged solely on its own merits but instead on how it measures up against others. Using a rubric, a Reader/Scorer tabulates scores your program design in a number of different categories. These scores are then tallied against your competition.

Although it may be called something nice like “an application process” or “an invitation to apply for funds,” make no mistake, grant writing is fiercely competitive. No mercy. May the best grant proposal—with the highest score—win.

Read more about this in my new book RIGHT BEFORE YOU WRITE: The Groundbreaking Process Used To Win More Than $285 Million in Competitive Grant Awards. Available at www.SandyPointInk.com. Or click on Sandy Point Ink in the left column.

7258 comments
“Artfully Sell the problem”
Filed under: PROGRAM DESIGN
Posted by: Jon @ 6:09 pm

In the book, Entrepreneurial Megabucks: The 100 Greatest Entrepreneurs of the Last 25 Years, biotechnology pioneer Ronald E. Cape brilliantly described how he generated support and backing. His crusade was to prevail upon others the idea of developing genetic engineering to combat world hunger and incurable diseases. The way he did this can best be described in four words: “artfully selling the problem.”

“Artfully selling the problem” also describes the process of program design: identifying a problem (or need) in search of a solution and making that seemingly worst situation seem solvable. Your program design should impassion and persuade the Reader/Scorer. In this case, persuade means to sell. And what are you selling? Not just the fact that your proposed program has a critical need for their support, but that your proposed program’s critical need for grant dollars supersedes that of all the other competing programs seeking support for the same grant dollars.

Most grants fail to win awards because in addition to not adequately identifying a solvable problem or need, they fail to turn negatives into positives. That is, they fail to artfully sell the problem.

Read more about this in my new book RIGHT BEFORE YOU WRITE: The Groundbreaking Process Used To Win More Than $285 Million in Competitive Grant Awards. Available at www.SandyPointInk.com. Or click on Sandy Point Ink in the left column.

29252 comments
Stats Don’t Mean A Thing If They Ain’t Got That Schwing!
Filed under: GRANT WRITING
Posted by: Jon @ 5:50 pm

Okay, so I butchered a great lyric by combining it with a Wayne-and-Garthism, but I’m trying to make you remember a very important point. A statistic standing alone doesn’t mean a thing unless it’s compared to another statistic. Why is this important? Because statistical data is the lifeblood of an excellent grant proposal. It’s your job to turn the statistics into a story and to make all your data have meaning to the Reader/Scorer.

For example, MOST applicants in a school-based grant application might write: “The Generic Unified School District has a high school drop out rate of 28%.” Okay….so? What is our reaction supposed to be? 28% is merely a number in limbo. But if they were to instead write: ” The Generic Unified School District has a high school drop out rate of 28%, seven times the county average of four percent (4%)…” Now that stat has some Schwing! We have something to compare it to. It means something. We know how to react.

Never assume the Reader/Scorer will make the connection or a comparison. YOU must make the connection for the reader. YOU must make it easy for the reader to understand—to get the point.

More about this in my new book RIGHT BEFORE YOU WRITE: The Groundbreaking Process Used To Win More Than $385 Million In Competitive Grant Awards available at www.SandyPointInk.com. Click the Sandy Point Ink logo in the left column for more info.

3430 comments
Oh, You’re Like That Crazy Guy…
Filed under: ABOUT O'BRIEN
Posted by: Jon @ 4:42 pm

Whenever people find out I have something to do with helping nonprofits design viable programs and writing grants to fund their cause, I often hear, “Oh, you’re like that crazy guy on TV who says there’s millions of dollars of grant money out there just waiting… ” Actually, there are several guys like that: wearing wardrobes that even Batman’s arch enemies wouldn’t wear barking at us like carnival sidemen about the loads of grant money out there to do whatever we want: “write a novel, travel, eat out at a different restaurant every night, get paid for sleeping!” And all we have to do is send them one hundred bucks for a catalog—yeah, a catalog that we can get for free from the federal government.

4657 comments