Filed under: GENERAL
Posted by: Jon
@ 7:37 am
THE CASE OF WHAT’S MY LINE
Project: Literacy challenge grant for rural communities.
What Happened: The RFP required that the final proposal be printed on paper with the numbers 1-30 down the left side — the same kind used for legal documents. This was to ensure that applicants used “…no more than 30 lines of narrative per page.”
- Despite warnings from a fellow writer, Pro-bono head here decides to save time and trouble by skipping the pre-printed legal paper with numbers running down the side and letting the line numbering setting on the computer do it.
- There were blank spaces between paragraphs and blank spaces before and after charts and graphs that contained no narrative but that the computer counted as lines.
- I assumed that the reader would see that despite what the numbers on the left that counted blank lines read, that there was still no more than 30 lines of narrative per page.
- The first thing readers looked at was the numbers running on the left side of the page. If they totaled over 30, those pages were thrown out.
- Out of a 30 page proposal, over half of our pages and numbers running down the left side of the page that exceeded 30. Those were thrown out and not scored.
- Grant was not awarded because of low scores.
- The client felt as bad as we did and vehemently, but futilely, protested with agency officials. Our client told us not to worry about it . . . but we did.
- We ended up eating most of the cost of the writing and doing their next proposal for practically no cost.
WHAT I WOULD DO DIFFERENTLY
Play it safe. Never leave it up for interpretation by the reader; 30 lines meant 30 lines.
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 or Amazon.com.