I talk to a lot of people who write a lot of grants but don’t necessarily win a lot of grants. That’s like saying we talk to a lot of major league baseball hitters who get a lot of at-bats but don’t necessarily get many hits. It goes with the territory. Three hits out of every ten at bats in the majors and a player is signing autographs on one hundred dollar bills at the All-Star game. Two hits out of ten and the ex-player is studying for the Post Office workers exam.
Baseball has what is called the Mendoza line, that unofficial benchmark (a .200 average) where if a player’s average is above that mark they keep him in the big leagues. If it’s below that mark. . .well, then it’s time to go back down to the minor leagues . . .or play for the Dodgers.
Grant writers have the equivalent of a batting average — a success rate — usually expressed in terms of a percentage. But asking a grant writer about their success rate is like asking a car salesman how business is (couldn’t be better) or a fading movie star how many of his movies were hits (all of them were in Europe, of course) — optimism is blended with reality quicker than coffee and sugar on New Year’s morning. So how do you judge a grant writer’s success? More in the next blog.
Meanwhile check out my new book, RIGHT BEFORE YOU WRITE: THE GROUNDBREAKING PLANNIING PROCESS USED TO WIN MORE THAN $385 MILLION IN COMPETITIVE GRANTS.