Let’s be real: Grant writing is more than just being able to write. It’s being able to follow instructions and to creatively, within reason, demonstrate why certain projects deserve, require, or should obtain certain funding. 

Have I ever written a grant? Nope, my fellow reader, I have not. But I have overseen similar processes for funding allocations, specifically for 1.2 million dollars. 

So let’s digress a little bit, for good reason. 

During my last two years in undergrad, I was president and financial advisor for student government which oversaw a 1.2 million dollar budget. Every March would roll around, and we would start the infamous budget allocation process. This process would determine which organizations would receive funding and for what projects for the next fiscal year. Some of these organizations would ask for $200, others would ask for $450,000. Normally, we would have a total ask of 3.3 million. 

 For months before the commencement of this process, we would share with the general assembly composed of student senators and student organization representatives, what parameters and guidelines would be used for the budget process. For the time period of submissions, we would host office hours, open workshops with food, Q&As – anything to help these organizations fill out these forms. 

Maybe a total of 5 organizations would show up out of the 145 organizations. 

Then the day of the deadline would roll around. We would hold our last office hours, generously until 11:59 p.m., and the influx of panicked emails and visits would happen. We would do our best to help them, but there’s not much you can do to rewrite a whole proposal ten minutes before the deadline. 

Budget committee would then assemble and for the duration of two weeks, go through Every. Single. Proposal. Three times. And how did we find ways to cut money? When proposals cut into our time. A cut for going over the page limit. Another for incorrect file type. Another for not following the proper order. Another for putting incorrect requests in the wrong areas. 

And some of these events would have been amazing. But how do you ignore the multiple errors of a proposal that could have easily been fixed just to help out that project when another group followed everything to the T? What could this also say about how they would handle the funding in the end? 

And I doubt these questions differ vastly from what our grant committees think of when they read through our future grant applications. 

So if we want to make this easier for ourselves: ask for help. 

There is no secret to successful grant writing. There is no secret spell, promo code, hidden words, or concealed process. And honestly, that is the beauty of it. 

Everyone gets (as much as we can figure out at the time) an equal shot. And yes, it can be annoying, time consuming, agitating even. 

But if that’s what it takes, so be it. 



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