Thoughts on Writing Your Own Grants

Hope you had a great Fourth of July. I spent a good deal of my time writing a grant proposal. Not for a client. For me.

It has been a long time since I wrote a proposal for my own project. I had forgotten how hard it is to write about yourself. I can smack out a proposal for someone else in no time flat. But writing for myself is really hard.

I realized anew how important it is to get another set of eyeballs on your proposal. First, it’s difficult to write objectively about your own project. Everything seems clear and self-explanatory to you, but it can be mud to your reader. Second, find someone to copy edit. They will point out inconsistencies, anomalies, bad punctuation, and (worst of all) the Oxford comma.

Never never never trust yourself with your own proposal. Get help. Get feedback. Call the funder and go over e project with the program officer. Get all the input you can. And leave your ego at the door. Don’t argue. Take the notes, integrate them if you can, and ignore the rest.

About Scott Cargle

Scott is a nonprofit consultant, specializing in fundraising, business development and grant writing for arts and education organizations. He has worked with dozens of arts, education and community organizations in Los Angeles and New York. He has raised funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York Times Foundation, James Irvine Foundation, NY State Council of the Arts, LA City Department of Cultural Affairs, LA County Arts Commission, Jewish Community Foundation, and many others. From 1993-2006, was the Artistic Director of the Shakespeare Project, which presented large-scale outdoor productions, free in parks all over New York City. Over a 12-year period, he grew the budget from $800 to $400,000, with nearly 95% coming from unearned revenue. Scott has served on grant-making panels, including LA City Department of Cultural Affairs, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, New York Times Foundation, NY Foundation for the Arts, Alliance of Resident Theatres/NY, and CEC International. He was also honored to serve on the board of directors for the Alliance of Resident Theatres/NY from 2003 -2005. He currently serves on the board of Keshet Chaim Dance Ensemble.
This entry was posted in Fundraising, Grant Writing, Grantwriting, Nonprofit, The Ask, Writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Thoughts on Writing Your Own Grants

  1. Anonymous says:

    i have forgoten how to write grant, as i figured out how to produce with so called obsolete vhs tech, it worked well and gave me the freedom of who cares what they think. that was a sucessful strategy,now i will start paying attention to your posts, damn HD


  2. Scott, This is such great advice!


  3. Anonymous says:

    Thank you! I enjoyed the frankness and accessibility of your blog, and I appreciate hearing your thoughts from a professional and personal standpoint. I will certainly keep it in mind as my grant-writing endeavors grow!


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