Tag Archives: Grant Writing Business

The Grant Writer with the Winnie the Pooh Tattoo: Chapter 3

“Boris Bovalcheck please, Nick Sorrento here.” “Please hold” A pause while Nick glanced out the window at the street below. “Nick how are you? Nice surprise to hear from you old man.” came the gruff accented voice of fifty six year old, CIA veteran, Boris Bovalcheck. Boris had the gravel of forty-five years of smoking in his voice. Nick worked with Boris in the agency for 15 years, all of that in the Moscow bureau before Nick called it quits.

Nick Sorrento Grant WriterNick met Nikita through friends when he took the job writing grants for Tony at a quiet consulting firm outside DC. “Trouble Boris, I think Nikita’s been grabbed by the Russian mob in Moscow.” “What!? How did you find out?” Nick told Boris the story, “I was talking to her, she was in her room at the Pleshka. Someone came to the door, I heard a guy barking orders to open the door, sounded like they busted in through the chain. Nikita screamed, sounded like they grabbed her and left.” “Didn’t anyone at the hotel call the cops?” “I called the hotel immediately, but they’re on the take, the guy told me I had the wrong hotel, said she was never there.” “Holy crap Nick, let me make some calls. What was she doing in Moscow anyway? I thought you two were both retired, living quiet, boring lives at the end of the Red Line near Shady Cove.” “We were until about two minutes ago. She went to Russia for a trade show, she’s a rep for SafeCon.” “SafeCon’s on my watch list Nick.” “What?” “Yeah, ownership is into some shady schemes. Let me go and check with my contacts. You get down here and I’ll fill you in. Hopefully I’ll learn something by then…and Nick.” “Yeah?” “Don’t call anyone else.” “Whatever you say Boris. I’ll be in your office as fast as I can.” “Good, I’ll leave a pass for you at the security desk.”

In one continuous movement, as though he’d practiced it over and over, Nick opened the wall safe, removed his passport, cash, and Glock, threw on some clothes, turned on a concealed security camera system, grabbed his computer, set the alarm, and closed the door behind him. Out on the street it was a bright frosty November morning, manhole covers steamed, and traffic was brisk. Nick would call Tony from the train and let him know the grant draft wouldn’t be completed until late. He needed to buy time or there’d be hell to pay. Nick zig-zagged between stopped traffic to cross the street thinking about Nikita, then he slipped down the steep escalator into the underground Metro.

Chapter 4 tomorrow!

Previous Chapters:
Chapter 2
Chapter 1

Top Ten Reasons that Size Matters to a Sexy Grant Writer

Size matters to sexy grant writers - image of a tape measureDoes size matter?  It’s an age-old debate among grant writers.  Some will argue that smaller are harder because of the level of detail that’s necessary to compress; yet others will argue that larger is harder because there is a tendency to lose one’s way on long narratives.

While bigger may seem better, this is only true in the hands of a skillful grant writer. Bigger grants in the hands of the inexperienced can miss the mark entirely.

Veteran Sexy Grant Writers can attest to the fact that size matters in many aspects of grant writing and here are ten reasons why:

10) Bigger will stretch your margins (spacing).
9) Most require a substantial size 12 [font].
8) Length is rigid (narrative).
7) Most have ample appendices behind.
6) Large visual images (fantasy) can crowd out narrative (reality).
5) Too much won’t fit (pages).
4) Staples may be too short (binding).
3) Big foot(notes) infer deeper substance (not always an accurate assumption).
2) Long ones are hard to duplicate (photocopy).
1) The biggest ones can be awfully difficult to firm up (edit).

In the end, it is masterful manipulation that matters regardless of size. Concentration and attention to the satisfaction of the receiver of the grant brings the ultimate reward. Bad applications of any size are disappointing and anti-climactic.

Sexy Grant Writers know that size matters, but bigger is not always better.

Related Posts:

Top Ten Reasons Grant Writers are Sexy
Grant Writers are Sexy Beasts: Why Can’t Everyone See It?

Photo Credit: Michal Ufniak

The Grant Writer with the Winnie the Pooh Tattoo: Chapter 2

The sound of a cell phone in the bedroom draws Nick out of his morning stupor just as he finishes shaving. He picks up the Android and scans the ID. <<Nikita>> is flashing on the screen, Nick answers.
“Hey Babe”
“I miss you”
“Yeah, I miss you too, how’s Moscow?”
“Freezing, gray, and people drive on the sidewalks.”
“Nothing’s changed then?”
“Not a thing. How’s the grant coming?”
“Slow, Tony’s being Tony”
“Oh, more tapes huh? Sorry to hear that. When is it due?”
“Yeah, more tapes.  Next Monday, lots of time.”

Sound of loud knocking on the door in the background
“Hey Babe, wait a minute, there’s someone at the door.”
“All right.”


Nick waits listening as Nikita answers the door. A male voice, speaking harshly in Russian, starts barking orders. Suddenly Nikita screams, there’s a loud bang like a door flung open against a wall, sounds of a struggle, grunts, a muffled cry, then the sounds fade as if it’s moving away.

“NIKITA!”

Nick yells into the phone. Silence. “Nikita pick up the phone!” Nothing.
Nick grabs the land line and dials the number for the hotel in Moscow where Nikita has been since she arrived for a security trade show. “Hotel Pleshka, may I help you?” “Yes, ring room 4213, Nikita Brittenham.” “One minute please” Silence. “Sir?” Nick is pacing the bedroom now. “Yeah, did she answer?” “I’m sorry Sir but the woman you asked for is not registered in this hotel.” “What?” “Are you sure you have the right hotel? Perhaps she is in a different one, there are many in Moscow” “Yeah, I’m sure, I was just talking to her and someone came to the door and there were screams, now she doesn’t answer the phone. She’s been there for a week and I’ve talked to her every night.” “I’m sorry Sir but she’s not a guest here.” Nick hangs up and returns to the cell to listen but there’s no sound and Nikita does not answer as he yells into the phone to pick up.

Nick’s brain switches into overdrive, he hangs up and immediately dials the Pentagon, he’s got one last contact there, Boris Bavolchek, and he needs his help fast.

Related Posts:

Chapter One

Saying No to a Bad Grant Writing Contract

Freelance grant writers are either really busy or wishing they were.  Of course when you are you long not to be but that’s another story.  Running your own business can be a little scary financially because you’re always “betting on the come”, that is you’re always anticipating there will be another contract coming along.A man's hand held out for a handshake

Success brings contracts to you.  You won’t need to advertise beyond having lots of business cards handy.  People talk about grants in the grant world and agencies often know who is getting people funded, and those that aren’t become invisible and find other work quickly.

The hard part in being a grant writing business owner is turning away a contract.  It can be even harder to do when the chips are down and the economy is bad; in those times, even a bad contract can look good.  Here are a few signs of a bad contract.

  1. The client wants you to write it solely on a contingency basis.  I always hesitate if the client isn’t willing to invest some money, put some skin in the game.  I mean come on people, do you as a grant writer really want to assume all the risk involved?  A client who does not want to invest money, won’t invest time either and you’re going to have a tough time writing the proposal at all.
  2. The client hems and haws for a long time before giving you a contract.  You may be dealing with someone who doesn’t trust you, or who doesn’t know what they want to do.  In either case, go slowly and make sure you’ve talked to them enough to be confident and to give confidence.
  3. The client is impossible to contact.  Potential clients who are too busy to return my call before a contract is signed are unlikely to be any better afterward.  I find that these kinds of clients are better off going with someone else.  I need the client to be committed to producing a fundable proposal, my reputation is on the line.
  4. The client wants to write a grant that is clearly not aligned to their mission or programs.  Go slow here.  This is hard to turn down, especially when a client with cash to pay for your services and you may be strapped for money.  Remember, that you’re in this for the long haul and unfunded grants hurt your business.  If in your opinion, the client as no hope of reciving the funding, don’t take their money.  They may be angry at first, but help them understand why and they will respect you for not gouging them.
  5. Time considerations are also primary.  Be sure that you don’t get greedy and take on too much work.  This is also a temptation in the grant business because if you’re good, lots of agencies will be knocking on your door.  If you take on too many grants to do a good job on any of them, you’ll be searching for clients instead of them searching for you.

A good grant writing contract is one for a grant that you have a reasonable expectation of success in writing and/or for which you have adequate time to develop a successful application.  A bad contract can mean a bad client, a bad opportunity, or the straw that broke the grant writer’s back.  Say NO to bad contracts to ensure the long term success of your grant writing business.

Now that’s sexy!