Tag Archives: Grant Writing

50 Shades of Grant Writing

50shadesImagination is sexy. Grant writers have huge imaginations, sometimes we’re accused of having implants.

Grant writers need to have large imaginations because so many of their clients don’t know what the hell they want to do. Writing a grant can be pure fiction like, “50 Shades of Grey” Book 1 by E.L. James.

“In a daze, I place my hand in his and we shake. As our fingers touch, I feel an odd exhilarating shiver run through me. I withdraw my hand hastily, embarrassed. Must be static. I blink rapidly, my eyelids matching my heart rate.

Translated into 50 Shades of Grant language:

“Bedazzled by the agency’s large endowment, our Executive Director consummated the partnership  in an MOU (appended). Everyone is vibrating about what’s coming next. Must be low blood sugar. Our ED expects the partnership to rise rapidly and extend into fertile areas for expansion.”

A sexy grant writer can turn on their imagination and write a grant that makes the funding agency salivate.

The best imagination combined with experience grounded in grant implementation brings zest to the narrative that a lesser writer can’t produce. Careful writing won’t spark a reader’s imagination, there’s no tingle in that Grant spot.

Giving It Away for Free

womand with giftIt’s really hard for those who earn a living at it that there are so many others who are giving it away for free. I’m speaking of grant writing, of course.

It happened to me again a few weeks ago.  A client was choosing between me and another writer.  I quoted my fee, and the other writer said she would write the grant for free, as long as she got the contract for the evaluation. It’s hard to compete against that, in spite of the fact that what she proposed is an unethical practice.

It’s easy to understand why grant writers/evaluators would want that deal.  The evaluation contract is much more lucrative that the grant writing piece, and it usually continues for several years. However, grant writing and program evaluation are separate skills sets.  In many cases, qualified program evaluators also write grants, but there are many grant writers who try to fit into the evaluation world because of the money.

The problem is that it’s almost always not allowed by a funding source to make an agreement for a service provider to be funded through the grant before the grant has even been funded and without going through a funder-approved selection process.  For government grants, that means following your organizations established procurement process. For private funding sources, it could mean including the funder in the selection process or giving them a chance to review the process and approve the selection.

The ethical issue is that a grant writer proposing such an arrangement is a) giving the client the idea that such a thing is acceptable to the funding source when it almost always is not, and b) taking advantage of an organization’s desire to save money, even if it pushes them to do something that is illegal, at worst, or unallowable, at best – all so the writer can get his hands on a bigger pot of cash.

I am asked by potential clients to step into agreements like that more and more often these days because it is being offered to them by other grant writers.  I always say no.

Unless it’s someone I really love (an organization I personally support and have decided to make a personal donation to), I never give it away for free.

Have We Met?

woman modelYou spot her across the room and slowly swagger over to say hello. You’ve got your intro line all prepared and you’re ready to make your pitch.

You smile.  She smiles. Then you take a deep breath and say, “After a year of therapy, I am so ready for a new relationship.  How about you?” She stares at you in disbelief for a second or two and then walks away.

In retrospect you realize that, since you had never met before, you probably would have been better off starting off with some basic facts like your name.

It’s the same with grant writing.  When you’re writing a proposal for a potential funder, you need to remember that the funder has never met you before. They don’t know who you are, your hopes and dreams, who you serve, or how long you’ve been serving the community. They don’t know anything about you. So start off with the basics.

Tell them who you are and what you do and what you propose to do. Build your case strongly, making no assumptions. Make sure that your proposal really gives them a good understanding of who you are.

Then you might have a chance of getting a date to the dance – a funder who wants to support your cause.

The Grant Writing Equivalent of the Push-Up Bra

 A good push-up bra has a specific purpose – to provide support and make the wearer look her best (o.k., better than her natural best). If it didn’t accomplish that purpose, no one would wear them.

And the quickest and easiest way to get that “lifted up and looking good” effect is to wear a good push-up bra. Sure, you could get breast augmentation surgery, but that’s a long term solution, plus it’s very expensive and somewhat dangerous.  You could try special exercises, but that, too, is a long term solution and the result you’ll get is not as good as you’ll get with a push-up bra.

What does this have to do with grant writing?

There has to be a quick and easy way to improve your grant writing without taking the long road through course work, years of trial and error, and rejection without really knowing what you are doing wrong.

There is.

If you review some grant samples you’ll see examples of successful proposals and you’ll recognize the patterns and the application of the basics of effective grant writing.  Think of it as a self-study course.  And I’m not talking about a few grant samples.  In order to see those patterns of effective writing and how many different writers approach different grant challenges, you’ll need to read lots of grant samples.

That’s where GrantSample.com comes in.  You can get unlimited access to hundreds of sample grants. You’ll see hundreds of examples of successful grant narratives for federal, state, and private grants. There are also budgets and budget narratives there for you to review. It’s the largest collection of grant samples available on the web.

So get busy strapping on that push-up bra of successful grant writing and lifting your writing out of the crowded mosh pit of mediocrity.  Then you can start getting the attention that the beautiful people (successful grant writers) get.

Wouldn’t that be nice?

 

 


Celebrate Grant Submission

Finishing and delivering a grant is one of the best experiences a sexy grant writer can have, am I right?

You spend weeks pushing through writing, rewriting, revising, editing, and publishing and all the while the tension grows as the deadline creeps closer.

The excitement caused by that approaching climax is almost too much to bear; you know it’s true, don’t be prudish.  It’s that thrilling rush at the end that makes the nasty business irresistible.

Let’s face it there’s a lot of pressure building over the weeks of writing.  People are counting on you for a big payoff and you can’t let them down.  Your urge to let the grant all go before it’s ready is strong, but you hold fast and keep stroking the keys until everything feels perfect.

Finally, the hour draws near and it’s time to lay it down. Take pains to slow down now and pay attention to details so you dazzle the readers sending them into starry-eyed fits of ecstasy.

If you’re a little breathless and a little sweaty, no worries, it is the sign of a sexy grant writer. Don’t feel at all shy about grabbing that package and delivering the job yourself.

(OK, OK, so it’s really called a submittal isn’t it?)

 

Top Eight Ways to Appeal to a Sexy Grant Writer

Grant writers are always in BIG demand on the dating scene so you’ll need to know us better to catch one of us.Sexy Grant Writers are appealing

1)      Always promise a happy ending. (We love getting funded)

2)      Always tell us your needs (We like to design the perfect program)

3)      Always tell us how you’re going to evaluate performance. (We love an intimate assessment)

4)      Always make your objectives measurable. (cuz we know you’re more than significant)

5)      Always detail your budget. (We have expensive tastes)

6)      Don’t bind our narrative. (We like it loose)

7)      Always describe your management plan. (We prefer not to be surprised)

8)      Always start early and keep revising your style until it hits all the sweet spots. (Our sweet spots love a skillful editor)

Top 12 Reasons Grant Writers are Yummy

We know we’re delicious, but some people are afraid to try new things.  Exotic delights like grant writers scare some people off before they even take a bite.  There’s nothing to be afraid of and how do you know unless you try it?

  1. We put the nosh in your knish.Sexy grant writers are delicious like this loaf of french bread.
  2. We puff your pastry.
  3. We tantilize your taste buds.
  4. We terrorize your tiramisu.
  5. We back up your baklava.
  6. We sop up your sauces.
  7. We toast your buns.
  8. We grind your peppers.
  9. We put the cream in your puffs.
  10. We sauté your mushrooms.
  11. We knead your dough.
  12. We bake your biscuits.

If these aren’t enough reasons to savor that sexy grant writer – if you need a little more culinary instruction – brush with olive oil and put in a warm place to rise.

Other posts you may enjoy:

Top 10 Reasons to Read Sexy Grant Writers if Your are a Vegetarian

9 Ways to Pamper Your Sexy Grant Writer

Top Ten (plus 1) Reasons to Subscribe to Sexy Grant Writers

1. We’re sexy (and you fit in) Sexy grant writers love to be fed chocolates at poolside.
2. You’re sexy too ( and it’s nice to be reminded)
3. You’re secretly attracted to Nick.
4. You deserve a break from writing narratives.
5. You like it edgy.
6. Your Mom won’t approve.
7. Your Dad can’t send you a friend request here.
8. Your zen master told you it enhances feng shui.
9. Dr. Oz said it induces release of pheromones.
10. It blows your skirt up like Marylin Monroe’s.
11. It’s like being hand fed Godiva chocolates poolside by the love of your life.

Now you only need to act and subscribe!  Just click on the subscribe button in the laft sidebar and you’re in!

Other Posts You’ll Enjoy:

Dilated and Tweeting
Top Ten Reasons Grant Writers are Sexy

Graphic Credit – Gabriella Fabbri

How to Attract a GWM

Let’s face it, grant writers are a catch.  Witness all the personal ads looking for a match with us!  Maybe you’ve missed it, but people looking for us are everywhere. They advertise themselves under a clever acronym – GWM (i.e., Grant Writer Match) – we are plainly a HOT commodity.GWM

You need to take the right approach to connect with that perfect GWM.  Here are 7 of the 14 top pick-up lines that can instantly tell a GWM that you know your RFP’s.

1. I’m the design for your needs.

2. I want YOU on my MOU.

3. If you were literature, I’d give you a citation.

4. I’d like to evaluate your design.

5. Can I be one of your activities?

6. I’ve got a budget for your benefits.

7. May I illustrate your design?

Check back soon for the last 7 lines that can help you attract that special GWM; or, subscribe to Sexy Grant Writers and our posts can be emailed to you!

Related Posts:

Nine Ways to Pamper Your Sexy Grant Writer

Grant Writers are Humble

Nick Sorrento: Chapter 6

Nick sat in the back of the taxi silently, steeped in thought.  None of this made sense.  Nikita wasn’t an agent and never had been, he’d been out of the game for years now.  So why Nikita, why were they after him now after all this time.  The driver headed down Massachusetts Avenue toward Foggy Bottom where they’d catch the Roosevelt Bridge into Virginia then head south past Arlington Cemetery to the Pentagon.The Grant Writer with the Winnie the Pooh Tattoo

Nick began thinking like an agent.  Whoever the man in the Fedora was knew where he lived, he knew he’d be heading for the Metro.  Nick froze, pulled out his phone and stripped off the back and removed the battery.  Nothing, but a pro wouldn’t put a bug where it would be obvious.  Nick took small screwdriver out of his computer bag and opened the back of the Nokia phone. “OK, there you are.” Nick whispered. A tiny chip wired right into the phone’s harness so it would run off the phone battery.  “Slick” muttered Nick, “Never go dead.” Nick left the bug in place and replaced the back.  He’d use the phone once more then discard it.  By now they’ve tapped into the account, names, phone numbers, emails, they had every piece of information it held. Nick dialed Boris’ office.  The secretary answered, “Agent Bovalcheck’s Office” “Hey Mary, it’s Nick” “Hi Nick what’s shakin’ bacon?” “You don’t want to know Mary, is Boris there?” “Yeah Nick, hold on please” Mary always had a crush on Nick even though she was old enough to be his mother and had been married to the same man for 45 years. “Nick, where the hell are you? I thought you’d be here by now.  I was starting to worry.” “Yeah I got held up. Hey let’s meet a Tonic  for lunch, I’m starving.” “No problem, you’re buying.” “Sure Boris, whatever you say.”

Nick hung up the phone and tucked it down into the crease between the top and bottom cushions of the seat, down into the candy wrappers and lint where nobody would find it for a long time. If they were using it to track him, they’d be chasing the taxi. Boris knew that Tonic was a diversion, it was a real restaurant in the West End near GW Law, but Nick and Boris weren’t going there, if someone was listening – and they were – they’d be waiting there as Nick passed. 

Nick knew they’d drive past Tonic on the way to the Roosevelt Bridge so he ducked low as they zipped along through traffic.  Sure enough another Town Car was waiting across the street, two dark figures visible behind the tinted glass. “Man they’re all over me.” Nick muttered.  Soon they were across the bridge and heading south.  Nick flashed his ID at one guard at the check point who went inside to make a phone call, another guard did a search under the hood, in the trunk, then underneath the cab with mirrors on long poles, a third guard led a bomb-sniffing dog around the vehicle. “Man…” thought Nick, “…things have sure changed since I got out.”  Nick left the service just prior to 9-11.

The taxi dropped him off and circled away and toward the exit.  Nick entered a second security checkpoint surrendered his weapon, and passed through a metal detector, and a guard with a wand. “Raise your arms please palms open and upward, turn your belt buckle inside out, remove your shoes.” “Hey Nick” It was Mary sent down to escort him in. “Hi Mary, how ya been?” “Could be worse, could be better.” “How’s Ben?” “Ben’s Ben, same old stuff, Redskins, Orioles, Blackhawks, and Budweiser.”  “Come on Boris is anxious to see you.” “Not as anxious as I am” They walked in silence to the elevator.  Mary knew better than to ask what was going on.  She wasn’t cleared for that level of security.  But Mary knew from years of experience that whatever was going on, it wasn’t good since Nick had been out of the game for over ten years.

Sexy Grant Writers Enhances Feng Shui

Grant writers know that proper environment for writing creates the right attitude.  That’s why our Sexy Grant Writers blog is so powerful at enhancing your Feng Shui (ness).  Read regularly and you can’t help but start re-aligning your office furniture, buying bamboo plants, and little sand boxes with rakes.   Here are the Ten Top reasons why you should make Sexy Grant Writers a regular part of harmonizing your grant writing atmosphere.Sexy Grant Writers enhances your Feng Shui - Picture of bamboo

10) It moves your Qi in a positive direction.

9) Your astrolabe points here.

8) It’s one of your wandering stars.

7) It keeps your Yin and Yang in balance.

6) It enhances your elements (especially FIRE).

5) I divines your Bagua.

4) It keeps you from going Red Phoenix.

3) It’s one of your Four Pillars of Destiny.

2) It keeps your bamboo limber.

1) It congeals your Qi.

Is virtue a thing remote? I wish to be virtuous, and lo! Virtue is at hand.  Confucius, The Confucian Analects

Nine Ways to Pamper Your Sexy Grant Writer

Pamper your sexy grant writer with a nice warm bath.You may think grant writers have it soft sitting in a nice chair all day writing.  It’s true we can have our coffee there and maybe a nice cookie while we work.  But just try writing for ten hours with only a few bathroom breaks.  Your shoulders cramp, your forearms cramp, your calves cramp, your eyes get tired, it’s a grind. While it’s true that we’re even sexier when tired, we do enjoy some refreshing pampering.

Here are nine ideas about how to pamper your sexy grant writer:

1)      Bring a vase of cut flowers to sit beside the computer to bring color and fragrance to the grant writing process.

2)      Buy some warming oil and give your sexy grant writer a shoulder massage. (close the office blinds first, that adds to the atmosphere and keeps you both out of jail.)

3)      Make a run to the local coffee shop for some spectacular coffee drinks then invite your sexy grant writer to sit on the porch.

4)      Buy a pedicure certificate and offer to read a grant draft while your sexy grant writer takes a break for an hour to go to the salon.

5)      Cook a pot of special soup or stew, buy some excellent bread and butter so your grant writer can take breaks and eat well without having to cook.

6)      Run a hot bath, dim the lighting, put on some Barry White, add some bath oils, light a candle, then get in and text your grant writer to join you (if you need more directions, don’t waste the hot water).

7)      Bring a tub of hot water into the office, remove your sexy grant writer’s shoes and socks and soak their weary feet while giving them a foot massage.

8)      Pack a suitcase for two and after your sexy grant writer submits their application, drive directly to a nice hotel on the coast for a couple of days.

9)      If you and your sexy grant writer have kids, do #1; #3; #5 and then take the kids out for the day. Do #2; and #7 when you get back, get a sitter before executing #8, and skip #6 unless you want more kids.

Sexy grant writers love to be pampered; it makes us all feel all squishy and wah-wah-licious inside.  We deserve a little pampering too because grant writing is hard work, even if we aren’t getting blisters.  Spend a little time pampering your grant writer and they may just pamper you back. 

Now that’s sexy!

Related Post:

Grant Writers are Sexy Beasts

Photo Credit: Roger Kirby

Nick Sorrento – The Grant Writer with the Winnie the Pooh Tattoo: Chapter 5

Nick kept running up the escalator until he reached the last person between him and the sunny exit above, a pretty young woman. Nick stopped beside her and smiled, she returned his smile batting her chestnut eyes playfully. They engaged in light conversation. Nick’s plan was to walk out of the Metro arm in arm looking for all the world like a couple. These men wouldn’t be looking for a couple. He stripped off his coat turning it inside out to black and draping it over his arm. He then drew his hair back in one motion and fastened it into a ponytail. As Nick and the woman reached the top of the escalator, Nick offered his arm to the woman with a casual comment about always tripping off these things as a kid. She giggled at the familiarity and took Nick’s arm.

Nick Sorrento Sexy grant Writer Chapter 5The plan working so far. She agreed he’d accompany to the building where her appointment would begin in ten minutes. As the couple emerged from the tunnel into the frosty morning air, he and the girl stepped quickly right up the sidewalk. Nick snuck a quick look left between the north and south Metro entrances where he expected the other man to be. Sure enough there he was standing beside a long, black town car trying to keep watch on both exits. His phone rang and he picked up. Nick turned and escorted his new friend up the street, keeping an ear behind for running steps following, they never came as the couple turned the corner ne looked back once and the two men were now huddled together at the exit he and the girl had just left.

A block later Nick left the girl at her building and he hailed a cab and jumped in happy to on his way to see Boris. “Pentagon” and the cab lurched forward. Nick had time to think now and he ran through the morning’s events. None of it made any sense. His phone rang, “Damn, Tony” Nick muttered to himself, he pushed the screen to pick up the call.”Nick here” “Nick, I’m waiting for you here, I thought you were coming in at 9” Nick knew he didn’t have any meetings this morning with Tony but it always took him off guard when Tony did this stuff. “Uh…I don’t remember a meeting…” “HA-HA-HA, got you again Sorrento, you’re an easy mark.” “Oh, yeah, that’s it Tony, you’re too quick for me, especially before I’ve had my coffee.” “Yeah-yeah it’s the coffee. So when am I going to getting the next grant draft?” “Well, something came up this morning. I’ll have it to you by 6 tonight.” “Hey, you were supposed to have it here by noon. I’m no night owl remember?” “Yeah I know, sorry Tony, can’t be helped.” “OK,OK, you all right Sorrento?” “Yeah Tony, I’ll explain later.” “All right Nick but no later than 6, I’ve got blank tapes waiting for you.” “Yeah, I bet you do” It occurred to Nick that only a couple of hours ago his biggest problem was Tony’s tapes. “All right Tony, catch you later.” The phone clicked off. Tony could see the Washington Bridge ahead, next stop Virginia and the Pentagon. Nick hoped Boris would have some answers.

Grant Writers are Humble About Our Celebrity

Grant Writers are people too, even if we’re exceptionally sexy ones.  We enjoy the simple things in life like everyone else.  Sexy Grant Writers silhouette in redWe like the early-bird breakfast for $2.95 and we’re annoyed when we see the bill and realize that coffee wasn’t included. We enjoy a sunny day as much as the next person even though we have little time to get out and enjoy the sunshine.  The point is that we’re regular people – exceptionally attractive, true enough.  We’re just normal folks, so there’s no need to treat us differently.  

Here are some examples of how you can suppress your natural desire to faun all over any grant writer you encounter:

  1. Flight attendants may smash our elbows with the beverage cart like you do to everyone else.
  2. Coffee house waitresses may splash coffee all over our reading materials.
  3. Maitre de House of Pancakes may seat us at the booth next to the hairy-shouldered, bare chested dude in overalls and his screaming, drippy-nosed kids.
  4. Grocery shoppers don’t need to take one side for us, just park that cart smack –kattywompus- dab in the middle and block the aisle.
  5. Car rental agents don’t need to fill the gas tank with gas for us before we pick up the car.  Truly, we’re perfectly OK with driving around strange cities looking for gas stations in the dark, our natural glow will light our way.
  6. Hotel desk attendants should not feel the need to hold a room with a view or near the elevators for us, we’re OK schlepping our bags half a mile across the parking lots at night to the room with a new zip code.  You know the one, it’s right under the room occupied by the visiting high school wrestling team next to one where a 21st birthday celebration is being held by a budding rapper.
  7. Post office workers don’t have to walk any faster for us, smile, act like they’re happy to see us, or offer us coffee and donuts on china with doilies.  Honestly, we can handle being treated like Siberian coal miners the same as everyone else in the Republic.

Grant Writers know we’re celebrities but we ask that our groupies and paparazzi play it cool and not clog the streets when we’re out (and will our stalkers please bring back our lawn gnomes?).

We don’t like to rub our grant writer status in anyone’s face.  We don’t need special treatment.  We like to blend in, fly under the radar, but we do look spectacular in flight.  So everyone please relax in our presence, as you were.

Related Posts:
The Joy of Grant Writing
Top Ten Reasons that Grant Writers are Sexy

Photo Credit: barunpatro

Nick Sorrento – Sexy Grant Writer: Chapter 4

Nick reached the bottom of the 3 story escalator and stepped smoothly off, bought a ticket, and passed through the hissing gate, strode quickly across the concourse and quickly down the stairs to the platform.  Red Line – Wheaton Train 3:00 Minutes – flashed the digital sign hanging over the leading area. He’d have to switch trains at Metro Center, catch the Blue Line to Franconia-Springfield.

Nick scanned the platform for danger – his old habits returning without effort, like muscle memory in a boxing match.  To his left and behind sat an old woman, green sweater, leaning heavily on a rolling  wire shopping basket. To his right a young couple flirting, college kids he calculated, both with ipod wires in their ears.

A middle-aged couple were descending the escalator trying to fold a tourist map and arguing about how to properly get it back into its original format.

No obvious threats, maybe the Russians had grabbed the wrong person and Nikita would be released by the time he got to Boris’ office.  Nick turned to look at the sign again, “Pentagon City Train – 2 minutes.”  Nick turned to scan the terminal again when he saw the black fedora starting to appear above the edge of the balcony of the concourse.  He instinctively backed up behind a thick column just behind him, circled behind it and peered out.  Trouble, the man was scanning the platform searching each person on it, looking for someone.Sexy Grant Writer Nick Sorrento hiding behind a column

Nick knew who the man was looking for, simple addition. 

Nikita wasn’t an accident, but she was just leverage, they wanted him. The man was satisfied that his target hadn’t arrived yet and he turned his back to the platform leaning against the railed of the balcony.  Nick slipped sideways to the next column and worked his way toward the far end of the platform nearest the back escalator that would take him up again and out of the Metro.  There was no way to get on a train with this guy watching, he’d have to grab a taxi.

A sudden whoosh of air and an electronic horn signaled the incoming train.  It slid to a smooth stop and the doors hissed open.  Nick was lucky, it was a crowded train, and a large crowd moved his way and he slid seamlessly into it as it passed his hiding place and Nick stepped onto the escalator.  Just before he rose up out of the platform, Nick stole a last look at the fedora and his eyes locked with the man.  He looked familiar and Nick thought he saw a quick flash of recognition in the man’s face. Suddenly the man was gone from view.  Nick turned and jogged up the left side of the escalator sure there would be another man above ground watching the entrances. Nick needed a plan, and he needed to think it up fast.

Previous Chapters:
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3 

Top Ten Reasons Grant Writers Are Sexy

sexy grant writersI tried to think like David Letterman (not Charlie Sheen) when I wrote these ten reasons grant writers are sexy but it was hard to do.  I think it’s because I’m a grant writer and it doesn’t come naturally to grant writers to parade our sexiness around like a peacock. I decided to write this dithering intro to loosen me up enough to write on the topic of “sexy” so here I go!

10. We’re humble about being sexy (except on this blog)

9. Our line spacing is never chemically-induced

 8. We know what abstract means

7.  We are never in passive tense

6.  We have huge staplers

5.  We can tickle your attachments

4.  We always finish last (page)

3. We know where your appendix is

2. We put the kinky in Kinkos

1. We can bring home the bacon, cook it, and make you a BLT

(Bonus reason – We have nimble fingers from writing so much)

Get the resources that will make you sexy!

Federal Grant Resources eBook
101 Tips for Aspiring Grant Writers


Related Posts:

The Joy of Grant Writing

End on the Last Page

The Joy of Grant Writing!

• Key scientific discoveries in the grant writing fields of grant psychology, grant writer physiology, and grant writer sexynessGrant writer research

Swiss researchers working at a University in Bern have announced new discoveries about grant writers. Sequestered in the Alps for the past 12 months with 24 grant writers, these intrepid scientists have been studying grant writer behavior and their report on what makes a grant writer tick is nothing short of stunning.

Dr. Vianna de Walbroia of Geneva studied the psychology of the grant writers by putting them through extensive daily testing. In this statement she summarizes her findings, “D’ere is a common psychosis among da group involving commas and 12 point fonts. Eeeet seems to be related to der over-deweloped sense of cramming far too much content into limited page restrictions. In vun experiment I offered to allow dem to write whatever de wanted and use as much paper as dey wanted, to a person, da group was so nervous dat they refused to begin writing until an approved RFP was issued for dee assignment. Dey just sat dere looking at me…it was unnerving to say da least. In da end, dey never wrote nothing so I jus put da paper away and led dem on a hike in da Alps wit a rousing Sound of Music Sing-a-long.”

Dr. Perreta de Chesaux studied the physiology of the group using a standard battery of medical and physical tests. He reports extraordinary abilities among the group in his report summarized here, “I can’t prove it genetically yet but I tink dat grant writers might be genetic mutations created by angry retired school teachers so dat grant writers reproduce school children who can sit still for more dan eight hours at a time and never say a ting. Dey also have dis peculiar increase in heart rate and blood pressure when dars any mention of jelly donuts or when ders any mention in the news of increased government entitlement spending diverted from de grant programs. I’m hoping dat one of dem will write me a grant to continue my research.”

Dr. Ruth de Chaseles was commissioned to study the attractiveness of grant writers which she passionately pursued using both hard and soft data. The doctor gives a brief overview of her results, “I measured da sexyness of dese grant writers wit da local population as a control group. My team measured da level of pheromones, physical traits such as facial construction and body type, and various personality tests too. Our comparisons between da groups did not show any remarkable differences in anyting vee could measure. But da subjective testing showed dat dere is a substantial difference in sexual attraction whenever a subject was exposed to one of da grant writers. It’s inexplicable to me, in my forty years of work I never saw nothing like dis since da beeeetles. Vee had to hire a security firm from Austria –cause vee don take sides – to keep da grant writers magnetism from corrupting da control group wit da hanky panky. And yes is true dat I’m getting married next week to one of da ones who writes da federal grant applications, hees idiomatic structures is magnificent.”

The team asserts that the study results will be useful in regulating grant writer behavior, improving grant writing training, and alerting the general population to the previously unknown animal magnetism of grant writers. The team even proposed a new genus to the scientific community named “homo grantwritericus.” Wikipedia has already adopted the new term and an authoritative definition by the team has been posted.

Related Posts:

Grant Writers are Sexy Beasts…

Photo Credit - Mattox

Grant Writing is like Having a Baby?

A confused man.The best thing about being a grant writer is getting the news that one of your proposals is funded. That’s a good moment. The second best moment is being paid for writing the grant. The rest of the job is just plain old-fashioned hard work.

Grant writing is hard to do well. It is a ton of writing, and rewriting, and editing, and formatting, and so on. It’s often a tedious process. It can also be frustrating when a narrative isn’t coming together the way you want it to. That raises the stress in a stressful process.

The final hours before a grant is due can be crazy too! Things around our office get tense on submission day. Everyone is very focused on those days and there’s always that atmosphere of grinding out the last details. Anyone who has ever written anything of importance knows that a narrative is never truly finished. Oh, it may be grammatically correct, the format may be just-so, and the language may be crisp; but, there’s always something that could be improved a little here and there. Those are the details that a professional writer cares about working with up until the very last moment.

So nearly every proposal is like having a baby. It’s a lot of hours of labor punctuated at the very end by a lot of hard pushing, sweating, and grunting. There are no epidurals and there are no C-sections for a grant, only the old fashioned way, there’s even Lamaze breathing over the copy machine.

OK, so maybe that’s a little too graphic to be sexy but giving birth to a grant is a lot of hard work. The big difference is that as the writer, there’s no more work after the grant is born. After the grant is delivered, your work is done and if it’s done well enough your baby will produce good things in the world for your client. But you never have to change a diaper.

Maybe I drifted way off topic here. Let’s try to tie this all together shall we? One of the best days of a person’s life is when their child is born. One of the best days of a grant writer’s job is when a grant gets funded. What leads up to each of those events is by turns pleasurable ( Person = ahem-ahem, and Grant Writer – getting paid) and lots of work ( Person – going through 9 months of pregnancy and labor, Grant Writer –writing the grant), but in the end something unique and wonderful is produced ( person – baby, and Grant Writer – successful proposal).

Wringing the life out of a metaphor – now that’s sexy.

Even Grant Writers can’t Tame the Tyrant of Time

Inner workings of a watch.It’s funny you know, the way we structure our lives by clocks. As a teacher long ago, I used to detest the bells. Well, except for the ones that sent all the kids home to their parents where they belonged. I disliked the opening bell and the recess bell and the lunch bell. My life was ruled by bells, it was annoying.

So I moved into administration and then a different kind of tyranny dominated my work life. It was the tyranny of ambition, the early arrivers and the late leavers. Ambitious and upwardly mobile as I wanted to be, I was in both groups. It was the tyranny of the outworking your co-workers by simply being there longer. Didn’t make you any better, didn’t make you more efficient or smarter. No, I was just there more.

On the other side of the coin were those who arrived on time and left on time every day, like clockwork, ahem. Now those folks weren’t better or worse than the early/laters but they did work less, just exactly what they were supposed to mind you, but less than those who desired to move up the ladder more fiercely.

Eventually I left the bureaucratic administration rat race – I thought – to run my own show as a freelance grant writer. I left employment proper and entered employment as a contractor. Now I was free – I thought. But then reality set in and there were times when the work was not exactly pouring in so I worked longer hours and all days to try to ensure that checks would continue to come in. There were other times when the work was pouring in and I was afraid it would stop so I took all contracts coming at me and spread myself too thin just in case I had nothing to do in the 4th quarter of the year.

Time became my tyrant again. I never had enough of it because there was money to be made and deadlines to meet. I became a sort of hunter-gatherer, collected all the nuts and berries in season. The trouble became that there was never a down season where you could just sit around and eat what you had gathered for a while.

I suppose that as long as man has been walking the earth, time has been an issue. Accepting this doesn’t really help anything does it? Oh well, I better set the alarm and get to sleep, the little red glowing tyrant beside my bed will screech at me before I even feel like I’ve closed my eyes.

Grant writers are slaves to the clock, now that’s sexy.

Grant Writing Fitness

Legs of a man walking.Grant writing is a mentally strenuous activity. The problem is that it’s also a physically sedentary activity. Except for the typing involved, trips to the coffee pot, trips to the pot, and feeding the animals (2 and 4-legged), there’s just not a lot of movement involved.

Here are some suggestions for staying healthier as a grant writer:

1) Schedule an hour a day to get out and exercise. It can be walking (my preference) or whatever you want. I heard a doctor on TV (may have been Dr. Oz, but not sure) one time tell a patient, “You have a choice. You can exercise for an hour a day, or you can be dead for 24 hours a day.” That seemed like an easy choice to me and I’ve been doing an hour almost every day ever since.
2) Don’t buy junk food for your grant writing snacks. Instead of cookies and junk food, buy nuts, healthy crackers, fruit. When I wanted to lose weight, I began to count calories and the amount of calories in small and savory snacks scared me! I was amazed and appalled at how many calories I had been consuming!
3) Buy a calorie book and a little notepad and count your calories for a month. Don’t alter your eating habits unless you want to but keep careful count to see how much you’re eating. You’ll probably be astounded at how many calories you’re eating.
4) Talk on the phone standing up. With cordless phones today you can get up, move around, or walk outside. You’re probably not working on the computer when you’re on the phone so get up and move.  You’re on the phone anyway, so why not multi-task and burn off a few calories at the same time?
5) Move to a new location when you’re reading drafts and revising by hand. It’s good to change position and location. I find I am less tired when I get up and change locations now and then.

Those are a few of the ways that I stay trimmer, healthier, and less fatigued when I am grant writing. Of course I still get the forearm cramps from typing for eight hours but that’s just part of the gig.
A healthy grant writer is sexy!

If Twitter is Social Media, Why isn’t it Social?

Picture of the wilson castaway volleyball.I’m using Twitter a lot these days and even though it is called a social media tool, I am finding it to be more of a ticker-tape of sales offers and news. It’s more like those scrolling, red-letter digital signs you see on buildings, especially outside of news studios; the ones that endlessly scroll through headlines. This one allows anyone with a need to sell you something you don’t want to post their offers, endlessly.

I hear a lot about Twitter popularity on the news and the internet but I honestly can’t say it’s a very useful tool for business so far. It does drive traffic to our web site. We notice a drop in visits on days when we fall behind on our company tweeting. Converting those visitors to customers is another story however.

The low conversion rate to sales could say more about how we’re presenting our services on the web than it does about Twitter itself, or it could be that everyone who’s on Twitter all day is there because they’re all unemployed and don’t have any money to spend. Our giveaways go like hotcakes which supports the theory that most people in Twitter have no money.

tuna fish in a can.One criticism of Twitter that isn’t well-deserved is that all the users do is tweet about their bowel movements or tuna fish sandwiches. While some of that kind of minutia is tweeted, I think it probably results in people being un-followed by other Twitter users. My guess is the negative reaction to mundane tweeting results in a self-moderating by users, or people never read anyone’s tweets and simply use Twitter to broadcast their own sales pitches.

I can’t find the key to unlocking the social part of Twitter. I’ve had one real conversation with someone in almost a year of using the service! It isn’t like I don’t try to be social. I respond to what people say sometimes and they almost never reply. When they do it is just to say “thanks” which is nice but is a conversation ender, not a starter.  I retweet interesting tweets and those people infrequently say thanks at all. I give “shouts out” to people I like to follow and they often ignore my efforts to engage them. I’m like Tom Hanks on the island in the movie Castaway talking to a virtual Twitter volleyball named Wilson. I feel like kicking Wilson out into the ocean. But then I’d probably go scrambling back after him anyway. My Twitter isolation is resulting in a kind of a post-twee-matic stress disorder I think.

I fear that it’s only me who can’t get gain traction within the social part of Twitter, my boss seems to be talking to people. Maybe I am just a deadly boring person who sucks at 140 character writing. Perhaps I am headline-challenged or maybe I am using the service all wrong.

Maybe the issue is that I am a grant writer and grant writing isn’t considered sexy  (How wrong-headed is that?)  Ellen seems to have lots of followers and all she does is say funny things under her blue eyes and dance over a coffee table every afternoon.

Since nobody is socializing with me, maybe I’ll head over to Ikea and buy a coffee table.

I Need an Electronic Garage Sale

I’ve got too much stuff. I say that now and then about my material things. I get tired of moving it around or dusting it and I give part of it away or sell it off. I foresee a looming problem though, too much electronic stuff.

Getting rid my extra unnecessaries around the house is easy. I grab a box or a bag and I fill it up and it either goes into the dumpster or to the trunk of the car for Goodwill. Easy as pie is what that is. But electronic junk isn’t as easy to deal with.

I currently have nearly 2,400 emails – read – in my in-box. I don’t know why they’re still there, I must have a reason, but it bugs me. I feel as though I should be dusting them, or sorting them, filing them, or discarding them. But the task is huge and each day it gets a little bigger as more emails come along.

I am afraid to look at my list of folders. Each folder has dozens of documents in it and many folders have more folders in them. The list of folders in my computer is too long to number and even if I could number it the number would only weigh on my mind.

Sorting electronic files is excruciatingly slow. It helps if everything is nicely sorted and filed by a recognizable name, but that doesn’t always happen for some reason and I end up with a long list of unfiled files sitting there rudely under the folder list.

If I held a garage sale of my material stuff tomorrow, someone would likely buy a glitter-covered pine cone that I made in the fifth grade. I can’t hold an electronic garage sale though, because nobody will buy a 100 page grant narrative even one that earned a client 10 million dollars.

Sometimes I wish a hacker would hack in and steal my electronic files all away. Sometimes I wish a friend’s 2 year old would come by and reduce my hard drive to electronic devastation with a well-tipped sippy cup. There are, after all, a number of fortunate circumstances that could ease my digital angst.

I feel like one of those people who have filled their garage with stuff and who now have one, maybe two, storage units full of the overflow. My electronic car is parked in the driveway as it were. I guess I will have to break down one day soon to clean out the digital detritus of my life before it becomes archeologically significant.

A clean hard drive, now that’s sexy.

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!

Postmarked by the Universe

Red eyed and bleary after a late night and early morning before a 5PM deadline, I rushed out the door of my office about 4:53 PM to the post office with both grants completed. I didn’t even stop to put the stack of envelopes down to lock the office door somewhere secretly hoping that I’d be burglarized and have to start a new career outside grant writing – tomorrow – after a good night’s sleep. These grants had to be postmarked by 5PM and the post office was about two blocks from my office but I still jumped in the car tossing the envelopes into the front seat.

Cross traffic at the end of my block was heavy of course, it was rush hour. So I sat there cursing my luck, cursing my greed at taking on two grants instead of one, cursing my copy machine that jammed over and over again as I was printing the final copies, cursing the pagination error in one grant which I found as I did a final perusal that forced me to re-print the entire correct document. There was a lot of cursing going on, I was in a state of panic.

A gap appeared in traffic and I drove my foot to the floor lurching my car into the gap to the bewilderment of the now equally distressed driver; oh well, they couldn’t possibly match my dire straits: it was now 4:56 and the post office is prompt about one thing and that’s locking their doors at 5PM.

Traffic crawled the block to the post office and I scraped my front end zipping into the parking lot through the deep gutter. I parked, I grabbed my envelopes, and I raced to the door where a worker was posted with keys in hand admitting the final patrons of the day before locking us in and the tardy public out.

Standing there in line sweating with my bundles of envelopes I knew I’d made it to the finish line and my clients’ grants would be submitted as contracted for. I’d narrowly escaped the Sword of Damocles and the universe had given me the smallest crack to squeeze through and I’d gotten through!

Post Script – Both grants were successfully funded and all was right with the world, my application to a trade school for window washers was rejected for lack of prerequisites and I was forced to continue my career in grant writing. I did sell that photo copy machine to an attorney who dropped in while loading it into his pickup truck, the universe is so good to me.

Now that’s sexy!

Pulling an All-Nighter

It’s 1 AM and I’m halfway through my second draft. I drank two pots of coffee since 10 PM, scarfed down some junk food, and now I walk out to the porch and cold air just trying to keep my eyes open. My five o’clock shadow is rapidly turning into a 2 AM shadow and it’s so rough that it’s starting to pull out fibers on my collar.A grant writer asleep on a bench.

The neighborhood is peaceful. An owl hoots from a tree and an airplane blinks past overhead with a distant drone but there’s no traffic on the street. The porch light draws some moths the flutter about and my breath is visible in the early morning air.

I have a lot of editing to do on this narrative before I can move on to the budget, budget narrative, forms, and final formatting, all waiting to be finished before the 5 PM deadline I’m facing. I remember a time when I could give some of this work to someone else so I didn’t have to shoulder the whole load myself.  But these days I work alone out of my house.

Once I had a fantasy of the romantic life of a writer. But shivering here in my shorts and T-shirt, flip-flops on my feet, in the wee hours of the night, the reality of working alone for yourself is not nearly as glamorous as I had once imagined.

Fully awake I turn my back on the peaceful neighbors slumbering and head back to my office.  The house is in need of cleaning, it’s cluttered with discarded drafts and post-its lay crumpled around the waste basket.

Now that’s sexy.