Federal government agencies, foundations, and corporations are rejected for grant proposals that:
- They are off topic;
- It has been tested elsewhere;
- Give a negative tone;
- It comes from the perspective of an applicant, not a customer;
- They lack adequate infrastructure;
- Include many unsupported assumptions; and
- Look for quick fixes.
In this article, you’ll learn the 4 of 7 mistake to avoid when approaching funders: Being too agency-focused. Not coming from a customer-centric perspective could lead to rejection. The solution is here too, so you don’t make this mistake in the future.
Funders frequently ask, “Is this proposed project more concerned with the needs of the applicant or the needs of the client?”
An experienced grant writer admitted in one of my classes: “Nobody really cares what you want or need. My mother taught me that a long time ago. Once you realize that, you can go beyond yourself. and see the world through the funder’s’ value lens’ and what needs they want addressed. Write your proposal to address funders’ interests, needs and values. “
Potential donors reject written proposals from the perspective of the requesting agency’s needs. This does not mean that you should ignore the needs of your agency or yours. However, it does mean that you need to figure out how to write your proposal from the perspective of your clients rather than that of your agency.
Let’s look at an example. Asking for computers because your school has old computers or “needs them” comes from your agency’s perspective. Avoid doing this. Instead, think outside the box. Ask yourself, “How could my students benefit from having new computers?”
Yes, you can get creative here! Show how new computers will lead to increasing student test scores or improving reading levels more quickly. Show how having newer and faster computers will allow students to do research faster, a skill valued by companies that employ graduates. Get creative and find a way to show that these newer, faster computers will increase productivity by x%. Sponsors will love it.
Even if you “need” funding for your personal or organizational use, refrain from ordering from there. Instead, focus your writing positively on the needs of your clients and how your clients will “benefit” from the improved services your agency will be able to provide as a result of receiving this grant.