On Grant Writing

Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

Writing grants is one of those things that we (or at least some of us) in the worlds of higher education and non-profits do a lot. There are obvious benefits to being good at grant writing, which might help you to fund your research, an initiative in your department, of your very salary, depending on where you’re working.

And yet, even though grant writing is important, I don’t recall getting a whole lot of formal training in it as part of my journey through graduate school. I did get some good advice from my dissertation adviser—that I should mirror key language from the call for proposals in my application—that I still use to this day. But what about putting together the proposal itself? What are the key components that make up a good grant narrative?

For that, I’ve been using the same resource for the past ten years: Karen Kelsky’s Foolproof Grant Template. I’ve gone back to it more times than I can count, and I’ve had a fair amount of success in winning grants (if I do say so myself) as a result. One of the things that I like about it is that it gives you a framework for writing your grant narrative as a narrative, i.e., as a story. To me, that’s much more compelling than the dry or disorganized proposals that people often put together.

Which is to say: although I have been rejected for plenty of grants over the last ten years, I’ve also won quite a few. I think the Foolproof Grant Template has worked well for me, and I hope it works well for you, too.

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