How to “Get Lucky” as a Grantwriter, Part 3

How to “Get Lucky” as a Grantwriter, Part 3

The first two segments of this series have been getting a lot of likes and even generating some controversy.  See what you think about this installment—respond!

This third way to get lucky seems very simple.  I think, however, that it has a lot more to do with success than a quick glance might see.

Before presenting the idea, let’s read something from Mark Twain:
“The secret to getting ahead is getting started.”

Here’s my advice on how to get lucky as a grantwriter:  “Start as soon as you can.”

Easy, right? But there are a number of levels to consider.  This looks at just three.

First, you’ve got to “start as soon as you can” to know what requests are going to be released.
This means you can’t just be logging on to or your favorite foundation site every day.  Starting as soon as you can means you look into the history of the organization whose funds you’d like to tap into.

Most federal grants, for example, are released about the same time every year (not always, but often).  This means “starting as soon as you can” is actually two or three years ago.  Find one you’re interested in now and see if it was released in substantially the same form earlier.

Foundation grants also are often released in the same time periods each year.  Get to know their schedule.

Second, “starting as soon as you can” means getting to know the people with whom you’ll be writing the grant.  Even if you’ll do the vast bulk of the work on your own, you’ll need to put together a team of people who know the agency or organization in ways that you don’t.  It is much easier to work with people who you know at least a bit rather than waiting until the last moment to jump into a deadline-imminent pressure cooker and have to work with strangers.

Third, “starting as soon as you can” is also about your own work patterns.  I’m not saying that you’ve got to be an “early to rise” sort of person, but you need to find a pattern that works for you.  Maybe as soon as you can for you is midnight—or maybe it’s six in the morning.  Take care of yourself while getting the job done.

If you do all three of these approaches to “starting as soon as you can” then you’re going to be putting luck on your side.

If you’d like to keep up with thoughts about grantwriting, go to and read what else is there.

While you’re there, sign up for a free report “How to Get More Money for Your Nonprofit:  10 Million-Dollar Lessons from Master Grantwriters”.  If you use just one of these ideas to get a few more points on your next submission, that may be the difference between receiving another rejection letter and receiving millions of dollars to support your worthy cause.