How to be an Early Bird, a Time Traveler, and a Better Grantwriter

"The secret to getting ahead is getting started." Mark Twain

When I was a kid, I was very, VERY literal.  I decided that if the early bird got the worm, I had no desire to be THAT bird!

But now I know better and can apply this lesson to something as far afield as grantwriting.

This is Dr. Richard Hoefer, author of the #1 book, Funded!  Successful Grantwriting for Your Nonprofit.  Today’s video shows you how you can burst through the time dimension to write more successful grants.

The idea for this post is simple but  I think it has a lot more to do with success than a quick glance might suggest.

Before presenting the idea, let’s hear a quote from Mark Twain:

The secret to getting ahead is getting started.”

So, here’s my advice on how to be successful as a grantwriter:  “Start as soon as you can.”

Easy, right? But there are a number of levels to consider. I’ll discuss one that I bet you haven’t considered yet.

You’ve got to “start as soon as you can” to know what requests for proposals 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.

Federal grants, for example, are often 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.

If you’re able to see that a request for proposals is released about the same time every year, and that the types of proposals being requested are substantially similar, and that the agency or foundation has not announced a change in priorities in the past year, you’re very far ahead of the game.

In fact, you’ve become a time traveler, an early bird and a futurist all at the same time.  You’ve gone into the past in order to know what the future holds.

“Starting as soon as you can” means you go back in time to see the future.

If you find this idea intriguing, be sure to read what’s on frequently.  And be sure to share this with your nonprofit colleagues–that is, unless you want to keep this all to yourself!

Dr. Richard Hoefer, Author #1 Bestseller, Funded!  Successful Grantwriting for Your Nonprofit

Learning From Grantwriters

You need more than skill!

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While all grantwriters need to have skills related to writing, researching, conceptalizing, budgeting, and so much more, these are things that can be taught.

Go to any grantwriting workshop, and that’s what you’ll get.  The trouble is, if all you have are skills to write grants, I doubt you’ll ever reach the top ranks of the profession.

Yeah, sure, you may write a few successful grants on sheer technical merit–and more power to you!  But what you’ll be lacking are the elements that will keep you in the job,  improving month after month, grant proposal after grant proposal.

Click on the image above to hear my thoughts about what you MUST come to the job with if you are ever going to become more than a passable proposal writer.