What’s the Lesson for Grantwriters from the World Series?

Recruit, train, nurture, coach


I’m not really a baseball fan—BUT it strikes me that you can have a ball looking for lessons for grantwriters in this latest World Series results.  Keep reading!

Just in case you missed it, the Chicago Cubs (who haven’t won a World Series title in over 100 years) were playing against the Cleveland team (the team that shall not be named) who had a very long dry spell as well.

Cleveland was up 3 games to 1 in the best of 7 series; almost everyone thought they’d easily get one more win!  Almost everyone thought Chicago would not get the 3 more wins needed to avoid elimination—I mean, it very rarely occurs for a team to come back from a deficit of that size.  But, the Cubs won two games to tie the Series at 3-3.

Which brings us to last night’s final game.  Somebody was going to win.

Grantwriters and Executive Directors—are you still with me?

Have you ever had a grant proposal losing streak?

I mean, not just one that didn’t get funded, but a losing streak that dragged on.  And on…

A streak so long you began to doubt yourself and your skills?  A streak so long that your organization’s board was getting very nervous?  A streak so long that shutting down was looking like a necessary option?

How did you deal with it?

Last night, the Cubs were ahead and then they weren’t.  Then came the rain.

Grantwriters come to a deadline and the printer stops working, the internet goes out, the key person needed to create some documents falls ill.  Grantwriters also get tired, lose their enthusiasm, get burned out, stop being creative.  Some don’t even keep up with new trends.

How do you deal with those things?

The Cleveland team was very good.  They wanted to win the Series and they wanted to win it very much.  They worked hard and came very close.

The Chicago team was also very good.  They also wanted to win the Series very much.  They worked hard and finally overcame all the obstacles.

Still, the results were not inevitable.

Either team could have won.  Both teams began preparing for this Series YEARS ago, not just weeks or months ago.  They didn’t attend a one-day “how to win the World Series” workshop put on by some random organization and then try their luck.

Here’s the most important lesson of the World Series for grantwriters.


Every player on both teams needed someone to help them achieve their potential.  Every player had to work hard, do the grunt work, put out full effort, even on their worst days.  Even when they were injured and sick and discouraged.

Major league players don’t start that way.  They are carefully observed, recruited, and gradually exposed to opponents and opportunities to develop.  Most players who begin the process don’t make it.  Only a few are called up to the “Big League”.  And not all of them last long.

Every player is carefully nurtured, even the very best.  The people who have the best skills can get better.  And they do when they have someone who works with them one-on-one and develop their skills with them.  The player is on the field and has to deliver, but the coach is watching, giving suggestions, and sweating right there in the dugout, too.

How does that compare to YOUR career?  What is YOUR organization doing to nurture the grantwriter you’re depending on for survival?

Do you (or your grantwriter) have someone to turn to for advice?  Someone who, although he’s not writing the grant, is invested in its success?  When was the last time you had an objective eye read over your work or help you think through your ideas BEFORE they were submitted?

In case you’re wondering, yes, I’m going to suggest you work with me for grantwriting coaching.  But I can’t help everyone—there’s not enough time and frankly, different people work well with different people.  I may not be your cup of tea, and you may not be mine.

Here’s what one student in my current class wrote to her colleagues a few days ago:  “After receiving feedback from Dr. Hoefer we were able to change our focus and expand further and deeper into what the grant proposal is asking. “

Another student wrote:  “I believe our team handled the group project very well and utilized every resource available to make this proposal as real/functional as possible. Good Job Team!!!…and Thanks Dr. Hoefer!!! for teaching/guiding us along the way.”

It seems to me that if you want to play in the Major Leagues of grantwriting and getting money for your organization, follow the lead of the Chicago and Cleveland teams—get people with potential, make sure they have the basics, and then coach them to success.

Want to learn more about me?  Visit my website, www.richardhoefer.com . While you’re there, sign up to receive a copy of 10 Lessons from Master Grantwriters as my gift to you.

If you want to reach me, write me at Richard@richardhoefer.com.  I’ll send you a link to an appointment calendar where you can sign up for a confidential consultation and coaching session.  I only have a few slots per week so don’t delay in getting your career off to the big leagues.