4 Mistakes You May Be Making in Your Grants BEFORE You Write a Word

These are costing your organization!

4 Mistakes GWs Make Before Writing

Grantwriters can lose funding for scads of reasons–but here are 4 completely avoidable ones you may be making before you even begin to write a single word.

  • Assuming your organization can “handle” winning a grant
  • Searching for funding in an unsystematic way
  • Sending proposals to funders who aren’t likely to be interested in your ideas
  • Jumping into writing the proposal before repeatedly reading the entire RFP

Learn how to avoid these mistakes (and much more) by enrolling in the online grantwriting course based on the #1 bestselling book, Funded! Successful Grantwriting for Your Nonprofit.  Check out it by clicking here.


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 grants.gov 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 www.richardhoefer.com 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

If I Were Starting My Grantwriting Career Over…?

Here's what I would do differently!

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Do you ever get asked “If you were starting over, what would you do differently in your career?”

As a professor teaching grantwriting, my students ask me this question every semester.  This is what I say.

“Get training!”

You may know my story—I was an intern. On my first day, a Monday, I was given an envelope full of material.  My supervisor told me that there was information on a request for proposals in that envelope.  AND that the proposal had to be ready to be overnight mailed by noon on Thursday!

Since I had no idea what to do, having never taken a class on writing grants, I panicked and asked who was going to guide me.  “No one.  It’s up to you!  So, you better get started!”

You can bet that I wished I had some training, any training, at that point.

My experiences of “trial-by-fire” and “brutal reviews” eventually led me to becoming good at writing grants.  In fact, by the time my internship was over, we’d received hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants, and I was hired as full time grantwriter for that organization.  Before I moved on, half a year later,I’d raised over a million dollars, which wasn’t too shabby for a self-taught 24-year old!

Because of my experience, I vowed that, someday, I’d create a better way for new grantwriters to learn the skills.

And I’ve accomplished my vow:  Oxford University Press has just released my new book, Funded! Successful Grantwriting for Your Nonprofit, which is available from them directly or from Amazon.com.

In addition, I’ve taken all the information that I teach in a graduate level course on grantwriting, and put it in an online course that anyone can take.  You can learn more about it by going to the link in the comments below.

Get training!  That’s how I would change the start of my grantwriting career—thorough, comprehensive, and detailed training.  And that’s how YOU should start off your grantwriting career!


What’s YOUR Grantwriting Origin Story?

(and how could you improve your skills now?)

Funded Number 1 in Technical New Releases_LI

What’s YOUR grantwriting origins story?  How did you decide to become a grant writer?

For some people, becoming a grantwriter was something thrust upon them—their employer needed a grant written, and they were asked to help out, or really just given the task.  They are often ill-prepared and anxious.  Once they’ve written one grant, more are sent their way.  These are the people who desperately need training.  Far too often, though, that training is an afternoon in a dreary hotel conference room where the most elementary items are mentioned, but people are pretty much left on their own afterwards.

For others, though, like my former student Elizabeth, beoming a grantwriter is a well-thought-out and conscious goal.  She worked hard in class, learned a great deal, and then applied for grantwriting jobs in nonprofits.  When she was hired, it was the culmination of a long-held career plan.  These people are generally well-trained and excited to do this type of work, knowing how important it is.  This group of experienced writers usually feel like they are good enough and don’t need additional training, which is most likely true:  they know the basics and have figured out some of the advanced items through trial and error.  What this group of people could use, though, is someone to look over their work, NOW and THEN, to bounce ideas off of, and to get a fresh pair of eyes on their proposals before they’re turned in.

I’ve got a new online training course based on my newly released book, Funded!  Successful Grantwriting for Your Nonprofit.  You can work through the material in the comfort of your home or office, at your own speed.  It takes you from assessing your strengths and areas where improvement would be helpful, to finding funders, all the way to submitting the proposal.

Check out everything that’s included in the course by clicking here

You can contact me directly to talk about the benefits of one-on-one coaching and mentoring by emailing richard@richardhoefer.com