Star Wars and Grantwriting: “Never Tell Me the Odds”

What Star Wars can Teach Grantwriters


“Never tell me the odds.” Han Solo.

You can talk yourself out of even trying if you’re not careful.

When Han Solo is escaping capture by the Empire, he pilots his ship, the Millennium Falcon, towards an asteroid field. C3-PO tells him his odds of success are 3,721 to 1—in other words, near certainty that he will get them all killed. Han’s response is to tell the droid “Never tell me the odds.”

Some grantwriters want to know the odds (at least in general terms) and will only go after those requests for proposals that they feel they have a better than even shot at. “After all,” they reason, “there’s limited time and I need to focus where my chances of success are greatest.” This is the prudent course of action that allows them to select a few proposals to write and increases their “win” rate.

Other grantwriters are more like Han Solo. They have faith in their skills and their craft (the craft of writing grants, in this case). They don’t care if there will be only a few proposals funded. They are sure (based on experience and their gut) that they will beat the odds. This sort of self-confidence (some would say brashness) encourages them to go for long shot grant proposal. Sometimes they succeed, and sometimes they don’t.

What is your approach to this type of situation?

No matter how you decide, you’ll want to stay tuned for an important announcement about a new online grantwriting course coming soon to your galaxy!

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