Star Wars and Grantwriting: “Stay on target!”

What Star Wars Can Teach Grantwriters

Stay on Target

Stay on target!” Gold Five (Rebellion pilot) to other pilots attacking the Death Star

Plans and goals are needed to move towards success.

It is vital to have an overall game plan and a way to stay on target until the proposal is submitted.

The leaders of the Rebellion analyzed the smallest details of the Death Star’s plans to find an unlikely, but possible way, to attack and destroy the Empire’s monstrous weapon. Once the plan was developed, the fighter pilots of the Rebellion had to train for and then execute the plan.

In order to work, the pilots had to know the plan but also not be distracted by small details of their environment, such as anti-space craft weapons and enemy fighters trying to kill them. Many Rebels died to give Luke the chance to take his shot. In the end, of course, Luke “stayed on target” and destroyed the Death Star.

There are some interesting parallels with writing grants.

Because of the complexity of writing most grant proposals, it is vital to set forth a game plan, including due dates for aspects of the project. This ensures timely completion.
Once the plan is in place, it’s still easy to get caught up on anything other than the grant that’s due soon. We all have so many duties, or tasks that aren’t actually writing. Research, editing, meetings can be tough to “stay on target.” Even when we are actually writing, proposals get to be long and we can lose track of what we’re writing about! Different ideas get introduced at different times by different stakeholders. When we re-read our drafts, there can be all sorts of dead ends, unrelated paragraphs, and even required sections left out of the proposal.

Checking back with the RFP to determine the exact things that are being asked for is another necessary way to stay on target. RFPs are complicated documents, with vital information often scattered in different sections. Master grantwriters understand that each RFP they respond to needs to be read in detail, more than once. While they don’t actually “memorize” the RFP, it can be very useful to review each section frequently.

Just as the Rebellion pilots learned the details of the Death Star they were attacking, and trained how to approach their mission in order to have a chance of success, grantwriters need to look at their RFP in the same way. How can you be successful if you don’t know the details of the project, and the target you are working towards?

It’s hard to find affordable and excellent training that helps newcomers to the field as well as experienced grantwriters. If you want to learn more about how to find foundation and government funders, nail a needs statement, locate evidence-based program ideas, and get the latest information on all the other aspects of writing grants, you’ll want to be on the lookout for an announcement of a powerful online grantwriting course called “Funded! Successful Grantwriting for Your Nonprofit.” It’s coming soon to a galaxy near you!

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