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Grant Writing is Dead
Yes, really. It’s an old notion that’s run its course and that was never right in the first place. Time moves on, and in the best of circumstances people wise up. There’s a movement stirring, a new wind blowing. It’s a revolution that calls out to each and every person working in the field of grants, pushing them to wake up or to speak up, and to contribute their energy to move the work forward in the right direction.
A grant is actually the funding awarded to an organization by a grantmaker. Grantmakers award (write) grants. Organizations seeking grant funding don’t write grants, they write funding proposals, grant proposals, requests for funding, and the like.
The notion of a funding request being a proposal is critical. It’s not just a matter of semantics. Consistently and conscientiously referring to funding requests as proposals begins changing how you view the whole process. If you’re one of the thousands of people addicted to the term “grant writing” or “grant writer”, just give this a try. Enforce a self-imposed moratorium on those terms for one or two months and then reflect on the whole question and how you feel about it.
A funding proposal is a request for partnership. At its best, it’s a logical, compelling invitation to participate in meaningful, important work that is expected to result in specific, positive change.
A funding request is a specific type of advocacy. The organization developing the grant proposal is taking a high-profile stand on an issue and waving a certain kind of flag to rally the energy and assistance needed to do the right thing.
A funding request is an argument for change. It describes the problem that should be addressed, or the opportunity that should be seized, explains the urgency, lays out a plan of action to produce change, and asks the funder to get on board the train.
People who “write grants” stare at computer screens and click-clack away to produce documents meant to bring in the money. People who write proposals do the research, rally the troops, make a plan, get the facts, line up the players, and produce funding proposals meant to accomplish something important.
Yeah, grant writing is dead. Unfortunately, it’s currently the walking dead. Let’s put it out of its misery.
— Barbara Floersch, Executive Director, The Grantsmanship Center
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