Thursday, March 5, 2015

Improving Your Success Ratio By Seeding In the Funder's Buzz Words

One of the most effective techniques I use when writing a grant proposal is to feedback to the funder the sort of buzzwords they feel comfortable using in their own application materials and website. 

Visit to OC-FAS Studios in Anaheim, CA
Visit to OC-FAS Studios in Anaheim, CA
In my experience, each funder tends to find itself circling around a steady and consistent set of five to ten buzzwords which illustrate their fundamental take on humanity and what they perceive to be in the best interests of the community. Although I usually disagree with their perspective - I'm trained as a political scientist, after all - I have nevertheless found it profitable to identify these buzzwords and carefully and appropriately seed them into my document.

I think this technique works, in part, because it is a way of showing off how the charity will be compliant and easy to deal with after we have won a check from the funder. The funder, of course, understands that we are mirroring their buzzwords. Nevertheless, they seem to appreciate this extra effort and this expression of solidarity with their take on the world.

After all, a short grant application is not really a great venue for totally transforming the hard-wired assumptions and prejudices of a funder. Instead, it is a strong opportunity to show that the folks receiving the grant will not be rocking the boat to any significant extent.

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