Grant proposals and collaborative writing

A really great book for writing grants is How to say it: Grantwriting by Deborah S. Koch. I helped write three proposals for my former employer. Using that book helped blow them out of the water. It really takes you from the first page to the last, and reviews what to expect and what you need to do. (Another reference for writing grants that I acquired since then is Pursuasive Business Proposals by Tom Sant.)

More advice for grantwriting or any collaborative writing:

  • As Technical Writer (read: Technical Communicator), maintain communication with all of the contributing members of your project. Facilitating this communication will help all members and keep you central in the loop. As you will probably be one of the primary writers of the proposal in question, this communication is essential.
  • Be clear about what’s necessary for the writing process. Others in your group may not be familiar with the writing process, but without somebody directing, nobody will know what’s necessary. You’re a writer; fill the role.
  • At one point, negotiating control within a project came to question: How could one organization maintain its say in the proposal writing process? My answer: (1) full diclosure partnered with (2) anticipating solutions.

Full disclosure of drafts and other information associated with the project (except for confidential portions, such as a budget) will keep everyone involved, current, and engaged in the process. Make sure you update everybody with every version. They will appreciate your thoughtfulness, and you will keep the ball rolling steady.

When you anticipate solutions, you organize your thoughts for an outcome you want. When you know what you want, paired with collaborative effort kept current across the board, everyone stays on the same page. There are no stragglers, nor can an incident in which somebody wants the “upper hand” develop because everyone already has the upper hand.

So, just take this a step further. When you let the collaborating partner know what’s going on, and there should be an action taken, offer your solution first. Basically, you’ve already done the hard part in finding a solution, and the reciprocating party only needs to meet you halfway. Therefore, decisions are win-win for both.


About jlnp
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