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Three Ways To Improve Your Persuasion Skills

Monday, June 20th, 2011

If you’re a grantwriter it stands to reason that you’ll need to sharpen your communication skills. You’ll be called upon to write clear, accurate, error-free proposals. But there’s one other communication skill that isn’t frequently mentioned in job descriptions. The skill of persuasion.

Who's Lives Will You Change With This Project?

Persuasion is the ability to influence, to win over, and perhaps change somebody’s mind.  In the world of grantwriting, you may see how this capability would come in handy. You want the grantor who is reading dozens of proposals from other organizations to be affected by your proposal and your cause. Ultimately you hope to sway them to say yes.

But how do you persuade others?

1.    You convince them that the project serves a pressing need in the community.

Identify specifically what the need is, whom you’ll serve, and how you’ll fill the need. Remember to tie this to your mission.

2.    You ensure them that trusting your organization is a good investment.

Tell them about your track record of implementing your mission to serve the community. Briefly highlight your history in the community, notable partnerships, and any other facet that lets them know you’re a responsibly managed organization with strong community support.

3.    You urge them to action.

Give a compelling case of why this can’t wait. What are the consequences or who will be impacted if you don’t gain their support? Tell them what you need from them to put the project into place. Give them a visual.

Ethics and Grantwriting

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Ethics includes a person or organization’s moral principles, values, and philosophy.  As a fundraiser and grantwriter, it is imperative to conduct oneself in a professional and ethical manner.  Consider the following:

1. You represent your organization.

2. You represent your organization’s organizational values.

3. You affect your organization’s image and reputation.

4. Your practices and your behavior affect your organization’s ability to raise funds.

Practice the profession with integrity.

At all times you must strive to demonstrate professional and ethical practices.

For grantwriters that means you should practice accountability in the way you present your organization in your grant proposals. Ensure that you inform potential grantors with accurate information, a truthful history, real accomplishments, and correct budgets, etc.

Do not exaggerate. Do not mislead. Do not lie.

Do not cover up information that would make a funder turn you down.

You also need to demonstrate sound accounting principles and practices.

Manage the gift acceptance process. (A gift acceptance policy or guidelines can define the steps your organization follows to receive and record grants and contributions).

Inform donors about the use of their funds. (Some funders will ask how their funds were used; some grantors require a written report after the funded project has ended). Some might not ask at all, but you should certainly let them know the results of the project.

Practice accountability by adhering to donor intentions.

You can only spend grant funds in the manner allowed by the approved grant proposal; or the instructions that came with the check; or, if you want to change any elements of the funded project, by approval of the grantor. (It’s important that everyone involved is on the same page regarding how the funds will be spent—BEFORE you submit the grant application)!

Guerilla Grantwriting Tactics

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Are you fed up with grant request rejections? Are you at a loss how to improve your chances of winning grant funding? Are you ready to throw in the towel? Don’t give up! You’ve come to the right place. The Grant Whisperer will reveal secrets for grantwriting success. So if you’re ready to kick-butt, take names, and smell victory, then it’s time to get busy.

Kids in School

Pull out your most recent rejected proposal and let’s take a look at it. We won’t talk about the visual appeal of it today. I’m more concerned about the content. Did you write with confidence, with clarity, and with specifics? Did your writing seize the reader? When a grant writer drones on, and beats around the bush, and makes vague statements, it’s difficult for a grantor to see the impact they’ll make by funding your proposal. Look again at your paragraphs of description and see if there are opportunities to specifically show the grantor how you’ll make a huge impact with their grant support. Articulate your passion for what you do. These are what grantors need to see.

For more on this topic, I dedicated two episodes of my BlogTalkRadio show to Guerilla Grantwriting Part I and Guerilla Grantwriting Part II. They are available to listen to at any time.