My kids hate leftovers. They always whine and complain if we have the same meal two days in a row. I can understand that the second day food isn’t as fresh or appetizing, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still good. The same can be said for the words we write. As proposal writers and grant professionals, we work tirelessly on crafting language that is specific to each funder and offers information that accurately and vividly describes an organization’s mission and impact. I have been working with some clients for several years, and I have to admit that sometimes I get tired of seeing my own writing again and again. What can we do to move past this leftover language?

  1. Annual refresh – think about new initiatives, accomplishments, and priorities that enhance the existing work that is currently taking place. Can your strategic plan serve as a guide?
  2. Research – are there evidence-based approaches that showcase the validity and value of the work you are doing? How can this be woven into your proposals?
  3. Knowledge – perhaps you need to take a course, read or book or find some materials online that shape the way you actually write proposals. Perhaps you can write like a storyteller, use the budget to guide your narrative or provide more statistics.
  4. Outside Perspective – it doesn’t hurt to have another colleague review and critique your work as well. I know that writers can get territorial, but this could be a value add and provide some insight into your areas of strength and weakness.
  5. Step Away – sometimes I spend a day writing and being absorbed in the narrative. I think it’s perfect and then I come back the next day and find multiple errors or sentences I want to change. A day away can also help you find clarity and focus again.

What will you do to turn proposal leftovers into a gourmet meal that even my kids will love?

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