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5 Pitfalls of Grant Writing

Writing a good grant proposal is not exactly rocket science, but there are certain rules and conventions that need to be followed for a proposal to be truly effective.

Too often, individuals writing grant proposals tend to underestimate the task and end up with a product that contains inaccurate, incomplete and inconsistent information. The secret to writing an effective grant proposal lies in knowing what the common pitfalls are and how to avoid them.

Here are the 5 pitfalls of grant writing that every good writer should learn to avoid:

Assuming the grant reviewer is an expert:

Grant writers often tend to assume that the reviewer will be an expert. Consequently they tend to fill their proposals with technical jargon, obscure acronyms and highly-specialized information that often only serve to confuse rather than clarify what exactly the proposal is about. While it’s important for a grant proposal to have an authoritative tone, it’s vital to keep the language simple, concise and free from buzzwords as much as possible.

Not following instructions:

Grant writers can sometimes be so carried away by their own eloquence and subject-matter knowledge that they tend to completely blow off instructions. Almost all grant proposals are required to adhere to specific rules and conventions. Ignoring these instructions is a sure-fire way of ensuring that a grant proposal ends up being rejected before it is read, even if it is a masterpiece in all other respects.

Not defining objectives clearly:

One of the top reasons why grant proposals get rejected is because of poorly defined project objectives. Grant proposals need to have measurable objectives in order for them to be funded. A good proposal will clearly explain what the project objectives are and it will provide a plan for meeting that objective. A good proposal also will contain details on project needs and requirements and provide accurate information on the budget and the time required to complete the project.

Making spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors:

Grant writers often are in such a rush to get their proposals in on time that they make the cardinal mistake of not proofreading their work. That oversight can result in proposals losing all credibility because they are so full of grammatical, spelling and other errors. Another common mistake is not editing the document so that it ends up containing redundant or even inconsistent information.

Inaccurate and false information:

Sometimes, grant writers in their anxiety to make a convincing case for their proposals end up padding it with inaccurate or poorly researched data. Such proposals will have little to no credibility with reviewers and are guaranteed to be rejected.