Knocking the ball out of the park is a thrill when you’re playing baseball. The most important part of the game is scoring, right? I know, some may say it’s about having a good time. Sure! Tell that to the little league team that loses 10/0, or the parent who has to comfort the little guy on the way home.
We want our kids to understand sometimes you lose in life. But if they practice, prepare and persevere, they can knock the ball out of the park.
The team that wins is the one who takes the time to know about the other team. How they play the game, who their best players are, what little quirks they may have. They are prepared to go the distance.
Okay, you are probably wondering how this baseball analogy applies to grant writing. Let me explain.
In grant writing, it’s also about the score. The grants with the highest scores will win the award.
Funders have a certain amount of money they are willing to give to nonprofit organizations. When you submit a grant, it is reviewed and scored by a “Reader.” These are individuals with expertise in the field.
When writing your grant keep this important rule in mind – write to the reader. Know who you are writing to and say what they want to hear. Use persuasive language which appeals to them. As you read the request for proposal, look for keywords or buzzwords that give you an idea of what they will be looking for as they review your grant package.
So, how do you score points for your proposal? Grants are competitive. Every point is critical. Each section of your proposal is scored based on how well it address the topics in the request for proposal (RFP).
The proposal “Reader” is the umpire who makes sure you touch all the bases on the way to home plate. They are the ones waiting to call “safe” or “you’re out.”
In grant terms, the readers use a Proposal Readers’ Evaluation Tool or Proposal Readers’ Rubric. Most RFPs include this tool that tells you exactly what you have to include in your proposal. If you don’t find one in the RFP, contact the Funding Program Director and ask if one is available.
There are a certain number of points you can earn for each section. The rubric is a method of classifying information. It is critical to read this evaluation tool and determine what readers want to see in the different elements of the proposal.
Proposals are usually scored on a scale of 100-points. But, not always. Look at the tool and see how the funder is scoring each element. The larger the number of points for the section, the more important that information is to the reader.
You may start out on a level playing field, but as your grant proposal is reviewed, you are earning points. The goal is to obtain the highest number of points. Not following the criteria for scoring, can make the difference between the win or the loss.