There are no exceptions to the fact that grant writing is a long and often arduous writing process.Worseyet, for smaller charities and non-profits there may not be the resources to employ grant writers.This task isthenleft to program managers or administration staff who do their best to fit writing tasks into an alreadycrowdedwork schedule.

But grant applications are essential for organizational success.While the process may seem daunting, there are several tricks and tips that work to keep things organized, streamlined and simple. The list below provides some helpful habits for improving chances of grant application success.

  1. OrganizeAll Materials Before Getting Started
    • Start your writing process by organizing your documentation.The first and most effective way tocomplete your grant is bybeingwell organizedbefore the writing process begins.
    • Avoidtime spent on searching hard-drives, computer folders and filing cabinets for information.Place all neededmaterials in locations that are easily accessible.You mayprefer to have hardcopiesfor quickediting orworkstrictly fromthecomputer. Whatever the preferred method is, creating file folders(onyourcomputersdesktoporin acabinet)with clearly labeled titles helps to avoidworkspace and mentalchaos.
    • Organizethe funder information, grant application questions (with word/character counts), organization background and budgetsandstoreitneatly and efficiently.This allows youto focus oncrafting the narrative and keeping your focus directed.
  1. Create a Supportive Team Around You
    • Whether your team is large or small, capitalizing off the assets and talents of your colleagues can go a long way in making proposals more palatable to funders.Everyone brings something to the table, even if just a fresh pair of eyes. Take advantage of theassetsaround youand be open to feedback.
    • Proofing may seem like aninformal task, but whenone person hasbeen working on the same proposalfor days, weeks, or even months, it is easy to lose sight of details of the messageand miss obvious mistakes.
  1. Stick to a Firm, Rigid Timeline
    • There is no room for procrastination here!Set your deadlines much in advance. No exceptions! For example, ifyour applicationdeadline issetDecember 1st,your personal deadline should be 3-5 days before then.Why? Because life happens.
      Also, grant applications are made up of many moving pieces. Break apart the grant process. Not everything should be done,or is even possible to get done,in one sitting.
    • Be mindful of all the moving parts of the grant process. For example, as soon as you havedecided to apply, start requesting your letters of support frompotential partners or stakeholders.
    • Create your own schedule or calendar with well in-advance personal deadlinesforeach stage oftheapplication.
  1. Communicate Consistently
    • Communication with colleagues, team members and funderssafeguardsmistakes or missed details.Generallyspeaking, fundersexpect questions from applicants and arereasonablyhelpfulwith specific questions. Have your questions ready before hand and look for other resources to fill in the gaps when feeling uncertain.
    • If possible, connect with other community friends or charity programs that may have experience in the grant stream or program funding you areapplying for.
    • If your application requires letters of support, make sure toestablishthese relationships in advance, as well as allowing for as much time as possible for others to get therequiredinformationto you.

These proven tools and habits not only give busy peopleabetter chance for securing much needed funds, but also prevents burn-out and fatigue that can compromiseskillful writing. At the end of the day, grant applications areanerve-wracking process, butover time,and with a few healthy habits, the practice becomes easier (and potentially fun!)