Session Notes: Storytelling for Grant Writing

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The Storytelling Non-Profit Virtual Conference continued today – day four – and we had the pleasure of a great session from the wonderful Betsy Baker of YourGrantAuthority.com. Betsy shared her know-how on all things grant related, specifically how to avoid writing a tragically boring grant application by using stories.

Below are the slides from Betsy’s session.

Highlights and Key Takeaways

> Too often bad writing happens to great stories. Grant writers may feel that they have to be prim and proper for funders, but in the process the suck all of the life and intrigue from the story.
> It’s okay to use emotion and have a personality.
> All great stories have: characters, setting, plot and conclusion.
> Know and understand the story first before you can tell it. Get the complete details first.
> “Turn conversation into written word.”
> Use your needs statement to create “tension.”
> “A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.”

Resources

For GrantWriters Only
For GrantWriters Only – LinkedIn Group
Grant Professionals Association
Grant SAT

FAQs From The Session

Many online grant applications have character limits so writing evocatively is challenging. Any ideas?
Be selective! Make sure that every word you write is serving a purpose and be supporting the story you want to tell the funders.

How graphic should we be in our storytelling? Some of our clients have very difficult lives because of health problems. I want to appropriately inform and engage funders, but not turn them off.
Use your judgement and common sense to start. Betsy also recommended having some established boundaries in terms of how you talk about your cause and your organization’s work. If you have communications staff members, it might be worth while to have a chat about this topic with them for additional perspective.

What is the typical audience profile of a grant reviewer?
Every one will be different, so there is not clean cut answer to this question. Focus on what the funder’s mission, vision and goals are. You want to be able to show them that your project is right on target with each of those things. If you have more specific questions, consider giving them a call.

Do you have a question about grant writing and storytelling? Looking for a specific resources? Please leave a comment below with your question!

- Vanessa

2 comments Add your own

1. Claire | May 18, 2014 at 5:47 PM

Hi Vanessa,

I noticed that there are a few books that focus on fundraising via grant writing. For e.g. ‘The Only Grant-Writing Book You’ll Ever Need: Top Grant Writers and Grant Givers Share Their Secrets’ & ‘Storytelling for Grantseekers: A Guide to Creative Nonprofit Fundraising’… Do you mind letting me know which ones you would recommend above the rest? I’m keen to get educated on this topic and would love your advice on where to start…

Thank you :)
Claire.

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