Grantsmanship 101

Writing is a craft, not a science.

Grantsmanship is matching your/your organization’s agenda to the mission, culture, and procedures of funders, and doing so in a way that maximizes quality, is innovative, and is a positive representation of the requesting organization.

A good idea is the core of a grant application… but it isn’t enough.

  • As funding is increasingly competitive, not only must the idea be innovative, relevant, and capable of advancing the state of knowledge, but the proposal must be compelling and well-written.
  • Grantsmanship includes maximizing the opportunity to “sell” your idea - using each allowable component of the application in a way that is respectful of reviewers, using stylistic writing, effective visual images and formatting, consistently throughout the proposal.
  • To merit funding, the idea must be closely aligned with the agency’s mission, strategic plan, and investment priorities, and presented in a matter consistent with the funder's preferred or required format.

Grantsmanship is knowing all of these things and recognizing that they MATTER.

You can improve your grantsmanship skills by reading funded proposals and reviews of un-funded proposals, attending development programs in grant writing, speaking with colleagues who have successfully attained grant funds, developing relationships with agency program officers, and serving as a panelist for proposal reviews.