How many times have you submitted a grant application and right after you hit submit you see several mistakes? We have all been there. It happens to the best of us.
“Writing without revising is the literary equivalent of waltzing gaily out of the house in your underwear.” ― Patricia Fuller
5 Tips for Editing Your Full Grant Proposal
- Be grant ready: You are less likely to put in the wrong information if you have already gathered the general information and documents you will need for the grant proposal before you start writing. Keep all the documents well labeled so you can easily include them in your proposal.
- Write your first draft: You can’t edit until you have something written.
- Review for consistency: You need to review the whole application for consistency – in the narrative, between the narrative and budget, throughout the whole application. A confused reviewer generally equals no funding.
- Use great tools
- Grammarly: Grammarly is an online proofreading tool that checks text for grammar, punctuation, and style, and features a contextual spelling checker and plagiarism detector. They offer a browser extension for Chrome, online platform, and desktop version. You can use it for free or pay for their pro version. I use Grammarly on a daily basis. It helps eliminate errors in my grant writing, blog writing, social media posts, emails, and anything else I type on my computer. (And a bonus: follow them on social media. They post funny things you will resonate with.)
- Grammar Girl: Mignon Fogarty a.k.a. Grammar Girl has written several books, hosts a weekly podcast, and posts regularly on her website. Through all these mediums, she gives quick and dirty tips for better writing.
- Style Manual: All the publication styles have their own style manual. The style manuals are great references for questions on how to properly style your grant application.
- Purdue Online Writing Lab (Owl): Purdue University has a great online writing lab with writing resources and instructional material as a free service.
- Books on writing: Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott and On Writing by Stephen King
- Have another set of eyes review the proposal: Make friends with a coworker who is not involved in the grant development to read through the proposal. Or hold a mock review where a group of people read through the proposal and score it according to the grantmaker’s scoring system. Others will catch mistakes you won’t see.
Use these tips to make sure you don’t submit a grant proposal in its underwear.
What are your go to editing tricks and/or tools? We’d love to hear! Share with us in the comments section of the website or via social media.