GWhy Good Researching Skills are Important for Grant Writing
You might think that a Grant Writer in Melbourne could not be as effective and successful as a Grant Writer based in Sydney when writing a grant application for a Sydney based organisation. However, a grant writer with good research skills can write grants from anywhere for an organisation that is based anywhere, because they understand how to use their skills to create best possible case for winning the funding on offer.
Attention to detail
Research for writing grants is all about looking through information, identifying what is most relevant and then using that to strengthen your case. When grant writing, the research starts well before you start hammering away at the google search engine for case studies to support any argument you might be presenting. In fact, it starts with being able to glean through the funding information pack to look for the key criteria that is the most important to address. Good researchers understand the broader theme of the funding purpose is usually defined in the rationale of the information pack (defining why the grant was created). They then narrow down to find the crucial words and phrases within the pack that show the areas that the funding assessors will be looking at more closely in the grant application questions. This is the starting point for building the case for funding.
Knowing What Matters
There are times when the sheer volume of criteria can seem disproportionate to the amount of space (or words) given to address it. Often, these criteria are simply restated in several ways and across multiple sections. An adept grant writer uses their research skills to first look at all criteria sections to identify the criteria that is repeated at multiple times and works out a structure for addressing it adequately within the given space, while also paying proportionate attention to the other less-mentioned criteria.
Finding a Convincing Angle
Let’s say a grant writer has been asked to assist a bridge club to apply for a grant focused on building stronger communities and the criteria has stated that community health is a key criteria in this round. A grant writer might start by considering the benefits of being part of a bridge club such as mental exercise, social inclusion and a supportive group of like-minded people. Following on from this, the grant writer then considers what happens to people who do not have access to these benefits (whether by playing bridge or not). Then, narrowing in on the group demographic, which in the case of bridge, is predominantly seniors, the grant writer now has a starting point for their research. Researching the health benefits of mental exercise and social inclusion as well as the health impacts of the lack of these things will then uncover the best material to use to support the case.
Digging Through the Information
As a grant writer in Sydney commences researching these angles, they will find an overwhelming amount of supporting evidence to support their case. This is where the true strength of their research skills now becomes even more important. Referencing dozens of research articles in a single grant application is not an effective way to strengthen an applicant’s case as the reader will simply switch off. In order to engage and convince the grant assessor, only one or two highly relevant papers should be chosen and from them, the most pertinent findings or conclusions that are relevant to the grant writer’s application. To avoid reading hundreds of pages of research, the grant writer will zero in to identify key summary sections that will enable them to quickly ascertain the research papers with the highest value and most significant information to support their case. The grant writer then taps into their story-telling skills to weave that research into the application to strengthen the case for funding.
Taking it a Step Further
In the example discussed so far, let’s say the grant writer finds solid research that concludes that the health impacts of social isolation in the elderly can result in faster onset of age-related dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Now the grant writer will narrow down further to highlight the relevance of the research to the local area and/club itself. This may be by a number of means, such as researching the number of seniors living alone, seeking council studies or local articles about isolated seniors or even seeking testimonials from club members about how the club has contributed to their feelings of social inclusion.
Research just for the sake of quoting research will not win the grant writer’s case on its own. The end goal of collecting all this research is always to tie the facts collected back to the desired outcomes of the grant in a way that connects the reader with the story of the people affected most. Grant funding is always about seeking better outcomes, so the grant writer who can effectively demonstrate how this can be achieved by tying solid research to the core purpose of the organisation will have a strong chance of winning the funding.