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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Grant Writing

Grant Writing – sponsored by PDN
Moderator: David Walker
Panelists: Brenda Anne Kenneally, Ellen Liberatori, Justine Reyes, & Yokiko Yamagata

The do’s and don’ts of grant writing

All of the panelists were well-versed in the art of applying for grants. Having applied for a couple of grants in the past year or so, with Jason Florio, the information today was invaluable; particularly as we are planning our next expedition (see blog link below for award-winning images from our first expedition – A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – a 930km African odyssey).

There are so many grants to choose from and it seems the obvious thing to state, but be sure that you only apply to the organizations that are relevant to the body of work you are applying to for a grant for. As Yokiko Yamagata said, you would be surprised how many people apply for grants that have absolutely no relevance to the grantee’s particular project – thus wasting both the organizations time and the applicant’s time.

Network and find out what’s going on: sign up for newsletters with i.e. Jerome Foundation, The Gates Foundation.
Attend information and networking sessions i.e. ‘brownbag and Leadership Lunch seminars’, join relevant forums and tune into relevant webinars

Do your research. Whichever organization you turn to, to apply for a grant, read their mission statement on their website thoroughly.
70% of all grant applications are thrown (and/or disqualified) out due to bad research, shoddy presentation etc.

Read the guidelines thoroughly before filling out the application. Don’t email or call the organizations of foundations with questions that are already in the package guide.

Apply for grants early – as in don’t leave it until a day before the deadline!! Applying early means you have a chance to build a relationship with a Program Officer from the grant organization.
Their advice will be invaluable in helping you to strengthen your proposal and get it right.

Be concise in your opening proposal pitch – get in all the key points without using ‘flowery’ language. Make a list of sound bites and then work out how you can embed them into your opening pitch.

Grant givers often have read 100’s of proposals each week, so make think about how your pitch might catch their attention.

If you are unsuccessful, try again. Louie Palu applied for the Alexia Foundation grant at least a dozen times before he got one! However, if you do apply again with the same body of work, show how your work has evolved since the last time – i.e. add new images, ideas etc. This shows commitment. has a very comprehensive list of grant organizations and foundations

Helen Jones

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Blogger D said...

Correction: The grant writing links are at

Thank you for covering the seminar.

David Walker, PDN

October 29, 2010  

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