To me, a nonprofit fundraising professional with 10-15 years of grant writing experience, successful grant writing is an art form. It takes more than knowledge and skill – oftentimes the process requires a delicate balance of patience, intensity and a few tears.
Grant writing demands creative expression, passion, data and lots of research. A proposal should elicit an emotional response from its readers. Arguably, a well-crafted proposal can be considered a work of art. But do others agree? Is grant writing an art form? To help me find an answer, I researched the word “art” and found a list of responses to the question “What is Art?”:
Apparently, art is many things:
- An act of intent or a moment of creation
- A communication of truth or a way of seeing
- An expression of human experience
- A means for bringing intensity to life
This is exactly what I strive for in my proposal writing…
To communicate the truth of a human experience to a funder who may not know what it is like to be diagnosed with a life threatening illness and find hope and inspiration in the words of a mentor.
To bring the intensity of a young person’s struggle with learning differences to life for a program officer who has limited knowledge of the subject.
To intentionally persuade the reader that a nonprofit provides a service that no one else can deliver, and is thus deserving of funding.
This is what transforms grant writing from the basic act of gathering data and writing about statistics to a creative expression of the human experience (and the reason why I enjoy it so much). I hope to share, via my blog, thoughts about how to bring the artistic process into the grant-writing arena, as well as touch upon the basic elements of proposal writing. I hope this will allow my readers to create a more meaningful experience for both you (the writer) as well as the reader. I’ll talk about how to keep the writing fresh, alive and mission focused. I look forward to hearing your thoughts!