PRO TIPS | When I Grow Up, I Want to be a Grant Writer

publication date: May 10, 2023
author/source: Joanne Linka

When I grow up, I want to be a grant writer…

Said no one ever. 

Writing grants is one of those things that have to be done but no one looks forward to doing it. A glass of wine might make it a bit more manageable, but inevitably there is a sigh of relief when SEND is hit.

So, here are a few tips to make the process slightly less onerous:

  1. Is applying for the grant a good use of your time? Do their priorities fit with your program? If you need to contort yourself to make it fit, you might want to consider not applying – it is a lot or work to apply for a grant that is not a good fit.

  2. As soon as you decide to apply for the grant, take a look at the application. Make a check list of what you need to collect. If you need numbers or information from other staff members, send that to them as soon as possible, with a deadline for when you need the information back. If there are templates to help collect the data, make sure you send those too. Be crystal clear about what you need from them, and when.

  3. Download the application and put it into a Word file so that you can write, edit and do word counts in your document, before cutting and pasting it into the platform. Some platforms won’t save your work so you can come back to it later—super frustrating— so make sure you know if you need to do it all in one session.

  4. Shut your door, turn off your notifications and dedicate a good chunk of time to get ‘er done Reserve space in your timeline to share the draft with the people who will be implementing the program to make sure you got it right, and havn’t misrepresented the program or promised something that can’t be delivered.

  5. Take note: is it word count or character count? There is a HUGE difference! 

  6. Don’t just be SMART – be SMARTIE. Include equity and inclusive goals into your outcomes. 

Once you have been approved, (Woot woot! Celebrate!) set yourself up for success for the inevitable reporting that will need to be done. 

Create a “cheat sheet” of the basic grant info (how the money is to be spent, by when, to achieve what goals) for the staff who will be implementing the program. I’ve even set up spreadsheets to help them track outcomes so that when reporting time comes, they already have the info I need and will be able to send me their report without any tears. Again, with reports, make sure you give your staff team time to compile the info you need by the deadline you set. 

Grant writing isn’t exactly fun, but it can be very satisfying to know that your efforts can make a real difference in program delivery and resources. One of my favourite tasks is to email staff and tell them they have money to spend to expand or develop their program to serve more clients and make a difference in our community. That makes all the work worthwhile!


Joanne Linka is the Manager of Communication and Fund Development at The Cridge Centre for the Family in Victoria BC. She loves to dig into systemic issues and look for solutions that benefit the wider community. She can rant on any number of issues at the drop of a hat. When not working, Joanne is reading, in the garden or pestering her children.

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