To be a competent grant writer and evaluator is not an easy task. Grant proposal writing and evaluation requires extensive knowledge of technical writing and evaluation techniques, as well as sufficient practical experience. Here, literature and online resources offer substantial amount of information, which could be used to improve one’s grant proposal writing skills. I believe that I should primarily develop more realistic expectations concerning the amount (the sum) of money I am willing to request.
It should be noted, that unrealistic expectations are listed among the major mistakes writers tend to make, when writing grant proposals (Timmons, 2005). I also think that better technical writing skills will certainly improve the quality of my grant proposal writing. In terms of grant proposal evaluation, balanced attitudes toward evaluation methodology should become the critical component of my successful performance as a grant proposal evaluator.
Beyond the fact that grant proposals are usually scored by some method (Porter-Roth, 1999), there is a whole set of objective and subjective factors that need to be taken into account, when grant proposals are being evaluated. I am confident that a well-balanced combination of subjective and objective criteria will help me become a professional grant proposal evaluator. These criteria will also help my team to develop objective and unbiased proposal evaluation techniques, and to facilitate the process of communication and interaction with vendors. 2.
How has your evaluation of your proposal changed after reading “How to Evaluate a Proposal through a Funder’s Eyes? ” The text How to Evaluate a Proposal through a Funder’s Eyes is useful in a sense that it provides a critique sheet that can be used to evaluate and measure the effectiveness and relevance of the grant proposal (Carlson, 2002). After reading the text, I had to review all major components of my grant proposal. First of all, I had to assess the needs component of my grant proposal work. I had to ensure that my needs assessment component provided sufficient information with regard to the problem.
I think that I have been able to optimize my needs component without overloading it with statistical information. Second, I had to reconsider the relevance of the goals and objectives section of the grant proposal. I must admit that beyond the need to decrease the illnesses and death rates by 20%, my goals and objectives lacked measurability. As a result, I had to revise my goals and objectives component to clarify, what goals I wanted to achieve by accomplishing the major project tasks. Staffing, timelines, and the budget component – all these have become the integral elements of my grant proposal.
Funders require full information about the methods, which I will use to achieve my objectives; as a result, I had to be as detailed as possible in terms of the grant proposal methods. Evaluation component has also been written in accordance with grant proposal writing requirements. Although I was trying to provide comprehensive project information without overloading it with unnecessary details, I still believe that future funders will use a whole set of subjective criteria to judge the quality and the relevance of my project (Carlson, 2002).
These criteria are difficult to predict; Internet and library resources provide scarce information about the subjective criteria, which funders may use when evaluating grant proposals. Thus, I do not think we will ever be able to evaluate grant proposals through potential funders’ eyes. 3. What skill did you learn during the grant proposal development process that will be useful to you in the future? How and why? The critical skill I have learnt during the grant proposal development process is balancing project needs with budget constraints.
In the process of completing the project, I had to be reasonable in my budget requests; simultaneously, I had to ensure that my budget would not prevent project participants from achieving strategic objectives and anticipated outcomes. Trying to improve the quality of my grant proposal writing, I was slowly learning to ask questions. Each grant proposal component had to be evaluated through the potential funders’ eyes. I had to learn to look at the quality, clarity, brevity and technical writing features from several different perspectives.
I have realized that “writing a proposal requires understanding of requirements, time and resources on the part of the vendor. The use of these resources is weighed against the probability of getting the job” (Porter-Roth, 1999). As a result, I had to ask questions to ensure that I had not omitted essential information. I had to ask questions to make sure that I had sufficient resources to win the grant. I had to ask questions to be confident that all requirements toward grant proposal writing had been followed.
Finally, I had to ask questions to avoid the major grant proposal writing mistakes, and to be able to deliver essential project information in a brief and succinct manner. I have learnt to evaluate the quality and effectiveness of a grant proposal not through the prism of its separate components, but as a whole product. A grant proposal is always the result of a hard work. It requires understanding numerous issues and subjects regarding the project opportunities and needs.
Grant proposals should be written in ways, which create a harmonic picture of needs, available resources, and project outcomes; and to achieve these goals, any project proposal should be evaluated as a whole picture, with separate elements used to shape and enhance its positive image in the funders’ eyes. References Carlson, M. (2002). Winning grants step by step. Jossey-Bass. Porter-Roth, B. (1999). Guidelines for proposal evaluation. Document World, 4 (2): 20-24. Timmons, L. A. (2005). Biggest mistakes of Arizona grantseekers? Just Grants Arizona.