Grant Writing Tips - Generic paragraphs and copying from previous applications
Let's delve into the questions we all face on a day-to-day basis.
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Is it okay to use generic paragraphs in grants?
A generic paragraph refers to text that is consistently used across your organisation for functions that do not change in response to a funder's question. The fact your organisation has been established since 2002 and its founding purpose is ... you get the picture. Then there are the generic statements requiring updates on a fixed basis. These include organisational milestones reported as an age, statutory compliance, environmental and policy statements and annual report achievements.
Personally, I use very few generic statements as is. Even something as basic as an organisation profile can be adapted to different funders. Some will be more interested in a facet of your organisation or a certain value you hold dear may need to played up, down or answered in such a way as to explain the current impact on your service delivery. This is especially so when you are limited by a tight word count.
I prefer to use the generic statement as a quick reference tool in most cases. If I work consistently with an organisation, I will have a block of their relevant information to refer to but, I will write an individual response for the application. Where I do use generic paragraphs is when I have an ongoing application to the same funder and I have been successful in a previous application. However, I always ensure the question format remains the same and update the paragraph to current activity and try to strengthen it in some way. Other areas I will use generic paragraphs for, is where there is a consistent approach to an activity such as an environmental statement, the way an organisation measures and monitors activity and their approach to innovation and change.
Can I copy a previous grant application and submit it?
I know many people are rushed when it comes to writing a grant application and many are writing at the last minute as a part of their normal heavy workload. They may grab an old application, cut out the relevant parts, make it fit the responses, quick read though and submit. This may work for a small $500 grant but it more than likely won't.
What then if you have a grant that has been funded and written well and it seems like a no-brainer to use it? Think again. Instead, treat it like a generic paragraph and use parts of it, update the information and rewrite it to your current audience.
Grant Writing Tips - using generic paragraphs and copying from previous applications
Treat old applications and generic information as quick reference tools and always ensure you have the latest information in your grant application. Every grant is unique and deserves an individual application if you want to be considered for funding.