(More great grant writing tips from my friend and colleague, Dr. Nelson Alba.)

Before you start putting your grant application together make yourself a working plan.  First, make yourself a fast working plan of salient working steps on the grant. Most grants have a page limitation and required format such as number of pages, doubled space and in some cases type of font to use. Mark those down.

Page limitations require every word in the application is clean and related to the main argument you are making.  Acronym, abbreviation, or initials are a problem. Although they may save you some space in the long run they create a problem for the person reading your grant application.  The grant reader has a limited amount of time to read, analyze and make recommendations. The load may be from five to twelve grants followed by a discussion with other readers. Time is of the essence. In addition, grant readers are required to spell-out all names. Get the idea? If a reader has to stop and find out what an acronym means because he cannot remember, the blame is on you. Important, keep your reader happy. It pays off.

Remember, writing less and making sense is more difficult than writing more. A word on charts and graphs. Charts and graphs can be very helpful and adorns your work. Make sure you need a chart or graph and that they are clear and make sense where you use them. They can also take up a lot of room you may need for cogent information. Be selective and avoid the fancy stuff. Nobody has time for that.

Make sure critical information, and I mean critical information, used on a graph or chart is also included in the written section of your application. You may think you are being repetitious but that is why it is called critical information. Some folks don’t do well reading charts.

Again, above all, place your information and details in the place that was asked for. There is nothing a grant reader enjoys more than an orderly application. One final word, if you want to finish quickly, take your time and you will not have as many corrections. As Napoleon use to say to his valet “Take your time dressing me, I’m in a hurry!”

 Good hunting.