Friday, January 12, 2007
Grant Writing 1.01
For the past eight years I have been working for technology programs funded through grants. This year the grants ended and I found myself writing my own grants. This is a daunting task as the grant writing process requires a great deal of time and giving detailed information. I am working full time in a school as a technology coordinator and I do consultant work in videoconferencing so my time as most educators is a precious commodity. I wrote these grants with the hope of funding two videoconferencing programs I feel passionate about. One is my beloved Poetry Slam and the other a science based and career oriented program with NOAA. The one with NOAA required a pre-proposal. I thought the purpose of writing a pre-proposal was to weed out weak proposals so that people applying for grants don't spend enormous amounts of time on writing grants that are not of the quality or vision that is required. I actually thought that was not a bad idea. Since I am an educator and not a "professional grant writer" I would not spend excessive amounts of time writing a grant that had a poor to none possibility of being approved. I was shocked to receive an e-mail saying that because I sent a two-page resume instead of the required one page resume my grant was declined. It was a copy of my most recent resume. Since I was working with a 5:00 Post Office deadline I just printed it out without much thought. It had very little to do with the merit of grant. The second page could have easily been tossed or not read. I really hope that there were other more important factors in making that decision to reject my grant proposal than that. Remember this was NOT the actual grant just a description of the grant I intended to write. The rejection e-mail stated "Your application did not meet the following criterion: The resume exceeded the one-page maximum. I hope this guidance may help you succeed in future submissions to this program.”
The other grant is based on points. Each section was assigned a point value. The points ranged from 5 points to 20 points. My grant was over 50 pages in length. For example the Project Management part was worth 5 points, while the Budget Narrative was worth 20. I had a friend who reviewed some of these grants. She said it didn’t matter what the actual grant was about. The only thing that mattered is how many points you scored. If you answered all the questions even if the grant itself was sub par you got the money.
If, and it’s a very BIG IF, I ever write another grant for videoconferencing I now know to keep to the page and point requirements. But I just can’t help thinking that the grant process is somewhat “stupid”. Thanks for letting me vent. Your comments are appreciated.