Writing the perfect grant is time consuming. There are so many sections (and wording has to be just right!). Most Grant Writers are writing multiple grants making time at even greater premium. While there are no shortcut to great grant writing, there are some time savers. Here are five time-saving grant writing hacks to help you become more efficient:
  1. Microsoft Word’s Quick Parts For Your Language Library
A language library are parts of a grant that are used over and over. How many times have you written (or copied and pasted) the mission statement? Word’s Quick Parts allows you to save sections and insert them in any document. Some suggestions to use Quick Parts for are:
  • Organizational description
  • History
  • Mission statement
  • Vision statement
  • Clientele demographics
  • Geographic or demographic community served information
  • Standard programs
  • Board of Directors
  • Key personnel and qualifications
To learn how to save and insert quick parts, follow this link. Make sure you save the sections in varying lengths so you can fit them in your document. Also, once inserted, they can be edited to fit your specific grant.
2. Dragon Dictation app
I don’t know about you but there is something about putting pen to paper when writing. I find when I begin by typing, I get writer’s block so much more often! I usually wind up getting out pen and paper anyway! But typing the written document is an added time sucker and something I love to skip. The Dragon Dictation app saves me time and allows me to write naturally.
Dragon Dictation is available on both iOS and android systems and can be downloaded for free. You open the app, press record, and speak. (Make sure you say the word “period” at the end of sentences to add a period). You can then email the sections to yourself and copy and paste into your document. You are ready to format and proofread your writing!

I use Evernote in the grant research phase to keep my research for a particular grant in one place. Here are the steps to how I do it.
  • I make a notebook and name it the Grant’s name. Let’s say Community Foundation.
  • I make another notebook with a section name of the grant. Let’s say Need Statement.
  • I drag and drop Need Statement on Community Foundation and create a notebook stack.
  • I can now copy and paste websites in Evernote or just sections of webpages that I want.
Sections can include research you find on the grantor like mission statement and other information that might help you connect their mission and yours. It can also include statistics you have about your cause or problem.
I can copy and paste from Evernote into my grant document and always know my resources! Also, I can use my data from two devices with the free plan.
4. Microsoft’s One Note for a Story Database

Microsoft’s One Note can be use the same way I use Evernote but I use One Note differently because I can access One Note from any device with an internet connection. My One Note is set up to hold organizational stories. I use the stories in my statement of need to help make my case. With One Note, I organize my stories by parts of the mission statement and by program. As I hear organizational stories, I put what I heard and who told me. I can ask questions later and write the story in One Note (with pictures, if I can get them). The database can also be shared if you have someone else that can help with stories and their writing. Bonus: A story database also helps with marketing/fundraising.

5. Templates

Templates are a great way to save time. They are already proofread and formatted. You may have to tweak the template to fit your particular grant but you won’t have to rewrite or format these parts. Suggestions for templates include:

  • Evaluation plan
  • Budgets
  • Budget narratives
  • Timelines
  • Charts
    • Objectives
    • Outcomes
    • Logic models
    • Partner roles
Also, keep past grants in electronic form so you can copy and paste parts that haven’t changed since the last time you applied.

Bonus: Application Template
A time-saving application template can be found at www.givingforum.org/s_forum/index.asp. The link will take you to common grant applications by state. Download the form and fill it out to always have ready-made cut-and-paste answers. You will want to customize the sections to your specific grant but you will save time not having to start from scratch each time.

Using these time-saving hacks can help you write a grant in a shorter amount of time. What hacks do you use? Comment below.

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