How to Edit Grant Applications – and Increase Your Chance of Success
  • 6-minute read
  • 14th December 2023

How to Edit Grant Applications – and Increase Your Chance of Success

Securing funding through a grant can have a major impact on your organization’s goals and the objectives you and your team can accomplish. But with competition for funding sources higher than ever, making an impact with your grant application is essential. This post will guide you through how to edit your grant application and increase your chance of success. We’ll cover why it’s important to:

  1. Review the grant application guidelines
  2. Logically structure the writing
  3. Be clear and concise
  4. Tell a compelling story
  5. Tailor your language and tone
  6. Highlight the significance of the project
  7. Proofread for errors

Keep reading to get started.

1. Review the Grant Application Guidelines

Some funding organizations might have specific guidelines to follow for grant applications, such as for formatting, word count, and citation style. Closely following these standards is important if you want your application to be considered. Also, before you begin the editing process, a good idea is to research the goals and mission statement of the specific funding organization and ensure your application reflects those priorities. 

Develop a thorough checklist based on the grant guidelines to avoid leaving out anything essential. Use your checklist to ensure you have covered all the required elements, such as the project description, budget, timeline, and evaluation methods. Be sure to explicitly address the evaluation criteria outlined in the grant guidelines. Reviewers will be looking for specific information related to the project’s feasibility, impact, and alignment with the funder’s goals.

2. Logically Structure the Writing

A wall of text could be overwhelming to your reader, so be sure to structure the content of your application clearly and logically (e.g., using headings, subheadings, and bullet lists) to make it easy to follow. Breaking content into paragraphs can also improve readability because doing so creates white space, making the text look more manageable. Paragraphs should emphasize a specific idea or point and be organized logically. 

3. Be Clear and Concise

When you’re applying for funding, the last thing you want is to lose sight of your message or confuse the reviewers reading your application. To ensure you clearly convey your main points, edit for concision and avoid overly complex technical language and jargon. If you do use an acronym or term that may be unfamiliar to your reader, be sure to define it the first time it’s mentioned in your application. Avoid run-on sentences and add transition words where necessary to improve the overall flow (reading the text out loud can help you pinpoint where transition words would be most beneficial).

4. Tell a Compelling Story

Grant applications don’t have to be dry and uninteresting – especially when you’re trying to catch your reader’s attention and stand out from the competition. In addition to including facts, do your best to tell a compelling and relatable story relating why you’re applying for funding. Thoroughly explain the problem or issue you’re addressing and the solution you propose; include real-world examples and anecdotes to illustrate your points.

Where possible, incorporate data and statistics to quantify the potential impact of your project and highlight the work you’ve already done. Tangible results and examples strengthen your case and provide a more concrete basis for evaluating your proposal.

5. Tailor Your Language and Tone

Use the language and tone of the funding organization’s promotional materials as inspiration for your grant application. For example, look at the keywords on the company’s website and in its promotional materials; these words should give you an idea of what the organization prioritizes. Then, where appropriate, try to incorporate those keywords into your proposal. You should also consider the tone of voice the organization uses for its own content (e.g., motivational, formal, academic) and try to match that tone in your application. Mimic the organization’s language style and incorporate details that resonate with company values. Avoid generic statements or facts that could apply to any funding opportunity – include relevant characteristics specific to the organization to which you’re applying. 

6. Highlight the Significance of the Project

An important aspect of grant applications is the project’s significance and impact. Catch the reviewer’s attention by clearly articulating the specific problem or need your project aims to address. Emphasize the issue’s significance and the objectives you hope to accomplish with the funding. Doing so helps make a compelling case for why your project is necessary.

7. Proofread for Errors

Even if your ideas are logically and coherently organized and your reasoning is sound, glaring errors in your writing could negatively impact your application’s chance of success. Well-written, high-quality writing can help your application stand out positively and conveys how seriously you take the opportunity to apply for funding. When reviewing your application, refer to a proofreading checklist of common errors to help you stay organized, especially if your grant application is lengthy. In addition to grammar and punctuation issues, be sure to check that:

  • You’ve used the correct English dialect (i.e., UK, US, or Australian) consistently throughout the application 
  • You’ve used the proper abbreviations and initialisms 
  • You’ve spelled names correctly
  • You’ve applied capitalization correctly 
  • Sentences are clear and concise
  • Your contact information is up-to-date and correct
  • You’ve cited sources correctly using the applicable reference style
  • You’ve used inclusive language

As the writer, you may be too close to the writing to catch every error in your application, so consider outsourcing proofreading to a freelancer (especially if your deadline is tight). A professional freelance proofreader can help recognize subtle errors and even help you follow the funding organziation’s style guidelines.

Professional Copyediting Services

When it comes to grant applications, you get one opportunity to make a lasting first impression. If you want to increase your grant application’s chance of success, our expert copyediting team can help. Our editors have experience in a wide variety of academic fields and industries, including the nonprofit sector, and can help you convey the main points of your proposal clearly and concisely. Get in touch today to find out more!

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