Proposal B.S.

I’ve been working on a manuscript for a book based on our grant writing handbook that will be published soon as an e-book and in print. More about that later – but we’ll announce it here as soon as it’s available. One of the most enjoyable parts of updating the manuscript has been rediscovering old gems that I’ve used in workshops in years past. Here’s a tongue-in-cheek example I wrote at the end of a long, frustrating session of proposal writing years ago:

Some of these tongue-in-cheek definitions may elude you as a new grant writer, but with a little experience you’ll find the humor in them! Seriously… don’t use them in your proposal, ok?

What it says:                                                          What it means:

“still being implemented”                                          “we haven’t done a thing yet”

“national research indicates”                                    “but we don’t have time to look it up”

“periodically”                                                               “as little as we can get away with”

“there is ample research”                                          “but don’t ask me what it is”

“we will”                                                                       “trust me”

“significant progress”                                               “one baby step further – hopefully”

“widest possible geographical area”                      “maybe one additional town”

“it is hoped”                                                               “but not counted on”

“significant numbers of students”                         “a couple of kids counted twice”

“broad community involvement”                           “we’ve hung one notice at the Post Office”

“virtually every teacher will have a computer”    “maybe”

“upon funding, we will appoint a community      “but they don’t know it yet”
advisory board”

“there are many fine candidates for this position”  “but none of them dumb enough to accept it”

“district-wide impact”                                             “a school on the east side of town and
a school on the west side of town”

“upon funding, we will write                                “we don’t know what we want them to do and
the job description”                                               we don’t have the time to decide now”

“too numerous to mention”                                  “we have no idea how many”

“a number of community partners                     “two of them had no objections”
are enthusiastic”

“we anticipate broad support”                              “we have no clue how many will show up”

“due to budget cuts”                                                “we can’t pay for it anymore, so
we’re hoping YOU’ll pay for it”

“broad-based support”                                             “we asked the few people we knew would agree
with us, but most community members have
no idea what’s going on”

“we have”                                                                   “we did it once, briefly, a long time ago,
but didn’t document anything”

“grant funds will be used for”                                “whatever’s left after we’ve funneled as much
as possible into other projects”

“pending approval of the grant”                            “these are great ideas, but we’re not interested in them
if there’s no outside money”

“buy-in”                                                                      “everyone likes it as long as they don’t have to
actually do anything about it”

“we expect”                                                                “don’t hold us to this one!”

“implement”                                                             “hold unproductive meetings about”


I welcome your contributions to this ever-growing list – please feel free to email them to me at sharon at fundingexchange dot org, and if they’re clean and ring true, I’ll add them to the list.  Your submittal will be proof of permission to reprint. Thanks!


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