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Writing Tips: Public Safety Grants Consulting

  • Keep it clear, keep it simple, keep it right.
  • Remember and apply the KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid) when writing your applications. Your proposal should leave no room for interpretation of what you are saying. Be clear, concise and accurate.
  • Deadlines show no mercy.
  • If your application is not in by the deadline, it's not being considered, period. So...
  • Beat the calendar, with the calendar: If a grant application deadline is March 31, write it down as March 24 or March 17. Set an earlier "personal deadline" to give yourself some buffer time. This will cut down the chances of a last-minute rush, or worse, missing the deadline – and your department's shot at that funding.
  • Those who fail to prepare, should be prepared to fail.
  • Before a grant application period opens, gather information. Where could your department best use the money? How has a lack of funding affected your department's ability to respond, train and operate? What information and data would make your case stronger? Work on bits and pieces like this beforehand, and when the application period opens you'll be ready to roll.
  • Type your application and narrative in any word processing software, such as Word, Word Perfect, Notepad, etc.
  • This allows you to "draft" and revise many times, and allow others to read and proof-read your application prior to you submitting it. When you're ready to submit everything, copy and paste it into your program narratives. Also check the application guidelines to see if they specify file formats you can use, if you may send via e-mail or if there is an online submission process.
  • Use the Internet to make the application process easier.
  • More and more grants are using the Internet to make the grant application process easier. The now-complete 2004 AFGP grant application was a great example: you could take a tutorial on their "e-grant" process, save and update your application as needed, and send electronically once complete. Another great feature of the AFGP e-grant was that you cannot submit an incomplete application – a great fail-safe for you. It also eliminated the danger of your application being lost in the mail and provided you with an instant receipt stating that your application has been received.
  • Get members of the community to read and comment on your proposal. If it does not make common sense to them, it won't make common sense to a reviewer. Write using an 8th-grade level of education as your standard. Keep your language simple. Leave out jargon or technical words; the reviewer might not know them.

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