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Not just a guide to writing proposals - a guide to life
on August 11, 2002
Not surprisingly, this book provides advice that -- if applied literally -- will assist you in writing excellent proposals to fund your non-profit organization's ventures.
Surprisingly, the advice contained herein -- if made more generic in your mind -- is excellent advice for entire areas of your life. Sounds hokey, true. But honestly, boiled down the advice can be listed as:
1. Identify what the problem is. Do your research until you really understand the causes of the problems and their many effects.
2. Identify how you will know when you have made the problem better. How will you know when the problem has been alleviated? What intermediate steps need to be taken? How will you measure your progress along the way?
3.Identify what tools are available, and which are still needed, to move towards a resolution, or diminution, of the problem. Be specific here. Vague generalities are useless, but the brass tacks of a solution are absolutely priceless. Who has access to these tools? Who can make difficult things easy?
4. If you are asking for someone to help you with this problem, present the whole equation to them in a light that makes the most sense to *them*. This doesn't mean to lie, or exaggerate. It only means to focus your proposal in a way that makes them see it most personally.
5. Proofread what you have written, to be sure it says what you want it to say. Then proofread it again. And again. Get it right, because it is a hard and fast representative of you. This should be true in everything concrete you put out in the world with your name on it.
Now, all of this can be applied to writing a grant proposal. And much of it can be applied to the other things in life. Filling a job position, finding a home, working out a deteriorating relationship, educating yourself or your children ... you name it.
It's so rare that a book directed at an audience of specialists resonates with so much broadly applicable truth ... and it was such a delight to find it. I plowed through this book last night, reading every word, applying its advice mentally to all sorts of issues in my own life. I am pleased to report that it opened my eyes to solutions that had eluded me until now.
Wonderfully written, amusingly told, full of great advice to writers of all persuasive materials, this book is a gem.