The Development Source

Get into a Productive Grant Proposal State of Mind!

It is very difficult to maintain your enthusiasm and energy as a proposal professional.  Grant proposals are demanding projects that may leave you overwhelmed, disenchanted, and just plain tired.

Olessia Smotrova-Taylor, the president and chief executive officer of OST Global Solutions, has good advice for those of us in this position.  Although her advice is intended for proposal professionals working in companies, it also applies to nonprofit organizations and to proposal professionals working on grants.  I will add a few comments of my own to her good advice.

Mind the fundamentals

Bored with doing the same thing over and over again?  One solution is to imitate high-performing athletes, who go back to the fundamentals when their performance sags.  Focus on the essentials of good grant proposal development and make sure you are executing them well.

Focus on the end result, not the obstacles

Grant proposal efforts may take months and involve literally thousands of details.  If you become focused on the petty details and obstacles you inevitably encounter in these efforts, you may loose sight of your main goal, which is to produce a highly competitive proposal.  By focusing on the end result, you will be better motivated and better able to put your daily work in a broader perspective.

Commit to see the pursuit through to the end

Proposal development often involves long hours and night and weekend work.  Under these circumstances, it is easy to become indifferent to the results of your work.  However, there are few things more corrosive to grant proposal development than indifferent team members, who let themselves and their colleagues down.  When you begin, be committed to doing everything you can to finish a great proposal.

Play to win

Do not accept second best, in yourself and in your grant proposals.  Remind yourself and your team that you are all playing to win and thus must perform really well.  Nothing else should be acceptable.

Put your work in perspective

Find ways to enjoy your work and achieve balance in your life.  I recommend the following to help you put proposals in perspective:  time with family and friends; vigorous exercise; reading good literature; and time outdoors.  When was the last time you took a long walk in a beautiful park and smelled the flowers? 

I am confident that you can add to this list.  Find ways to stay fresh and sharp as a grant proposal professional, even in today’s bad economy.



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