The Power of Storytelling in Grant Applications

Grant writing may very well be the most fulfilling genre of writing there is for a writer. If you’ve never written a grant before, stop and imagine that thrilling moment after all the hard work is finished and you get a response. And you realize…you did it! You won! Whether the grant is for yourself, your nonprofit or for-profit, or for a client, it’s all the same. Oh, that sweet moment of pure joy is a wonderful feeling. After all, grant writing is hard! You start from scratch, with only a goal to begin, branch into research, adhere to requirements, and finally write and submit your proposal. It’s no joke; it’s a lot of work and not a task to be taken lightly. A writer gets to bring words to life on the page. But a grant writer? They get to bring what’s on the written page into the real world where it can make a substantial difference to everyday people.

It’s for this very reason that GrantWriterTeam wants to impress upon our readers that in the competitive world of grant writing, presenting facts, figures, statistics, and measurable results is so very important. However, the grant world is liquid in its movement and trends are the currents that drive us. With that in mind, might we suggest focusing a lens on the narrative aspects of a good grant application? Indeed, storytelling in grant applications adds a human touch to any proposal. What’s more, it can also help to ensure your success.

Why Does Storytelling in Grant Applications Matter

It’s important to note that some online applications are quick and easy to complete. They may only include something like a survey to fill out and submit to a database. Mostly, these kinds of grants are smaller, and fewer details are needed.

However, most grants also require a narrative aspect. While these grant applications are more complex and take longer to complete, it’s well worth the effort. Think about it. Foundations that provide funding to other nonprofits are more inclined to award funding to those applicants who are able to spin a narrative that a human face on your project.

Funders receive, quite literally, tons of applications, and after a while, they probably tend to look all the same. So, what are you going to do to make your grant application the one they select to receive funding? You’re going to dust off your storytelling skills and humanize your nonprofit ensure your proposal is the one chosen. This is not to say that you don’t need to focus as greatly on the other details of your grant; they are still just as important. Rather, your goal is to stitch together a compelling narrative to your goals, objectives, and other project details.

What Are the Basic Elements of Good Storytelling in Grant Applications?

Ethos: Greek for credibility, it’s essential to lay a foundation of trust between you and your grantor. Find common ground that allows you to build a bridge that connects your cause to that of the funder.

Pathos: This is your emotional appeal and it’s fundamental to your powers of persuasion. The right amount of emotion, combined with credibility, creates the WIFM effect (short for What’s In It For Me). People naturally want to help others but adding value for them as individuals is a huge draw. Convince your grantor how mutually beneficial it would be to fund your project.

Logos: Logic to the Greeks; it’s the end-game piece for you. Ethos and pathos lay your foundation and pave the way for your funder to make the right choice and award you the grant. But it’s the connection between your story and your raw data that you should strive for.

Know Your Audience: Do your research and get to know your funder. Look at other causes they’ve funded in the past; talk to someone at the foundation to get a feel for the collective values and practices that shape their organizational culture. Once you know your grantor you can use the rhetorical and storytelling techniques that will best persuade them.

The Takeaways

As in life, no one can ever guarantee you will win the grant funding you’re seeking. But that is rather the point of looking for ways to make your work shine, isn’t it? Honing your skills to tell your story with just the right combination of emotional appeal, shared morality, and logic can only serve to increase your odds at success.

About GrantWriterTeam 

Are you a nonprofit or small business in need of some help? If you are searching for grants but are feeling overwhelmed, hiring a grant writer may be the perfect choice for you! Grant writers thoughtfully grant opportunities and consider the pros and cons of applying and the chance of success. Consider your writer an extension of your organization. They will coach you throughout the entire process and curate the project to fit your needs. Your grant-seeking success is our priority at GrantWriterTeam.

Disclaimer: There is no guarantee that grants will be awarded as a result of this information.