You, as a community of people committed to pursuing a better world, continue to inspire us…and our blog topics. Following the exciting experience of working with GrantStation to produce a webinar on grantmaking trends, we left with some added value (and hopefully you felt the same!). During a great round of thought-provoking questions, Chief Strategist, Stacey Wedding, was asked to provide an example of ways to utilize storytelling in grants. It’s a good question.
How do you incorporate stories to make grant applications more compelling?
When receiving a grant means being able to make a greater impact in the lives of others, creating a compelling appeal is worth giving some forethought to. And let’s face it, grants can be elusive.
One of the best ways to reach your audience (here the person reviewing the application), is to tell them a story. Here’s our disclaimer: this doesn’t mean you should always include stories. You should keep in mind that every grant application is different, and that sometimes this includes length limitations that preclude the space to tell a story. However, if you’re applying for a grant with fairly loose requirements, incorporating stories can set your organization apart.
Here are some sample questions or prompts that might warrant a story:
Describe your organization’s mission.
Explain what programs you implement.
What impact does your organization have?
Instead of merely quoting your website or citing statistics, we suggest something like the following:
ABC Organization utilizes counseling, financial assistance for co-pays/prescriptions/mortgage or transportation, and a medically supervised summer camp to provide opportunities for normality in the lives of children with cancer and their families. It structures its programs in this way because people, like Kim, experience the “terrifying, heart-wrenching, and debilitating” experience of taking their 3-year-old daughter, Kennedy, in to the doctor only to discover the mysterious illness was Leukemia. After the shock, the nausea, the loss of feeling in her whole body and the realization that, “we were definitely not prepared to deal with this on our own,” Kim sought out X’s programs. Kim said, “we are not being dramatic when we say they have saved our family and made this experience livable.” This is what our mission/programs/impact look like in our community. For Kim, Kennedy, and the 770 other youths battling cancer who were supported by funders like you this year. It looks like saving families who might otherwise be debilitated by a devastating fight.
Bonus tip: following a story is a great time to include statistical figures. This ensures that the grant application includes the hard data funders like to see while painting a picture of what those figures represent.