How To Write Well
Persuasive Writing Techniques
Writing successful funding applications requires specific technical writing skills: YOU NEED TO WRITE TO SELL.
Funding applications are documents of persuasion. To persuade the funding body to invest in your proposal, tell them WHAT you are going to do and WHY it will meet their requirements (see table below).
Convince the funder that:
- An urgent and compelling problem exists
- Your solution will address the problem, achieve its objectives, and impact the community
- Your organisation will successfully execute the proposal
- The cost involved is appropriate.
|Do not just TELL the funder||Explain and clarify|
|What the problem is||WHY it is urgent|
|What activities you will undertake||
WHY the activities were selected
WHY they will achieve the outcomes and impact the community
|What the previous experience of your organisation is||WHY your organisation will successfully meet the their objectives and the funder's expectations|
|What the cost of the proposal is||WHY it is value for money|
Convincing applications ALWAYS:
- Make a strong entrance
- Stress one important message
- Write from the funder's perspective
- Appeal to the interests of the funder
- Highlight the strengths of your organisation
- Emphasise the benefits of your proposal
- Are concise, easy to follow, and jargon free.
It is easy to get caught up in the process of writing and forget to clearly articulate your key message.
Plan what you will say. Ask yourself six questions before you start to write your funding application:
- What am I trying to achieve?
- Who am I writing to and what do I know about them?
- What do I want to say?
- How much space do I have?
- How will my application demonstrate knowledge and competence?
- How much time do I have to complete my section of the application?
Develop an outline and list the:
- Most important points you want to make
- Information you want to get across
- Facts you want to write about.
The Funder's Perspective
You must show that you care about the funding body's reputation and objectives:
- Read, address, and comply with the funding body's application guidelines
- Tailor the application, even if the proposal is for a continuation of services, to the items specified in the funding guidelines
- Highlight how your organisation's and application's objectives correspond with the funding body's objectives
- Demonstrate that your organisation will address the identified need in an evidence-based and financially responsible manner.
- Capture their attention
- Tell them something new and interesting
- Present your message creatively
- Ask "how can I describe this in a way that people will remember?"
- A story or case study can be more vivid and memorable than facts alone
- Know your target audience
- Assess their knowledge about the topic
- Understanding their needs and expectations will help you decide what to include in your application.
No-one is born a good writer. Learning to write well is a skill. It takes lots of practice and requires constructive, critical feedback. Use the exercises provided to develop and/or hone your writing skills.
Write for Your Audience
- Write for your reader and only your reader.
- Try to engage your reader.
- Do your research. Find out what your reader is interested in supporting.
- Read the funding guidelines and/or contact the funding body to confirm what you can and can't include in your funding application.
- Provide specific detail on what you will do.
- Do not exceed the word or page limits.
- Do not use jargon.
- Use simple words and terms readily understood by a layperson.
- Define any specialist terms that you use.
Sentence Structure & Text Format
- Keep sentences short. Short sentences (e.g., 5-6 words) can convey great emphasis.
- Write clear, unambiguous sentences.
- Do not use dense blocks of text.
- Use headings and white space.
- Use dot points, indents, tables.
- Use graphics and images.
- Place your key points up front, then expand. Do not make your readers work to get to the main thrust of your proposal.
- Ensure a clear logic flow.
- Read your proposal out loud to ensure that it is clear.
- Always check and correct grammar, syntax and tense.
- Provide relevant references. The requirements for references for proposals are not usually the same as for journal articles. The usual requirement is that the assessor should be able to find the source of the information you provide.
Websites with Writing Exercises
Complete the activities below by entering text into the fields provided and/or completing the attached documents. If you download and complete an attached document, you will have to save this to your personal file.
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