Alexis M Waide

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MRG: Grant Proposals

These sources are for my ongoing Management Resource Guide (MRG) project for LIS 2700.  The second topic for the course is Grant Proposals and Grant Writing.

Grant writing is something I’ve never done (until this class) and it has always seemed like a really daunting task.  I also thought one has to be a professional writer, more or less, to be able to write solid proposals that will actually earn funds.  The articles I found reflect these perceptions to some extent.  The library journal article helped allay a lot of my fears and the management article, though not from a management journal,  helped me laugh and relax about it by showing what not to do.  I don’t have as many library sites on their policies or procedures about grant-writing.  More often library sites had how-to pages on grant writing and I’m guessing information about institution-specific procedures is kept internal.  However, the other resources section has a lot of helpful resources for the grant-writing process.

Book chapter
Gordon, R.S. (2005). Managing Money. The Accidental Library Manager. (pp.218-219). Medford, New Jersey: Information Today, Inc.

Professional library journal article
Gerding, S. (2006). Writing Successful Library Grant Proposals. Public Libraries, 45(5), 31-33.

This article is written for the hesitant grant writer who is intimidated by the process.  I include myself in this group.  Gerding has a practical approach to an organized process for grant writing but it’s her encouraging tone that seemed really helpful to me – i.e. this is not a dissertation and you do not have to be the world’s most eloquent writer, remember that your reviewers are like you and trying to budget accordingly, most grant applications are similar or at least have parts in common.  One of the most helpful tips I came across in the article is that if really struggling with the process, ask the grant funders for successful grant proposals to look at as an example.  If they refuse, one can always turn to other libraries nearby that have had success with grant proposals.

Professional management journal article
Braun, B. et. al. (2010).  How to Fail in Grant Writing. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 57(16).

Okay, while technically not a professional management journal, I thought this article was too good not to include in my guide.  It’s a tongue-in-cheek look at all the things one can do to make sure a grant proposal fails utterly.  Though written by biologists, it’s aimed at a broader higher education audience and includes content-related tips like “Don’t explicitly state any goals, objectives, or hypotheses in your grant proposal” and “Make it obvious that you have cut and pasted sections from your other grants into this new proposal”; tips on style and format like “A single multipage paragraph is fine. Reviewers love 10-point, Arial-font, single-spaced type” and “Replace simple, meaningful words with polysyllabic behemoths… Don’t write ‘use’ when you can say ‘utilize’.”  Obviously the point of this advice to is to demonstrate what one absolutely shouldn’t do when grant writing.  I found it hilarious as well as helpful.

Library policies, procedures, and sites

  • Sample applications from the IMLS, sample grants from a variety of places including libraries. (Including Columbus Metropolitan!)

Other resources

  • Library Grants: Library Grants blog talks mostly about different types of grants, with posts focusing on a grantmaker and the requirements/qualifications for the grant.
  • Proposal Short Writing Course: The Foundation Center has a short tutorial on grant writing, as well as a host of other resources.
  • Library Fund Raising: A Selected Annotated Bibliography: A general annotated bibliography of library fund raising resources, put together by the ALA.  Includes a large section on grants and grantwriting.
  • Grant Proposal Writing: LibGuide on grant writing from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, has lists of books and websites.
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  1. Pingback: Management Resource Guide: Introduction « Alexis Marlene Stapp

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