Good advice from those who know what they’re talking about is always helpful. Here are a few tips on preparing submissions from recent DPF Awardees.
Mary Berridge (2017) offers these tips when applying for a grant:
“Know your subject.This doesn't mean including lots of facts and statistics which can quickly get dry. It means knowing enough to write with convincing authority. That authority should enable you to make a strong case for why your project matters. The best way to do that is to use clear and concise language. Avoid jargon and theory. Imagine how you would feel if had to read several hundred proposals.
Even more importantly, avoid cliches. You want your readers to think about something in a way they hadn't before. Pinpoint what fascinates you about the subject and describe it in a way that makes it palpable. Specific, colorful and poignantstories will animate your writing.
A timely subject, while not necessary, can help pique jurors' interest. The same is true of having a personal connection to the topic.
This last one should be obvious- and yet I had to learn the hard way- proofread your title for typos!”
Brendan Hoffman (2017) sends more good advice:
“Applicants should really think deeply and critically about the meaning of their work, what it says, and how it connects to larger themes.Be clear in your thinking and then work very hard to make sure the grant application is written in a way that actually conveys the full scope and depth of your ideas. It's easy to put down lots of words that are connected to your project, but often we have so many ideas in mind and then the actual text of a grant application doesn't say everything it is meant to communicate. Make sure someone who doesn't know anything about you or your project can understand fully what you are trying to say.
That, for me, has been the trick. I'm not a writer but the process of writing is a great way to grapple with loose ideas to help bring them into focus.”
Thanks very much to Mary and Brendan for their advice. And…good luck with the submissions.