Writing grant proposals can be as much art as science, and larger organisations will have specialist staff to help their researchers and staff through the process. But not everyone will have that luxury, and it’s very easy for someone with little experience to waste a lot of time writing a proposal that has no hope of being successful. In the best cases donors will give useful feedback to those whose proposal is not approved, so you can learn from your mistakes, but as often as not it’s little more than just ‘Sorry, your application was not successful this time’. So three cheers for the East Africa Research Fund for providing really constructive help and guidance to potential grantees to help them avoid the most common pitfalls. It’s in everyone’s interest that only applicants who really meet the fund’s criteria spend their time writing a proposal, as every application takes time to check and assess. Donors really do want to allocate as much of their funding as possible, and actively search for projects that fit their brief and have a good chance of succeeding. EARF’s Brief on ‘Common Shortcomings in Application Bids’ is a great example of a donor trying to anticipate problems before they arise, and giving their potential partners the tools and information to avoid pitfalls and common shortcomings.
To read the full Breifing please visit the EARF website.