Harnessing the Power of Words for Your Grant Writing

The proposal is your only chance to connect with funders. Make sure it’s written to inspire and persuade with these tips:

Use Empowering Language

You have a responsibility to represent your students and community to potential funders. Providing a complete and truthful picture is very important. While you’re writing a proposal to address a specific need, you also know that your students are capable and resilient whether your proposal is funded or not. Keeping a focus on your student’s and community’s strengths can help to create an empowering partnership between you and the funder. Read more about using empowering language in grant proposals.

Use Inclusive Language

Using language that reflects how people self-identify shows respect for them and their culture and lends power to their voices. The right words can help open people’s hearts and minds, while others can create distance or confusion. If you are writing about people with disabilities, you may want to review the Disability Style GuideAn Ally’s Guide to Terminology is designed for new allies who want to support LGBT people.

Use Power Words

Power words can make your proposal stand out from all the rest. These words help you to connect emotionally with your funder and motivate them to support your proposal. Here are a few power words you can use:

  • Imagine: Instantly paints a picture in the reader’s mind and creates a tangible image of how supporting your proposal could benefit the funder.
  • Investment: Investing is associated with having a return whereas words like “donation” don’t have that implication. This word helps you illustrate to the funder that they’re investing in your school, classroom, and community.
  • You: Addressing your reader directly makes your writing sound more personal and direct. You want the funder to connect with your proposal.

If you find that your writing sounds repetitive or that you can’t find just the right word, try using Thesaurus.com for ideas. Start a list of your own power words to use in your proposals.


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