The Grantwell LLC provides non-profit social service groups (including faith-based, community-based, and grassroot groups) with quality and affordable grant support, grant writing, and technical assistance.

Writing Resource Articles

Non-fiction Writing Tips:

By: Brianne Strozewski-Riley

Writing text for any type of document requires knowledge and ability or correct writing style and rules. While there are many tips and principles for good writing, there are a few basics that you can use to help make your writing efficient:   

Use correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation: This tip is still the backbone of any good writing. This concept aids in the flow of a document, reader comprehension, and author credibility. If you don’t know if your grammar, spelling, or punctuation is correct, consult a dictionary and/or style manual.

Be clear and concise: This means limiting your writing to only what needs to be said. Avoid using “fluff” to add more to your writing. Readers only want to find information, not decipher what is useful and what isn’t.

Use full sentences: Although writing needs to be clear and concise, it is still vitally important to use full and complete sentences that flow well. This principle also aids in comprehension of ideas.     

Use the active voice: Active rather than passive is always the way to go; however, there are some exceptions to this rule, such as when writing legal documents. It may be difficult to get used to, but using active voice will almost always improve your writing. To learn more on this concept visit:     

Confirm information is correct: A writer should never use incorrect or outdated information. Using incorrect or outdate information results in an immediate loss of credibility. To avoid this, double check all facts and use proper citations.     

Make sure all writing is complete: This includes sentences and main ideas. You should never leave a reading asking for more when writing a report or another piece of nonfiction.

Editing Tips:

By: Brianne Strozewski-Riley

Editing a document is as important as writing a document. A first draft is never a final draft, and editing should be done by both the writer and a second party. Editing a document provides a polished, professional piece of writing that the author can be proud of. There are a few tips that can be used when correctly editing a document:   

Avoid marking without a reference: A good editor must be able to back up their decisions. To accomplish this, always use up to date reference materials and use the reference materials to provide correct markings.     

Read the document multiple times: It is impossible to catch everything in one reading; therefore a good editor needs to read a document multiple times to ensure completeness.     

Keep information concise: Information needs to be clear and concise. An editor needs to recognize how to limit redundancy and wordiness to make a document easier to read without deleting pertinent information.     

Don’t just edit for grammar, spelling, and punctuation: While these are important editing concepts, there are other things that may need revision. Clarity and organization are just as important as grammar and spelling, and allow readers to easily scan a document by cutting down on uncertainty of information     

Use document design principles: Document design is a large part of editing. Many documents do not use proper design principles, and as an editor it is important to make the author aware of how to better design their document for easy reading

Easy Document Design:

By: Brianne Strozewski-Riley

The purpose of writing a document is to get an audience to read that document, and without effective documents design this can be an impossible task. Documents that are a single spaced mass of words are overwhelming to readers, and make finding information both hard and confusing.

To avoid these pitfalls, follow some simple document design principles that will make your document appealing to an audience:
Limit the number of fonts: A good document should only have two fonts a sans serif for headings, and a  serif font for body text.     

Use a clear hierarchy of headings: Throughout the document be sure that there is a clear understanding between first, second, etc. level headings. To accomplish this make each level heading rank differently with font size, bold, or italics. For example, a level one heading might use a 16-point font, level two 14-point font, and so on.     

Differentiate between bulleted and numbered lists: A numbered list should only be used to show rank or order, for any other list use bullets.     

Make use of white space: Everyone gets overwhelmed when viewing large blocks of text. To avoid this, use plenty of white space in a document. To accomplish this always use 1 inch margins, leave blank space after headings, and try putting chunks of information into a table for easy readability.     

Keep paragraphs shorter rather than longer: Long paragraphs are much harder on the reader because of the lack of breaks. To avoid this, try splitting a large paragraph into two or three smaller ones; however, remember to split the paragraph in logical areas, it may take some reworking but the end result will be better in the long run.     

Use a table of contents for longer documents: This rule generally applies for documents that are more than 10 pages (documents shorter than this usually don’t need to have an organized table of contents). The TOC allows readers to easily find the information they are looking for without having to scan a long document.

10 Things To Think About Before Pursuing Grant Funding:

By: Christina Ryder

Pursuing grant funding for the first time or for a new project can be challenging even for the best writers! Based on years of experience and success, there are 10 things to know before you begin writing and as you pursue grant funding:

Commit to Remaining True to Your Mission : There is often times the temptation to alter a program’s philosophy or mission in order to receive significant funding and while you certainly want to utilize funds to build on your success, remain true to what you do, your purpose and your service! No-one else provides your services in exactly the way you do!     
Build in Something New : Do not be afraid to try something new! It is often helpful before picking up a pen or lifting a finger to a keyboard to identify areas within your program that could be better, areas of need that perhaps are not being addressed comprehensively, and design a strategy (that will be carried out with the use of grant funds) to enhance aspects of a program that could use improvement or meet needs that are not being addressed by others in your community or area of social concern.     
Consider Partnering with Others : Funders enjoy collaborative and community-based efforts. If there is another organization in your community that offers similar services or provides services that complement your own, consider partnering with a group that, together, will allow you both to maximize your efforts and in turn, provide for a community-based response to a social need.     
Have a Comprehensive Funding Strategy : Grant funding can be very unpredictable! While grant funding should be part of a comprehensive funding strategy, diverse funding strategies that utilize a variety of marketing and fundraising methods are important for long-term program sustainability.     
Know Your Funder : If you know of a funder that would be a good fit for your program, do a bit of research. What have they contributed to in the past? How can you, with them, maximize their efforts and contribute to their mission?     
Utilize Volunteers and Board Members : When pursuing grant funding, connect with your volunteers and board members about the individuals they know that provide funding for non-profit groups. Some companies sponsor community giving campaigns where companies will match the funds donated by an employee, or at times, make a donation to groups employees volunteer for.     

Research, Research, Research : The best writers are always the best researchers! Continually research your area of social need. What are others saying? Is there new research that could be used as a program development or strategy guide? What are others doing that has been documented as successful? What are you doing that is different, similar or that takes these strategies to the next level?

Know Your Own Limitations : While it is important to ‘think big,’ know what you are capable of handling and what you are not. Remember if you are funded you will be required to produce and handle everything that you wrote and everything you said you would do! In short, be innovative but also realistic!     

Identify and Maximize Your Strengths : While it is important to identify areas of your program that could benefit from additional staff, additional development or additional resources, it is also important to identify your strengths! What do you do that has worked in the past? What sort of components could be used to maximize these strengths, expand or replicate these services, or disseminate these strategies to others?     

Follow Your Passion : Simply said, do not let the funding process guide you, rather let your passions, strengths and needs guide your funding strategy!

What You Need To Know About Funding Proposals and Other Marketing Efforts:

By: Christina Ryder

Combining successful marketing methods and efforts with current or prospective funding proposals is a significant aspect in long-term program or service sustainability. Benefits of utilizing such a strategy include:   

Presenting Common Language:
While grants are written specifically for a particular foundation or group, grant proposals can also provide a great deal of language that can be used (or modified) for brochures, media efforts, web copy. or fundraising campaigns. Presenting a united front (that is, using a variety of methods and avenues to achieving your fundraising goals) can assist you in raising funds potentially faster than the time taken to wait on a grant cycle.     

Presenting Common Interests:
Combining other marketing and fundraising efforts and using similar language in other written print will ensure that in addition to achieving your fundraising goals, you will present your program and efforts as integrated and well-organized.     

Presenting a Well-Organized Approach: Combining marketing, other fundraising and grant funding efforts produces not only an integrated approach but also a comprehensive funding strategy approach.     

Maximizing Additional Resources: Finally, combining marketing and utilizing a variety of fundraising methods provides your program or service with a variety of funding options. Grant funding can be unpredictable and while it is a good part of any funding strategy it is also important to utilize all avenues available to you!