The Proponent’s Library – The NonProfit Times
The submitter’s library
The development writer, faced with relentless deadlines and numerous notes scribbled by program staff, is certainly busy. There is, however, the risk of becoming a closed system – recycling previous language, replaying the “greatest hits” of previous proposals, cannibalizing what was once fresh.
Reading is not a luxury for effective proposal writers. It is a primary and essential fuel source for growth and strength. “Restocking your writer’s closet is a necessary part of crafting a lively proposal,” according to Thomas Boyd, chief editorial consultant at the Grantsmanship Center.
What to read? In addition to how-to books on the art and science of proposal writing, consider books that open new windows into your thematic areas or program priorities. Climate and environment? Under a “white sky”, Elizabeth Kolbert; “Extreme Cities”, Ashley Dawson. Education? “Teaching Unusual Common Sense,” Oakley/Rogowsky/Sejnowski. You’ll find new writing and new thinking on nearly every nonprofit mission, and whether you agree with the authors or not, these books stimulate your thinking.
How about books that help all writers write better? “On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction”,: William Zinsser; “Several Short Sentences on Writing”, Verlyn Klinkenborg; “The Elements of Style”, William Strunk Jr. and EB White.
Then there are books that talk about the essential art of persuasive writing. “The Age of Propaganda: The Everyday Use and Abuse of Persuasion,”
Pratkanis and Aronson; “Rhetoric, Persuasion, and Modern Legal Writing,” Brian Porto; “Political Writing: A Guide to the Essentials”, Adam Garfinkle and David Brooks.
Finally, some authors are fun to be around because they play with our perfect, well-schooled prose and shake things up: Richard Brautigan’s “Trout Fishing in America”; “Mrs. Dalloway”, by Virginia Woolf; anything by Tom Spanbauer; “Extremely strong and incredibly close: Jonathan Safran Foer. There are thousands of other books, the trick is to make room and time to savor them.
Proposal writing is non-fiction storytelling. The best in the business are able to tap into a well-stocked cabinet and come up with new images, new examples, new ways to engage readers and influence actions. © Copyright 2022 The Grants Center