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Grant-writing workshop: How to get the most out of the time spent and resources

A workshop on EMS grant writing is an invaluable experience for new and experiences applicants


A grant-writing workshop is a great opportunity for new and experienced grant writers to have a free discussion with other professionals, exchange ideas and best practices, and see demonstrations or practice successful application methods.

Even if you’ve written dozens of grants you start anew each application. Simply attending a grant-writing workshop will expand your knowledge and improve your skills. Here are four tips to get the most of out your time.

1. Hold a discovery meeting

Before attending a grant-writing workshop, as part of the attendance approval process from your supervisor, ask your colleagues for suggestions and input on the high-priority needs of the organization. A discovery meeting could be a formal or informal needs assessment to identify problems or opportunities that you might not be aware of.

For example, you might be passionate about community paramedicine and plan to utilize the workshop to build a funding proposal. During the discovery meeting, as you explain your community paramedicine idea, you may learn of a greater need for a technology upgrade, such as a GIS system for vehicle positioning and tracking.

2. Have the right tools

As a workshop participant bring the tools necessary for you to excel. Many people prefer their laptop to write or take notes. However, I still enjoy using a good notebook and pen to jot ideas or sketch grant-writing processes. 

Grant workshops provide an interactive educational experience that has the potential to yield powerful results. Remember, you may attend the most elite workshop, but it is up to you to follow through with the information and skills you are presented with to complete and submit grant applications. Your notes and sketches will be a useful resource weeks and months later.

3. Come prepared to learn and contribute

Of course come prepared to learn. Also prepare and bring with you an idea you want to get funded through grants. Having an idea to work on gives you invaluable context during the didactic section of the workshop. Develop the idea into a project during the skill stations.

The process to develop your idea during the workshop leads to a great opportunity to problem solve with a unique group of individuals with varying experience. Other participants can give you immediate feedback, suggest funding resources and brainstorm other angles for success.  

If you have past experience with grants and would like to truly hone your skills, bring a past application. A past application allows others to learn from your work – successes and mistakes – and lets the facilitator give you detailed feedback.

4. Be open

"I have learned more from my mistakes than from my successes."
– Humphry Davy

During the workshop follow Davy's advice and be open to making mistakes. Making mistakes doesn’t seem like it would be much of a benefit to grant writing, but when you allow yourself to see things from others’ perspectives and understand your mistakes you gain the opportunity to "fail up."

The best grant writers learn from those they work with and understand that learning is a continual process. Be willing to learn from others and share your tips for getting the most out of a grant-writing workshop in the comments.

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