Grant Writing Strategy: 5 Ways to be a More Effective Team Member

Grant Writing Strategy

5 Ways To Be A More Effective Team Member

 By Jenny Braswell

Being a member of a grant writing team carries responsibilities to other team members, your organization, and the people you serve. Much has been said about effective leadership. However, a good leader is nothing without a good team. As a team member, you have a vested interest and a critical role in making the grant writing process efficient and gratifying for all. How can you help facilitate the process and be an effective team member?

  1. Keep your mind on the goal.  Sometimes decisions will be made that you don’t agree with, but once the team has settled on a plan or activity or budget item, it becomes yours, too. Set your disagreement aside and work with what you have. Evaluate your reactions and suggestions in relation to the larger goal, and check your personal interests at the conference room door. Accolades and rewards will follow from the success of the team as a whole.
  2. Respect expertise – of others and your own. Each person on an effective team brings unique skills to the table. A good leader will mesh those together into a unified whole. As a team member, understand your weaknesses and allow others to fill that knowledge gap. Also know when your information and knowledge are critical and share them freely and with confidence. Get out of the way of others, give what you have, and let your leader worry about sorting it all out.
  3. Be dependable. Grant writing projects tend to be short-term additions to your normal workload. However, your team, your leader, and your organization are counting on you. If you say you will do something, make it a priority. If you are given a deadline, meet it. If you can’t take on an additional task, say so up front so it can be reassigned. The entire team has to move forward together or everything stops.
  4. Help keep things moving. Meetings, when used effectively, can keep a project moving with unity and purpose. You can help keep the team focused by knowing which conversations must take place during your time together and which ones need to be tabled for later. If one issue is consuming too much time during a brainstorm or working session, don’t prolong it. Suggest that the question be left open and explored further outside meeting time. Above all, don’t harp on the issue when nearly everyone else is ready to move on.
  5. Be pleasant. Deadlines can be stressful. Developing a plan for a project that lots of people feel passionate about can be stressful. Don’t make interactions with you stressful, too! When you are buried together under a mountain of work with a deadline looming, your teammates are your lifeline. Treat them with the respect and gratitude they deserve. Become the first person you would pick to join your own team.

Creating a strong project design and effective proposal involves a rapid cycle of brainstorm, research, draft, evaluate, repeat. An attractive proposal for a strong project requires completing that cycle several times. Be a team member who facilitates the process, and you will have a significant impact on the people your organization serves.