As a successful grant writer, I’ve learned to clearly articulate my need with respect to a grantor’s guidelines and principles. In every application, I study all of the conditions and criteria, and make sure that my proposed project fully meets every one of the objectives the grantor wishes to accomplish with its own money.
Because of that approach, I’ve been fairly consistent in securing grant funding for my projects and clients.
I’ve also come to realize that, while many other worthy requests and projects could also meet the grant requirements, if it isn’t articulated in their proposals, they are usually not successful applications.
Why? Because the grantor is interested in the best use of its money in the ways it has predetermined (and has openly declared) how it wants to invest it—as well as in the realization of its ideals. But if a seeker doesn’t understand and demonstrate how those concepts are met and incorporated into the request, then it simply doesn’t qualify for the funding.
This is how philanthropy conducts its business. And makes the world a better place.
In The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears (Zondervan), Mark Batterson retells the tale of two blind men that ask Jesus for mercy—to which Jesus responds with a pointed question: “What do you want me to do for you?” Batterson continues:
Seriously? Is that question even necessary? Isn’t it obvious what they want? They’re blind. Yet Jesus forced them to define exactly what they wanted from Him. Jesus made them verbalize their desire. He made them spell it out, but it wasn’t because Jesus didn’t know what they wanted. He wanted to make sure they knew what they wanted.
As a Christian, I’ve made many requests of God. But too many times I haven’t even followed my own advice in preparing a successful grant proposal. My requests have been too vague, or have not matched his principles, or have ignored his conditions and criteria. I’ve clearly been unable to adequately address the very issues in which he’s promised me assistance. Is it then no wonder that my prayers haven’t been as successful as I had hoped?
God has made no secret of his loving desire to provide us with every good thing. And as the creator and sustainer of the universe, not to mention owner of “cattle on a thousand hills,” he has no shortage of ability, resources or willingness to meet my needs.
Yet have I articulated them in accordance with his desires? Do I in fact know what I want and how to demonstrate that I know what he wants in granting my request? Do I realize that everything is ultimately for his glory and not mine? After all, it’s his resources I’m requesting for his purposes in a world he designed. He certainly has the right to distribute them as he sees fit.
Therefore, I must study and know God’s own declarations and promises. And as I refine my supplication, and become better able to demonstrate how his ideals are realized in granting my requests, my own success in prayer develops.
And that is how God conducts his business. And makes the world a better place.