The Proposal Writer's Guide to MSU (Making Stuff Up)

Getting the information from others that we need for our proposal--it's one of the grant professional's eternal challenges. We have all found ourselves facing that blank page with insufficient information to describe our project. Sometimes we have to do a little creative writing; we have to make stuff up. This is what we call MSU.

A proposal writer's MSU is reasoned and based on experience, knowledge and maybe even hours of study. Creatively inserting information into a proposal is a strategy to move the writing and planning forward. It has the added advantage of helping pinpoint weak areas in the proposal or planning. These will need additional attention from decision-makers on your team.

This lively session will give participants the tools to use MSU judiciously, ethically, and effectively. Through stories of real projects and actual examples, we will also identify strategies to avoid over-reliance on MSU. While MSU is helpful sometimes, the presenters will share how to develop skills and techniques that will help you guide program and other key staff into understanding what you need for a successful proposal.

Learning Objectives:
1. to recognize the value of well-placed MSU
2. to learn skills and behaviors that can minimize the need for MSU
3. to learn how to guide others into crating stronger (fundable) program designs

Benefits to the Grant Professional:
1. learning how to balance the role of the proposal writer with the role of program staff
2. enhancing one's ability to obtain quality proposal content from coworkers
3. developing stronger proposal preparation skills

GPC Competencies Addressed:

How to craft, construct, and submit an effective grant application
Strategies for effective program and project design and development
Organizational development as it pertains to grant seeking

Cheryl Kester is Director of Grants at Walton Arts Center in Arkansas and owner of The Kester Group, a firm specializing in federal grants and external evaluations. Since 1999 her proposals have raised almost $138 million. She loves speaking to GPA chapters, talking people into joining GPA, and riding her bike. A frequent speaker and trainer, she is a GPA approved trainer and the co-author of Writing to Win Federal Grants and the Writing to Win Workbook. She is also a GPA national board member.

Molly Throgmorton is Development Coordinator at Walton Arts Center. In her two years as a fundraiser and grants professional, she has helped raise and steward over $5 million in grants, $900,000 in corporate support, and $100,000 from fundraising events.