One Word Your Nonprofit Might Be Misspelling

I can’t even begin to list the grant proposals in which I’ve seen some variation of the following sentence:

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Most of Grant Writing Is Not Writing: My Process

The term “grant writing” is a bit of a misnomer, as it makes the process of developing a grant application sound limited to typing up a draft. In reality, crafting a grant proposal is a complex process that involves many steps before real writing takes place.

Here’s my process:

Continue reading “Most of Grant Writing Is Not Writing: My Process”

One Word to Stop Using in Professional Writing

Whether you’re writing a cover letter, grant application, or professional report, “etc.” has no place in formal communication.

Picture some of history’s and popular culture’s most enduring quotes with the addition of “etc.”:

“That’s one small step for man, etc.”



“I’ll get you, my pretty, etc.”


If you’re still tempted to use “etc.” in your writing, imagine replacing it with, “I couldn’t be bothered to complete this.”

The one exception is the case in which you are writing to an audience that you are absolutely sure will understand what you mean, in which case you may choose to shorten a long list with “etc.”

Verbosely: 3 Quick Tips for When Your Writing Is Too Long

  1. Start with the paragraph with the shortest final line. The shorter the final line of a paragraph, the less editing you need to do to remove an entire line of space from your text.
  2. While “38 percent” almost always looks more polished than “38%,” I’d suggest using the latter when five minutes is the difference between “Submitted” and “Late.”
  3. If I’m almost out of time to cut down a grant application, or any piece of writing, my last resort is axing the adverbs. Do a search with Ctrl+F for “ly,” delete the offending terms, and you’ve cut out a significant amount of fluff that did not need to be there.