You understand the need for advocacy. You deal with it everyday. You know it like the back of your hand and it’s why you do this job. So you should be able to tell funders about it really clearly and convincingly. Right?
So why is poor communication of need one of the top 5 reasons for rejection?
It’s because when you work with the need every day it’s easy to end up desensitised to it. And if you’re desensitised then it’s harder to communicate the nuances, subtleties and real life impact of it in a convincing way. This happens to everybody and it’s inevitable.
Your bid needn’t suffer though. There is a way to overcome it but it’s still a bit of a secret.
Why is it still a secret?
Even though all grants and funders will tell you to do this it’s still a secret because most of us either ignore or don’t fully understand it. We believe that as advocates who’s job is to listen to people’s wants and needs every day we already know what their needs are and how to meet them.
The secret is to go out and talk to the people you are trying to help.
Simple as that.
Now at this point you’re probably saying ‘but we do that every day and we always do it if we’re putting a bid together’. Great. But who’s doing the talking? Is it you as the bid’s writer, or is it someone else on your behalf?
My bet is it’s someone else.
Would you advocate for a client based on what someone else told you about their needs?
So why do the same with your bid?
Anyway, if you want to convince your funders you’ve got to be convinced yourself. Sure, you can tell me that you’re already convinced, otherwise why would you be doing this job?
But I’m talking more than 100% convinced though. I’m talking about the powerful feeling of conviction that you get only after you’ve heard a client’s moving story for the first time or when you’ve just scored a righteous triumph over the system for them. This is the feeling you want your potential funder to feel when they read your bid.
Get out and talk to the people who need you most
That means you’re the one who needs to talk to people about their problems, the issues behind them and what would solve them. By taking time to directly listen to people just to hear their story you’ll be re-sensitised and receive all of the gritty real life evidence of need you require.
You’ll go through the process of being convinced all over again. This will transform the feel and quality of your bid. It will help you to write a far finer, more passionate and ultimately more convincing portrayal of the need for your service than if someone else did it for you.
Advocate for their need through your bid
So get out from behind your keyboard, talk to the people who need an advocate, hear their stories and let yourself be their unfiltered voice. Advocate for their needs through your bid. Through you your funders will come to understand the full impact of the problem you’re trying to solve in all its nuances and glories. You’ll be well on your way to convincing them to fund you.
Don’t worry there’s still a need for facts, figures and other opinions to back up your need! We’ll deal with those next week 😉
Don’t be a shy advocate. Leave your comments and questions below. I’ll personally reply to each one.