Amidst all of the requirements for completing an application, it is very easy to become lost, confused, or to lose track of simple tasks. While you may at times become frustrated, wondering whether you missed something or why you can not seem to find that one item that you need, chances are that whatever you are looking for is buried somewhere inside the instruction manual. It is not your fault. Some agencies appear to thrive off the complexity of their application process as what would appear to be a “got yeah” on tiny tucked out of the way technicality. We have a solution; four tips that have helped us over the years solve proposal instruction manual dilemmas.
#1. “Control F” is your friend: When in doubt, use Control F. The “Control F” key command is a beautiful function. It is the easiest and simplest way to locate whatever you are looking for in any document. All you have to do is press the “control” key and “F” key, type a keyword into the search bar, and you should be able to easily locate whatever it is you are looking for.
#2. Utilize the table of contents: While not every grant application will have lengthy instructions, many government grants, SBIR in particular, do have very detailed application packages that include a table of contents. The table of contents lays out all of the sections of the application that can very useful in locating what you need. It is like a store directory; it gets you where you are going much faster and with much less hassle.
#3. Write it down: It is very easy to forget the details of an instruction manual when you are knee-deep in the proposal development process. For this reason, it is important to write down any important dates or requirements that you find while reading through the instructions. Anything that you think you may need later on during the application process, bookmark it, write it down, highlight it, or do whatever you need to do to ensure that you can easily access the information when you need it.
#4. Save the instructions: None of the above tips will be of any use if you do not have easy access to the application instructions. This may seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised at the number of people that forget the URL of the instructions or wipe their browser cache. So save your self some time, rather than searching for the instruction manual each time you need it, keep it somewhere where you know you can get to it right away. Save it as a PDF, or print it out and store it; whichever way, having access to the instruction manual at all times will make it much easier to find the information that you need.
This post was written by our intern, Lindsay Robbins. She is currently an undergraduate senior at Towson University majoring in International Studies and Economics. At Towson University she has held several leadership positions including working with Model United Nations and as a Writing Tutor. She has also spent time studying and working in youth development organizations in Honduras and Peru. See more about Lindsay here.
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