Persuasive Writing Techniques

In a sense, much of grant writing involves making sure that the Ts have been crossed and the Is have been dotted. Another thing to consider is the language itself that is used to identify the objectives outlined in your proposal. Make sure that your writing is positive and upbeat. Instead of using wishy-washy words like “should,” “think,” or “might” — use instead strong, definite words like “will,” “believe,” or “know.” Here are some guidelines to follow:

  • Marshall your information. Each paragraph should have only one main point. You'll find your job much easier if you start with an outline; then, you can focus each paragraph of your proposal to drive home the points you wish to make.

  • Structure your argument. Coming up with a persuasive argument is not difficult; it just takes an organized approach. To begin, break your argument down into its basic components. This ensures that you won't miss anything along the way.

  • Start with your proposition. Your proposition identifies the problem you plan to address. For your own purposes, structure it in the form of a question. While you may not use it this way in the proposal, forming this as a question in the planning stages helps you come up with the analysis.

  • Follow up with facts and evidence. What information is important to address the problem you've identified in your proposition? When appropriate, include the evidence you are using to back up the facts.

  • Provide a thorough analysis. Don't jump to conclusions. Even though you may understand the rationale for your argument, within the proposal you must demonstrate to the evaluators that your argument reaches a logical conclusion. Demonstrate how the proposition will be addressed. Use the facts to show the evaluator what the positive effects of the implemented proposal will be.

  • State your conclusion. At the end of your analysis, your conclusion should demonstrate how the proposition is addressed and how its needs are met. Ultimately, this is the answer to the question you formed when coming up with your proposition. The facts and analysis simply show your work, illustrating how you reached your conclusion, as in this example:

Last summer, our county issued 175 citations to teenagers riding skateboards in unauthorized areas. The secondary parking area at the community college receives no traffic in summer; in addition, it is paved and includes a number of access ramps that would be of interest to these teenagers. Allowing this area to be used by summer skateboarders would provide teens with an appropriate place to participate in their sport, while saving the general public from the inconvenience of having to beware of teenagers whizzing by on skateboards. This action may also reduce the number of infractions that occur during the season. Therefore, allowing the community college's secondary parking area to be used as a skateboarding area would benefit the community at large.

While the proposition doesn't appear overtly stated in the passage, it can be inferred. Stated as a question, the proposition would read: “How will allowing summer skateboarders to use the community college secondary parking area benefit the community?”

Structuring your argument following these guidelines aids the evaluator in making a decision. Keep in mind that because you've helped him or her along the way by showing how the needs will be addressed, you're actually making the evaluator's job easier, which increases your chance of success.

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