Yes, you can print your proposal out on your little desk top printer, then hop in your car and spend 2 hours driving to the funder’s office to drop it off. Or you can plan to get the thing done with enough of a margin to print it on the high quality machines at the copy shop and then spend 20 minutes (or less if you have them pick up) sending it by Fed Ex Super Saver.

Oh, but….

“I work better under pressure”
No. You don’t. This isn’t college. You have just robbed yourself of those last 2-3 reads, as well as the all-important read by someone you trust who knows nothing about you. You have used up any time to fix the mistakes that are always there, or gather that attachment that’s hard to find. Also, program officers hate last minute deliveries.

“I have to work at my regular job. I have kids to feed you know”
And don’t quit that job, because the one that the funding is for is never going to pay, because you’re going to miss deadlines. Plus everyone’s got deadlines, and everyone’s got some version of kids to feed.

“It’s not my fault. X was supposed to give me a document/proofread/authorize”
This is legit, and annoying, but not an acceptable reason for last minute. Three days out at a minimum you should be on the phone saying “Where is X” in increasingly shrill and panicky tones. I tell clients to shoot for a 10-day window. The NEA has actually codified this: you have to submit 10 days before the deadline, or it won’t go through (which makes you wonder if that word means what they think it means).

“Oh, they accept late entries.”
Aaaand, no. They don’t. Especially the increasing number with online portals. They shut that sucker down at 5 p.m. and 1 second. Overwhelmed program officers will put your proposal straight into the circular file if it’s late. They have enough proposals to read without bothering with the one that couldn’t be bothered to submit on time. For that matter, your just-under-wire proposal just went to the bottom of the pile.

“I’m not very organized”
What, are you 12? Grownups are organized. They use calendars. They plan ahead. They prioritize. They GTD. Your mother is not here to remind you to do your homework.

“Well, I’m not a grant writer.”
And yet, here you are, writing grants.

What’s your excuse?

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