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How to Use Generative AI in Grant Writing

Laptop computer with AI image on screen

Recently, there has been a lot of buzz around the use of generative AI in different sectors, and the nonprofit sector is no exception.

In grant writing, the emergence of generative AI as a popular tool has been a game-changer for many. It has significantly reduced the time and effort spent on wordsmithing and thinking about how to answer the same question differently for various funders. 

Previously, grant writers had to complete ten or more grant applications on a similar topic to different funders, each with slight differences in how they ask the same questions. However, with generative AI, they can now quickly adapt their text to fit the requirements of different funders while still maintaining the same context and meaning.

While I am old school in my approach and believe that grant writers should start with their original text before using generative AI, I am not against its use. I have found it to be incredibly helpful in many ways. For instance, tools like Grammarly can help improve the original writing of a grant writer and enable them to focus more on the context than having perfect grammar on the first try.

Four Ways to Use Generative AI in Grant Writing 

  1. Generative AI can shorten grant narratives to meet word or character counts: Some grant applications require three pages of text for an answer, and others require 100 characters. How do you quickly transition between the two? Many grant writers, myself included, find it challenging to narrow an expansive topic down to just a few sentences. Generative AI can be helpful in this regard. It can take your text and shorten it to just a few sentences. This feature saves me a lot of time.

  2. Generative AI can make your existing text more persuasive: Generative AI can turn a formal grant narrative, say one written to a government agency, into one that is inspiring or compelling. This feature is useful when adapting part of a federal grant application into a corporate grant narrative or a letter of interest document. You can even use it to create fundraising appeals. I always try a few ways to get the right tone, and I often take pieces from their suggested narrative to make it my own.

  3. Generative AI can help your grant writing be more direct: Grant writers are very good at elaborating on a topic, which is a valuable habit when you need to write long grant narratives. But what about when the text needs to be shorter? Or you may be preparing for a meeting with a potential grant funder and only have a few minutes to make your case. Generative AI can make the writing more direct by removing additional language you don't need. Generative AI can find areas of text that you can cut within your grant writing.

  4. Generative AI can find gaps in your writing: I need to figure out how they do it, but the algorithm can read your written text and figure out the main point of your writing—a helpful feature when responding to grant questions. You can easily see if you missed points or if some areas need additional context.

Are there any downsides to using AI in Grant Writing?

While generative AI can be an effective tool for editing or providing a second opinion on your writing, it's essential to be aware of the potential downsides of relying on technology.

One of the most significant concerns is the reliability of the data used by AI. While it can help analyze large amounts of information quickly, an independent review of the data is crucial to ensure it's trustworthy. Additionally, AI may only sometimes be able to interpret data accurately, which can lead to errors and omissions.

Another potential issue is the risk of losing your organization's unique voice when using AI. While it can help generate content, it may only sometimes capture the tone and style unique to your organization. Therefore, carefully review AI-generated content to ensure it aligns with your organization's values and goals.

Finally, you should be mindful of how grant applications' sensitive or proprietary information may be stored. While AI can help generate content quickly, protecting sensitive data from unauthorized access or disclosure is critical.

Using AI in grant writing can be a valuable tool, but be aware of the potential risks and take steps to mitigate them. Doing so can improve the quality of your grant applications and increase your chances of success.

Want to learn more about how Sidnae Global Research can help you apply for grants? Please fill out our simple 5-question survey here, and we will contact you within two business days.

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