On Thursday of last week, a PR professional came to speak to my PR Tactics class about her experience in PR, specifically with grant writing. 

Here are a few of the tips she gave:

  1. Document everything. When applying for grants, people want to see a paper trail a mile long. Save receipts, documents and everything in between. 
  2. Don’t be afraid to research. A lot of times, you’re going to need to educate yourself on the specifics of writing. In addition, research helps a lot in retrieving and maintaining stats (bringing me to my next point…)
  3. Keep up with numbers. Know attendance of events, the economic development your events spurred and any other measurable sign of success.

To go along with Burton’s list, here are a few more to add to that, found at npguides.org, a site designed to specifically aid non-profits. 

  1. Prove that you have a significant need or problem in your proposal.
  2. Deliver an answer to the need, or solution to the problem, based on experience, ability, logic, and imagination throughout your proposal. Make sure your proposal describes a program/project for change.
  3. Answer these questions: Who are you? How do you qualify? What do you want? What problem will you address and how? Who will benefit and how? What specific objectives will you accomplish and how? How will you measure your results? How does your funding request comply with the grantmaker’s purpose, goals and objectives?


Burton’s thoughts and anecdotes were very helpful. Her advice is definitely applicable to me whether I choose to go into PR, government and public administration or journalism. Just having an idea of what’s expected of someone in her position is great to know before thrusting yourself into any sort of event planning or PR project; you need to know how to plan your event, but you also need to have the business-sense to write grants as well as the knowledge to ask questions and do meaningful research about the outcome of events. 

Not having any prior knowledge of non-profit PR, the biggest thing I learned from Burton was the importance of legislative work. I had no idea how closely tied non-profit work can be to government and legislation. This aspect of non-profit PR sounds very appealing to me, as I have a passion for politics as well as communication. 

One thing Burton said that really stuck with me was: “It’s always good to be seen when you don’t need anything.” 

No matter what field you are in, this advice is gold.