Honest proposal writing: Part IV “Whipped Cream”

One of the strangest compliments I have received n my short career as freelance fundraising adviser is that I’m very good in taking a bit of milk and changing it into whipped cream. But, honestly speaking, even though whipped cream makes proposals look great, I wish I wouldn’t need it. Let’s discuss some examples of ‘whipping’.

Imagine your project is about training social workers to be better equipped in their work with problematic youngsters. Imagine the project looks at some successful methods from different countries, documents and published these methods on a website and then has a series of training events to spread them. Normally, I feel, this kind of paragraph should do.

I do apologize to all reviewers who have had to deal with what I am about to make out of the simple, and handsome paragraph, above…

Social workers who work with troubled youngsters across Europe have at the core been able to provide their own methods – often tailored to their local context and content-sensitive. There is limited cross-border exchange among them which forms a particular bottleneck for effective knowledge-development. Our project entails a comprehensive exchange of best practices, rooted in local methodologies. An initial phase of structural documentation, and online free-of-charge publication serves to deliver high quality in situ  cross-border capacity building and professional development programmes which facitate the active and shared learning of the social workers across Europe.

Maybe this wasn’t that bad. I don’t know. Is the ‘whipped cream’ really needed? Do words like cross-border, professional development and capacity building really mean anything, or are they more often (mis)used to just be/sound sophisticated where what we actually want to say is simple: We will train people.

One Reply to “Honest proposal writing: Part IV “Whipped Cream””

  1. On your topic, I wonder if this is not also part about how we like to view ourselves. As someone from a non-EU country, one of the hardest parts of working on the margins of, and later closer towards the EU bubble, is learning all the damn language/jargon that means absolutely nothing to your average Joe.
    This language has been created by highly educated people in rich institutions. Unfortunately, much of this language distances the “political/institutional” elite from the “normal citizens” in that it means nothing to an untrained eye/ear. And unfortunately, people working within these bubbles are more likely to approve applications that “understand what the institutions/initiative is about”, which I guess is part of why you are so successful. You master this jargon. And that is totally fair. You are playing their game, and you are good at it.

    Anyway, I am not quite sure where I wanted to go with this, but I will post the comment anyway.

    All the best.


    The column asking for the “Email” to comment here, has a typo.

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