Use Graphics to Communicate Effectively in Your Grant Proposals

Good proposals include good graphics that visually depict your organization, your proposal team, and your response to grant guidelines.  As Mike Parkinson of the 24 Hour Company has pointed out, your graphics must be interesting enough to hold your reviewers’ attention and yet must be clear and simple enough to communicate your major points.

The right graphics can improve your grant proposal.  According to different studies, good graphics:

  • Take 40 percent less time than text to explain complex ideas.
  • Improve retention 38 percent.
  • Communicate up to 60,000 times faster than text alone.
  • Improve learning 200 percent.

Parkinson recommends that you use these kinds of graphics to convey your major points:

Bridge graphics:  this is a picture of a metaphor that depicts the connection between actions, concepts, or entities.  It can be used to show transitions, operational flow, and systems integration.

Chain graphics:  this picture depicts linked sections, concepts, or entities by literally using chains to show the connection between different organizations or activities.

Conveyor belt graphics:  this is picture of a repeatable linear process.  It effectively shows forward movement as a series of steps.

Dashboard graphics:  this picture presents multiple metrics in one consolidated picture.  It presents a holistic view of related information.

There are many other kinds of graphics that can bolster understanding and persuasion.  Visit the following Web sites to get ideas for good grant proposal graphics:

You need fresh and striking graphics to create interest and communicate your ideas effectively.  Although many grant proposal professionals are text oriented, persuasive proposals should include plenty of visuals – pictures, graphs, tables, and charts – that are integrated with their texts and that have action captions to keep emphasizing your major features and benefits.

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