Did you know that you can use AI (artificial intelligence) to assist with grant writing? AI is a major topic of discussion these days, so it’s no surprise, I had a lot of questions. With the goal of assisting you with writing grants faster, Grantable helps creators, businesses, nonprofits, scholars, and researchers streamline the creation of their first draft. Using your previous answers, Grantable saves you time by drafting quality responses that you can quickly edit and approve. In this episode, Philip Deng, the co-founder and CEO of Grantable, shares how AI impacts the grant writing landscape, best practices for using Grantable, and more. He also chimes in on whether using AI for grant writing is ethical.
One of my newest projects is Grants For Creators, a monthly newsletter where I curate grants and funding opportunities for US creators, founders, and small business owners. Join over 2.9K subscribers using the newsletter to find new funding sources.
In Episode 107, I shared why grants are worth applying to and how to find grants to support your project, side hustle, or business. I also discussed how Baby K inspired me to launch the Grants For Creators newsletter and transformed my biz.
With that being said, I frequently apply for grants, and there are a couple of things I could streamline: 1) the Google Doc that stores all of my responses (ever) is a mess. 2) I struggled to find what I said in previous submissions, so I waste time recreating the wheel.
That’s all changing since I’ve been introduced to Grantable AI and other AI-powered tools that help analyze proposals and suggest improvements.
Listen to this podcast episode here.
In this podcast episode, we cover:
- [04:00] How AI is changing the grant writing landscape
- [05:15] Is using AI for grant writing cheating?
- [8:01] What is AI?
- [10:38] What sparked Philip’s interest in AI
- [16:50] Disadvantage of using AI tools
- [20:34] What is Grantable AI?
How To Write Grant Proposals Faster With AI
What is AI?
I think the biggest difference between AI and other kinds of software is the ability to learn. – Philip Deng
AI stands for artificial intelligence, a type of software that can learn and make decisions for us. It is given large amounts of data and is then trained to recognize patterns.
For example, if you give AI a million pictures of dogs, it can learn to recognize a dog in a picture by figuring out the patterns. As AI progresses, it’s also able to generate things for us. This is called generative AI and this is the type of AI that is being used to help with grant writing.
In summary, AI is a pattern recognition software that can make decisions for us.
How to use Grantable
AI is a hot topic of discussion these days. AI can potentially revolutionize many aspects of our lives, including grant writing.
Grant writing can be time-consuming, but you can write proposals quickly without sacrificing quality.
Can AI write grants? Yes, AI can write grants — but there’s a catch. While AI grant writing software like Grantable can create high-quality drafts, it requires using previous answers for context.
AI cannot write a well-researched, thoughtful grant proposal from scratch.
Grant writing still requires human input. AI won’t replace grant writers anytime soon.
Unlike writing an essay for school, where your teacher wants to see you have original thoughts and gauge your understanding of a topic, grant writers put a lot of thought into the narrative, telling a concise and compelling story.
Grant seekers are encouraged to use templates and boilerplate language for common components of grant applications like the impact statement, budget narrative, problem statement, and company description. They reuse their best answers from other proposals.
Instead of copying and pasting, an AI grant writing tool presents you with a clear and easy-to-understand draft that you edit and finalize, which can improve your chances of winning funding.
If you’re applying for a lot of grants, you want to reuse really good answers that you’ve already crafted for other proposals. AI is helping you take your leftovers and cook something new. – Philip Deng
Save time grant writing
Whether you’re looking for grant writing software for nonprofits or for-profits, here’s how Grantable works.
Grantable is a grant writing software that drafts answers for you to approve using your previous answers or boilerplate language. It saves time because you don’t have to start from scratch every time you apply for a grant.
Use Grantable to answer some questions or complete the entire application.
Philip Deng: “My hope is that if you can save a lot of that energy repurposing text, you can actually put that back into being creative. AI presents you with a draft. You’re more of an editor or the final publisher.”
Organize grant submissions
Most people store their previous proposals all over the place, and you don’t know where you wrote that answer, and you gotta go find it or dig through any number of folders or ask people. It’s nice to have an assistant who has everything there for you and actually is looking at the question you’re answering, bringing you selections it thinks are relevant to help you answer that question. – Philip Deng
Grantable also stores all of your writing, answers, and learns your writing style. It can then help you to quickly and easily respond to Requests for Proposals (RFPs).
When using AI for grant writing, it is important to remember that it is still a tool, so use it responsibly. AI is not a replacement for your creativity.
Disadvantages of using AI for grant writing
While there are a lot of benefits to using AI in grant writing, it’s also important to point out the disadvantages and limitations.
Rather than applying to dozens of grants all over the place, Philip recommends thinking about the obligations you have to fulfill with each grant. Applying for grants that are not well-aligned with your mission can be a waste of time and energy and can lead to negative results.
It is also important to consider how you will use the time and energy you save by using AI. Use those time savings to build relationships, practice self-care and team building, or even apply for two well-aligned grants instead of one.
Using AI to be more focused, thoughtful, and intentional can be a positive force. However, remember that quality is key. If you use AI to spread yourself too thin, you may not get the results you are hoping for.
Use AI to streamline and improve your grant writing process. Improve your grant writing skills by taking an Intro To Grant Writing Workshop to build your confidence and learn how to write grant proposals that get funded.
Read more about the key takeaways from this workshop here.
Lastly, Philip cautions that AI is not perfect. It is only as good as the data it is given and the context it is provided.
To get the most out of AI, it is important to give it good data. This will ensure that it provides accurate and meaningful insights. Also, always double-check for spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
If you use AI to spread yourself far and wide, you’re going to get shallow results. However, if you use it to be even better, more focused and thoughtful and intentional and energized, then I think it’s a very positive force. – Philip Deng
Conclusion: So, is using AI for grant writing ethical?
According to Philip, the clearest line that you do not want to cross when applying for grants would be to lie about the data, plans, or work you’re pitching.
If you let an AI fabricate an entire project or proposal and you submit that and receive funding, that would definitely be cheating.
AI-powered grant writing software does not substitute ￼￼the knowledge or the expertise of a skilled grant writer.
AI is still learning and may not be able to recognize all of the nuances of the grant writing process or your project. Always check your work and ensure your grant submission is accurate.
Overall, AI can be a great tool for grant writing improving the efficiency of creating high-quality drafts. However, it is important to use it intentionally and responsibly. By taking the time to provide good data and context, you can use AI to help secure more funding and continue making a positive impact in your community.
Listen to this podcast episode on Spotify.
Connect with Philip Deng
Who is the CEO and founder of Grantable?
Philip Deng is a grant expert, co-founder, and CEO of Grantable, a grant writing assistant tool powered by AI. While Philip doesn’t have a tech background, he has 15 years of experience working in the nonprofit sector and spent many years abroad doing nonprofit work in China.
As a skilled grants writer, he would repurpose proposal parts and develop drafts very efficiently. This became the inspiration for Grantable. Grantable helps streamline the grant writing process and helps save you time on grant submissions using previous answers or boilerplate language.
Philip, how did you get started with AI?
Philip Deng: “I have written a lot of grants. There’s so much redundancy, I was really frustrated.
I was actually working as a grants consultant looking for ways to be more efficient. I would take my clients’ prior proposals and break them up into chunks that I made searchable.
When they would ask me to write a grant, I would grab blocks of their text and put together a draft really quickly. They were impressed and it made my job easier.
In 2020 when a lot of us were hunkering down during the early days of …, I started thinking about that process and wondering if it could be a standalone piece of software.
Around that time, the company Open AI, which is the company that created ChatGPT released their language model, the thing that powers ChatGPT which is called GPT-3. And so I played around with that and had that magical feeling.
Because of the structured nature of grant writing, you always want to be very clear. You always wanna be concise. The questions are all quite similar. I thought, gosh, this really could help me do what I’m doing manually even more quickly.
The idea just kept turning; then, my partner suggested I join a startup accelerator. I never started a tech company before, but I got in — it’s really a community effort.
A lot of people gave feedback, gave resources, gave encouragement, and took me seriously. And over the course of about two years, the biggest development was meeting my co-founder Robert who’s an awesome software engineer. So he’s our CTO (Chief Technology Officer).
The two of us are sharing what we each know from our world. He’s sharing tech with me. I’m sharing grants with him. And so it’s become a really fun journey.
We couldn’t predict the spread of ChatGPT and how it would become this cultural phenomenon. But that really helped, too, because before Grantable was released, we were trying to explain to people how our software could make grant writing faster. Now because everybody has sort of witnessed AI or played with generative AI systems, they are seeking us out.
So it’s both very intentional and also a lot of good luck along the way.
Connect with Philip Deng on Linkedin: @philipdeng
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Danielle Desir Corbett paid off $63,000 of student loan debt in 4 years, bought a house at 27, and has traveled to 27 countries, including her favorites, Iceland, China, and Bermuda. Go here to learn Danielle’s incredible story, from struggling financially and in debt to finding creative ways to earn more and live on her terms. Listen to The Thought Card Podcast, where Danielle shares how you can creatively travel more and build wealth regardless of your current financial situation. Reach out to Danielle by contacting: thethoughtcard (at) gmail (dot) com.