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Novice Bid Writing Copy

Sometime this year I decided that it was time to do something for the community and gain some new skills and the perfect opportunity came up on the Thanet Volunteers Website – bid writer for the Monkton Nature Reserve. I thought this will be easy. When I finish with those bids, MNR will be rolling in it – treating themselves to nearly-extinct species and serving Frappuccino in their café. And – to be fair – I do have 20 years’ experience as a journalist and writer. But I was wrong thinking it was easy. Boy was I wrong.

Firstly, the shopping list for my first bid was extensive touching on things that I have never been involved with before such as planetariums and flooring – all rather mysterious to someone with a background as a travel and finance writer. And then there were the many needs of the reserve’s Trustees to consider. It seemed as if everyone had something they wanted to add but bid writing proposals have strict word counts.

I was kindly set on a course to help harness my skills and – in short – help me get my act together to raise the much-needed funds for the Reserve. It was a challenging day with lots of new terms to get my head round and the trainer on the course made it quite clear her opinion of journalists – e.g., it was not a good one. But writing a proposal for money is completely different to writing an article and asking for information. Whilst both are valued at the best of times – now at the end of challenging times – we hope! – the quest for funds is shrouded in a net of online maneuvering, schmoozing, and downright going cap in hand.

My first bid for the Heritage Lottery fund was complicated and fraught. Who would have thought nature would be deemed as ‘heritage’ and their website would confuse Bill Gates. But they do pinpoint their desire to help and note Thanet as one of the areas they are keen to assist. Simples! But, sadly, after consulting with the Trustees and hours drafting out a proposal they said nein danke. Well, it wasn’t as brutal as that. My contact did offer some guidelines to strengthen the application if we were to re-work it in the future and my new colleagues were very understanding. Let’s just hope my next bulletin provides better news.

Nicolette Loizou

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