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Word Clouds and Grant Applications

Lori Halley 24 June 2011 3 comments

I’ve always loved the phrase “word cloud.” And even though these have been a bit overused in the past, I have to admit to creating a few myself – including the visual in a recent guest post. But I think word clouds may now have found a whole new “raison d’etre.”

In an interesting post in the Nonprofit Professionals Forum on LinkedIn, Kevin D. Turner recommends organizations create word clouds to help develop more effective grant applications. He suggests that “by dissecting the grant requirement for words that appear more frequently in the source text you can make sure that your response highlights those requirements.” If grant seekers focus on the key words in their applications, Turner believes they will be “more likely to get through the filters and land on a decision maker’s desk for a real review.”

Other forum members came up with additional applications for using word clouds, such as:

  • creating a word cloud of your organization’s mission and using it for marketing purposes
  • making a word cloud from job postings to write more effective resumes and cover letters

I’m wondering if a word cloud might also help in creating more engaging membership or fundraising emails? What about helping create more effective news releases… or even blog posts!

Social media insights

So I’ve learned two very important lessons from this LinkedIn forum post:

  1. Sometimes even fun little applications can offer new and helpful insights
  2. It’s worth the time to at least scan pertinent social media sites – by listening and following you may find fresh ideas that might help with your day-to-day challenges.

Want to give Word Clouds a try?

If you are new to word clouds and want to try your hand at creating your own, here are some tools you can use:

Let me know if you find word clouds helpful and I’ll share your ideas and feedback with Kevin D. Turner and the Nonprofit Professionals Forum.

Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Friday, 24 June 2011 at 9:00 AM


  • Marshall Kirkpatrick said:

    Friday, 24 June 2011 at 6:34 AM

    This is a great idea.  Another example of something I've been thinking about lately: data visualization, visual communication, etc. aren't just eye candy, they are uniquely effective ways to capture and transmit insights from a dataset that wouldn't be communicated otherwise. I'm not quite sure how to say it yet, and maybe it's obvious to everyone else.  This is a cool example of that though.

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Friday, 24 June 2011 at 7:53 AM

    Marshall: I couldn't agree more - I'm constantly amazed at ways in which people are visualising ideas and data. Glad you liked the post.

  • Carrie said:

    Thursday, 04 August 2011 at 5:54 AM

    Thanks for sharing this! I just had a great time using these apps (especially Wordle - how pretty!) to visualize some recent job postings and applications I submitted.  Luckily, the key words matched - no wonder I got interviews!  This could be especially useful for me for presentations or report summaries for example.

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