Cause Inspired Media Grant Proposal & Online Marketing Guide

You’re passionate about a cause and want to do something meaningful with your life. You want to leave a positive impact behind, but you don’t have a clear idea of how to put your influence into action. Maybe you’ve always wanted to start a charity, or perhaps you’ve always felt strongly about climate change and want to do your bit to stop global warming. Or perhaps you’re passionate about animal rights and want to help end animal testing. Whatever your cause might be, you’re sure to find a way to express your passion in a productive manner that makes a real difference.

A few years back, I found myself in a similar situation. I’d always been passionate about animal rights and welfare, particularly horse riding. Every summer, I would take the train down to Sussex from London to spend a few days with my best friend’s family. We’d ride for hours across open country, exploring valleys and climbing hills. It was so peaceful, away from the rush of the city.

One year, I decided to do something more productive with my time while I was down there. I remembered reading about a program called the Media Project that grants gavetellers the opportunity to develop new projects and share their work with the world.

I decided to apply and was accepted. I spent the next year working on a project that investigated the issue of horse-riding-related injuries in Great Britain. The data I collected and analyzed was subsequently published in a major medical journal. I felt that my experiences as a grantee had prepared me well for my role as a researcher. I was able to approach my work with a fresh set of eyes and a truly academic mindset, which enabled me to analyze the data objectively and make well-informed conclusions.

I was fortunate enough to receive a prestigious fellowship at Oxford University. As a result of my research, I was also able to give a number of public lectures around the country. One of these was given at the Animal Welfare Science Summer School. It was there that I met Professor Susan Green, who is now my University supervisor. She introduced me to the world of academia, which I have come to appreciate and value greatly.

The Research Process

The Media Project is a unique piece of public sector funding that exists to stimulate and support investigative journalism. It was set up in 1996 and currently funds around 40 projects each year, on a wide range of issues, including science, technology, environment and transport. My experience of the Media Project was great. With a well-timed Google search and the advice of my supervisor, I was able to secure a number of interviews with key opinion leaders and gain invaluable insight into the minds and motivations of those holding influential positions in their respective fields. The interviews and analysis of the data enabled me to put forward a strong argument for the cause, which helped secure additional sources of funding and ultimately enabled me to complete my research.

The application and review process for The Media Project is extremely rigorous and calls for an in-depth knowledge of investigative journalism and public speaking. As well as a strong passion for your cause, you need to be able to articulate your plan of action and show how you intend to carry it out. The application for the 2019 scheme closed in February and the results were published in mid-June. To secure a place on the waiting list, you need to be one of the first 25 applicants for a place on the scheme in 2021. Good luck!

Presentation Skills

When presenting your research to an audience, whether it’s a fellow academic, a potential employer, client or even a horse-riding friend, you need to be able to convince them that your passion and insight into the topic is valuable. After all, they may not agree with you and your opinion may not be valued simply because you’re a woman or because you come from a different cultural background to that of the majority of the people involved in the conversation. Despite this, you need to be able to present your arguments in a way that is both objective and compelling, which is no easy task. It takes practice and a lot of courage – not to mention a healthy dose of skepticism 🙂

There are certain principles that you can follow to make sure that your presentation is both objective and effective. For example, you should:

  • Use concrete, quantifiable data whenever possible
  • Avoid using extreme or loaded language
  • Seek feedback from your audience members
  • Be prepared to answer questions and elaborate on your topic
  • Look at the existing literature, cite your sources and ensure that your work is properly referenced
  • Consider your audience’s needs and wants
  • Be able to defend your opinions and point of view
  • Be able to identify areas of agreement and disagreement
  • Be concise but not too terse
  • Use visual aids (diagrams, charts, etc.)
  • Be systematic and consistent
  • Practice and Reflect
  • Be able to give an accurate timeline for your project
  • Plan your work and work your plan
  • Use an outline, flowchart or Mind Map to organize your thoughts
  • Use a Case Study to illustrate a point
  • Have something to say, not just someone to interview
  • Incorporate feedback into your next project
  • Be able to follow a set of instructions or a structured approach
  • Be disciplined enough to stick to the task at hand
  • Be open to new ideas
  • Be proactive
  • Be passionate
  • Be excited
  • Be determined

There are a variety of different ways that you can get better at presenting your research. One option is to attend public speaking courses or workshops. These can help familiarize you with standard presentation techniques and give you a chance to practice presenting your work in front of an audience. However, if you’re looking to improve your skills quickly, then self-learning is the perfect option for you. You can take a class on how to write a scientific paper or investigate a topic, or even find a tutorial on a specific software or platform such as Keynote, PowerPoint or Google Slides. Search for “presentation skills” within your local university or community college and you should be able to find what you’re looking for.

The Findings

The results of my research are currently being considered for publication. Once I’ve had the opportunity to incorporate all the feedback and input from my participants, I will be able to draw some strong conclusions about the extent of the injury problem and the most effective methods for solving it. For now, I’ll leave you with a couple of nuggets of information. First, although many people may associate horse riding with a pleasant pastime, it’s a dangerous sport that leads to many injuries and sometimes, even death. Second, there is strong agreement amongst the scientific community that equestrian sports involving horses is intrinsically linked to the risk of injury or death. Third, there is a lack of public awareness about the risks associated with horse riding, which means that many people aren’t equipped to identify or understand these risks, or are simply not aware of them. Lastly, many of the injuries could be prevented through better regulation, education and enforcement of existing standards.