Dr. Streamline on Character Limits

Dear Dr. Streamline

The organizations that apply to my foundation for funding have been grumbling about the strict character limits in our online application system. We put them in place because we were tired of reading long responses – and now we never have to!  Are character limits really so difficult for grantees?  And if so, why?


Joe Tersebetter


Dear Mr. Trsbtr,

The prblm w/charct lims is that they make u spnd inordinate time finding short wds & cutting content that u’d like to keep.  They make it vry hard, if not impossible, to use previously developed content stuff and to cut & paste.  Yr desire for brevity is admirable aok, but consider ways 2 limit length w/out forcing applicants to count charctrs.

1)      Give approximate word count or paragraph guidelines (ie: “your response should be approximately 200 words” or “please provide a one-paragraph response”)

2)      Provide sample responses of the ideal length.

sincerely dr streamline

Dr. Streamline

Dr. Streamline is also known as Jessica Bearman. She, along with her colleague Streamlining Surgeon Alice Cottingham, and a cohort of Streamlining Interns, are available to answer all of your streamlining questions. Together, they diagnose the good, the bad, and the mystifying, and prescribe cures for your streamlining woes.If you have a question about your own grantmaking process, or one that you’ve encountered, please write to Dr. Streamline at drstreamline@peakgrantmaking.org for a useful (and possibly entertaining) Rx.

  • Well one foundation we applied to
    that has character limits, was able to educate me to the fact that Microsoft Word counts characters as well as words. Still waiting to hear if we got the grant but at least I learned a new computer skill.