While grant writing can be challenging, the hard work will pay off if you learn to do it well and your organization receives a grant. We have provided some practical tips and strategies below that can help you write a strong, successful grant proposal.
Information courtesy of Alice Ruhnke, President of GrantStation
Grant reviewers may be volunteers or staff members. Make their job of understanding and scoring your application as easy as possible.
Following the directions provided by a funder will show them you are ready to accept the responsibility that comes with a grant and follow-up reports.
Funders want to hear about how you affect change, your impact on the community, and solutions to community challenges.
When applying for a grant, make a list of all the documents that need to be submitted, tasks that need to be completed, people responsible for each task, and a due date for completing tasks.
Most funders require you to attach certain documents to your application in addition to the project narrative and budget. Be sure to allow time in your grant writing schedule to collect these attachments, which may include:
The 80/20 rule states that 80% of your time should be spent planning for the grant application and only 20% should be spent writing. Without planning, the narrative can get confusing, the information may not connect to form a coherent story, and the process can become frustrating.
One of the most important sections of an application is where you demonstrate the community need in relation to your project. You should clearly describe the community, define the condition or status of the people you serve, and explain why that condition or status exists.
When tackling the program description, think about where you are spending the money you are requesting. This section should mirror the budget — not in financial form, but through a descriptive narrative that explains how the funding will be used to achieve your outcomes. Everything in the budget should be explained here and the information should match seamlessly.
Consider these questions:
The program description section may also request information about evidence-based practices relating to the program, a timeline, description of key staff and volunteers, or an explanation of partners and their roles.
Funders will often ask a sustainability question regarding how the program will be supported after the grant period ends. Some ideas to build sustainability into your programs include partnerships, diversifying funding sources, and developed earned income streams. Partnerships can help defray costs, build on community assets, and use what already exists to support your program.
The budget and the project description should mirror one another. In the description, write a narrative of how you are going to spend the money. In the budget, demonstrate in financial form the money you need to carry out the activities in your description.
Click here to view a sample budget.
If your nonprofit organization frequently seeks and applies for grant funding, you may want to consider purchasing a membership to GrantStation.com. The site provides searchable databases, strategic planning tools, and step-by-step writing tutorials to help you find grants, build your programs, and write award-winning proposals.