Grant Writing Tips

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This is a guest post by Cristy Rodriguez. If you want to write for Daily Writing Tips check the guidelines here.

A grant is a simple request for funds that entails a description of a specific need and the proposed program that will fill that need. It is the applicant’s responsibility and goal to present a strong enough case to convince a possible funder that they are worthy of receiving a grant. There is a basic format that can be followed and used as an outline when putting a grant together.

Many funding organizations and foundations have different sets of guidelines that should be followed. It is important that you carefully research each foundation’s mission, area of interests and grant guidelines. Look to answer these questions and any others that seem relevant to your search.

  • What is their sole basis for setting funds aside for this call for proposals?
  • What program areas are they looking to fund?
  • Are they only considering awarding funds to certain entities (non-profits, schools, churches, etc.), certain geographic areas or populations?

Do not overlook their funding restrictions, some foundations list what they do not accept and or fund. Make sure your program and needs match with the foundations scope.

You must also gather information from the organization (who you are writing for) to help put the grant together. Meet with the organization’s key contacts to plan out a program design. Find out what kind of grant they are looking for, what important needs need to be met. What do they hope to accomplish through this proposed program? Discuss what their plans for sustainability are. The feedback you receive is quite vital to the grant layout and presentation. Gather materials on the organization’s background, mission and list of past and former programs and activities.

Once you have chosen a foundation and have gathered all your research materials, you are now ready to begin writing a grant. Most of what is detailed here is what foundations are looking for in a grant. The following can be used as a guide to get you started on the grant writing process.

1. Executive Summary- Usually one page

  • Proposed program summary
  • Solution- What the program will accomplish
  • Program cost
  • Organization experience and capacity- Brief statements to establish credibility with similar programs

2. Statement of Need- Two pages

  • Reason(s) proposed program is needed, supported with statistical information
  • Reasons the organization is the right candidate to fulfill those need(s)

3. Program Description- Three pages

  • Program design and implementation
  • Goals and Objectives
  • Methods- Steps taken to accomplish program objectives
  • Program Evaluation- The methods for reporting program results, by whom and when. How will you measure success? What are your plans for improvement?
  • Plan for sustainability- How will the program continue once funding is gone?
  • Program staff

4. Organizational Information- One page

  • Mission and History
  • Summary of past and former programs
  • Accomplishments

5. Program Budget- One page

Provide an outline of all program costs and expenses. Be sure to review their guidelines on what they do not fund.

6. Attachments- Varies

  • 501 © 3- Tax exemption letter
  • Organization Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation
  • List of Board members
  • Financial Statements
  • Letters of support

When you have compiled all these elements you will now have a basic draft or model to use for future grant writing projects. Of course, this is to give you an idea of what most foundations ask for. You should always follow their grant guidelines and instructions.

About the author: Cristy Rodriguez, former grant writer and a regular contributor to Associated Content.

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2 thoughts on “Grant Writing Tips”

  1. Some useful advice for seeking foundation funding.

    Here’s an old version of the presentation we use in our grant writing workshops (info based on high success rate writing grants, issuing RFPs, coordinating state grants programs, and serving as a federal reviewer):

    My number one, a-plus, best tip for writing a successful grant proposal: develop the evaluation plan BEFORE creating the implementation plan.

    Hope you find it useful.

  2. Good outline of what is required to prepare a grant proposal. When you are preparing your grant proposal, ensure that you clearly spell out the benefits of your proposed program to your grant provider.

    Undertaking a cost benefit analysis will help you flesh out the benefits to convey. Presenting a robust case is the key to increasing the chances of having your grant approved.

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