Tips for writing for grants can help you be successful. Grant writing, whether it is to fund a non-profit or a special project, can be a tedious process. So, here is an overview of the process with some tips for writing for grants.
Grant Writing Basics
Following are the elements in a basic grant proposal. If your application is short, you may not need all the levels.
- Cover Letter: The cover letter is one page where you briefly give information about yourself, why you are asking for funds, and how much funding you would need. You also need to include contact information.
- Summary: The summary is also one page in length and includes the organization making the proposal and the purpose, method, and length of the project. The expected results of the project are explained along with the total budget. Include funding from other sources and the amount you are requesting.
- Introduction: The introduction is an overview of the history and purpose of the organization and the goals that relate to the grant proposal. Include accomplishments and the areas and population the organization serves.
- Statement: Next is the statement of the need or problem. Begin by explaining the big picture, explaining the problem or need in general, then go over the causes of the problem. Tell what is currently being done about the problem and where the current resources are lacking. Finish with an explanation of how your organization will fill those gaps.
- Goals and Objectives: List and explain the goals of your project and how you will measure when they are met. Also explain how your organization will measure the progress made toward those goals.
- Methods and Schedule: List what actions will be taken to achieve your goals and staff member’s responsibilities. Include information and the time frame for these actions.
- Evaluation: This is the process of measuring your progress on achieving your goals. Include the record keeping method that will be used.
- Budget: Use as much detail as you can and include actual estimates if you have them. Don’t over-estimate costs as the reviewers know the general costs involved. Include all sources of support: donations, volunteers, and even equipment that is borrowed.
Tips for Writing For Grants
Now that you have an idea of the grant writing process, you need tips for writing for grants to help you be successful.
- Know that 90 percent of the decisions by the reviewers are made after reading the cover letter and the proposal summary. These two pages need to be strong, concise, and stand out from other proposals.
- One question reviewers have is whether the project has sustainability. The funders want to know how you will continue after their funding is gone.
- Concise wording is crucial. You need to be short and to the point, and not include a lot of details. Your proposal must be clear and understandable. Make sure all the key points are covered.
- You need a detailed budget that is comprehensive. This includes software, equipment, and training, for example. Include anything that will need to be purchased.
- Make sure the proposal looks professional. It does not need fancy covers or several typefaces. Just follow the directions put forth by the funding organization. You are usually required to submit an original and a few copies. Sign the original in blue ink so it is obvious that it is the original.
- Follow the guidelines. If you are responding to an RFP, which is a Request for Proposal, pay close attention to all requirements.
- Read the rules in the Request for Proposal and use the same buzzwords that are there. Take words and phrases straight from their guidelines and the reviewers will take note. This applies in the reverse as well. For example, if they state that they do not give technology grants, then do not use the word “technology” in your proposal.
- Check out websites for help. Just search for the kind of grant that you are seeking and there is sure to be a site that offers help.