Knowing how to write a grant is very important for a non-profit if they are interested in obtaining money in order to cover operating costs or to fund a special program or event. Non-profit organizations rely on donations and gifts from supporters in order to have the funding to maintain their organizations. Monetary support can be obtained from both government and private donors if a grant is written and approved for funding.
There are a few tips for grant writing that can help you make your company’s grant proposals outshine the others.
One of the most important tips is to be optimistic about the grant writing process. You must believe that you will obtain the necessary funds to keep your non-profit organization afloat.
- When you are writing with the mind frame that the money will come through, this optimism is usually reflected in the manner in which you are able to relay the worth of the organization.
- Individuals who believe that their organization has a fair chance at receiving grant money are more likely to write in detail about what they will do with the money and how the funds will be of benefit to the organization.
Companies that are in a position to provide grants to nonprofit organizations want to see that you have a passion for your cause and are willing to share your enthusiasm in order to obtain the money needed to support your non-profit organization.
There are a few other non-profit grant writing tips that you should be familiar with in order to effectively present your request for funding to organizations:
1. Present Your Organization to a Specific Audience - It is always best to market your organization to grant makers who are line with the specific objectives of your organization. For example, if your non-profit agency focuses on providing rehabilitation for homeless women, you should present your grant application to organizations that are geared towards rehabilitation, homelessness and women. It is very important that the goals of your non-profit are in sync with the mission of the grant maker.
2. Market Your Organization - Grant makers are very aware that non-profits need money. They want to know how an organization is going to utilize the grants in order to support a mission or goal. It is up to you, as the grant writer, to explain the current position of your organization and how the money will be used to see such goals and aspirations to fruition. You are writing a request for money but you are also selling the purpose of your non-profit organization.
3. Make Sure You Have a Plan - Grant writing is more than simply filling out applications for a request for funds to support your non-profit. The proposal that you present should be a detailed plan of how your organization will use the money in order to achieve certain objectives. Detailing your intentions for the money can put you ahead of others that are simply submitting a grant proposal as if they are submitting an application.Your plan should be short and to the point. It does not have to include a lot of details. It should be clear and understandable.
Reviewers also like to know about the sustainability of the project. They want to know how you will continue after their funding is gone.
As many as 90% 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.
4. Complete the Grant Application Thoroughly - It is extremely important that you complete the grant application as thoroughly as possible. All grant applications are different and you should take the time to familiarize yourself with application to ensure that it is completed correctly.
Following are the elements in a basic grant proposal. If you are responding to a Request for Proposal (RFP), pay close attention to all requirements and to any required format which may be stated in the RFP.
- Cover Letter: The cover letter is one page where you briefly give information about your organization, 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 information about funding you receive from other sources and the amount you are requesting in this grant.
- 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 each objective. 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 as well as all 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. Include a comprehensive budget including anything that needs to be purchased such as software, equipment or training. Include all sources of support: donations, volunteers, and even equipment that is borrowed.
Every grant writer can increase their chances of obtaining funding by proving that there are other organizations that are willing to back a mission. References are very valuable for any nonprofit organization that is interested in building their reputation in order to be able to receive funding from a variety of sources. Grant makers are interested in knowing that the funds will be used in the best manner possible.
Including references from other organizations or individuals that can attest to the worth of a non-profit is highly recommended.