Writing an effective grant proposal could be the difference between hosting another walk-a-thon and expanding your local charity. Grant is simply the amount of money or fund that is awarded to an entity or a person that does not require a payback. It is important to state that grant sometimes have eligibility requirements that is expected to be met so as to qualify for the grant in the first place. With grants playing an increasingly important role, it is becoming a fierce competition among applicants. Therefore, it is necessary that grant proposals are well written to standard to stand any chance of success.
There are often different format in writing a grant proposal. However, most grant applications request for similar information. For example, while some will have a list of questions, others may ask for the story of the project. Whichever format the grant proposal takes, there is some basic information common to standard formats. These include the name of the requester, contact information, grant title, amount requested, duration, executive summary, background of the project, goal of the project, project activity, expected outcome or the impact, implementation timeline and the budget. In some proposals, other necessary additions could include other sources of funding, references and letter of support.
Having an in-depth knowledge of a grant proposal and knowing the applicable format should make it easy to create an outstanding grant proposal. However, the following step by step outline shows how you can create a good grant proposal.
Step 1: Getting Started: You can get started by reading the grant application carefully. By doing so, you can highlight all the questions you are required to answer and any material you have to include. Then write a summary statement by writing a one paragraph description of your request. You can now create an outline by describing each step of your plan and organizing your thinking. Finally before you get started, it is important to determine if your project type is actually the type grantor actually funds.
Step 2: Write your first draft- At this stage, it does not matter how good it looks, just get your ideas on paper and every other thing will follow.
Step 3: Clearly Lay out Specific Goals – You proposal is expected to describe what the funds are going to be used for. Do this part with all level of clarity.
Step 4: Make it Shine- Now begin to polish your draft. Go through it over again and make sure your ideas are clear and the delivery is superb.
Step 5: Review the proposal and the requirements.
Step 6: Proofread your proposal carefully. Note that you are competing with other requesters for the same fund. Do not get yourself disqualified due to wrongly written write up.
Step 7: Add required supporting documentation- Define the project’s budget.
Step 8: Produce a budget summary and create a budget justification.
Step 9: Show that your participation matters.
Step 10: If other documentations are required, add them. For example, you may be required to produce a tax exemption certificate, financial or audit report. Keep them handy when creating a grant proposal.
Step 11: After doing all listed above, add a cover letter. A cover letter is simply a summary of your request which include the purpose of the project, the money you are requesting and should list the documents you have included in your proposal.
Step 12: Finally, proofread and edit again, double check them and make a copy for your files. Mail or deliver it in time so as to meet the deadline.
1: Ensure that the budget summary section is well written. You can summarize personal expenses by category such as purchased services, salary and fringes, capital, equipment, travel, communication, occupancy related expenses, indirect costs etc. It is important to note that “Other Expenses” should not be used except when it can be fully explained.
2: Many people make mistake by guessing budgets. This is absolutely wrong. Take the time to investigate research and evaluate the accurate expenses you are expected to manage. You will lose the grant at any sign of a guess work.
3: It is important to ask few people outside your organization to read your proposal and know if your concept is well understood. If they cannot explain it, then it is a sign your grantors will not.