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Tips to Take When Writing a Grant Proposal

By Heather Brown
April 20, 2018

With more than 1.5 million nonprofits registered in the United States paired with budget cuts, the competition for grant money is at an all-time high. Writing a grant proposal that results in needed funds for your nonprofit is no easy task. It requires planning, research, and superb writing skills to curate a well-thought proposal that showcases your nonprofit’s mission and needs in a unique light.

While some nonprofits have grant writers on their volunteer team, for most organizations, grant proposal writing often falls on the shoulders of the executive director. If your experience with writing grants has resulted in no funding or you are new to the process, read the tips below before you embark on your next writing journey.

  • Educate yourself. Very few nonprofits ever write one grant proposal and then stop. For many, it’s an ongoing process which means you should educate yourself before leaping in. There are many courses available online that train you on the basics and how-tos of writing a grant proposal. It is also beneficial to read and review other grant proposals by volunteering as a grant reader before writing your own.
  • Do the research. Grants are backed by a funding source, and it is crucial that you understand their missions, expectations, and wants before creating a proposal. Review the company’s website, news releases, and other available information to get a solid understanding of their values and vision for the future.
  • Follow the guidelines. Read through all of the published guidelines before starting to write to better understand the rules and requirements for a particular grant since everyone is different. Reviewing this information upfront helps you organize your time and establish a writing/research timeline.
  • Match vision to vision. One of the reasons it is important to research the funding source is, so you can make sure your vision or goal defined in the grant proposal matches their vision. If your grant need matches the funding source’s vision, you are more likely to receive the requested grant money.
  • Show why you deserve it. Don’t be afraid to share your success stories by using examples of how grant money has helped you help your community in the past. Funding sources are more willing to award grant money to nonprofits with a successful track record.
  • Proofread and then proofread again. Too many nonprofits skip this step, but if your writing isn’t up to par, the grant reader is less likely to consider the submission. After you’ve reviewed your work, recruit the help of a colleague or expert editor to assure your grammar is top-notch.
  • Accept the outcome. Whether you receive the funding or not, you can learn from every proposal. Accept the outcome and take time to reflect upon the process. Make a list of what you learned and how it will help you with grant proposals in the future.

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