16 Tips for Writing Grant Proposals that Stand out in a Crowd
When it comes to writing grant proposals, the more you know the better the odds are of a successful outcome. These grant writing tips will help you create the best possible grant proposals for your needs.
1)Ask if any classes are available to provide assistance on the grant writing process. Many government funding agencies do offer classes or workshops to assist with the application process. Taking advantage of these classes will help ensure that you provide the necessary information. They also allow you the opportunity to ask real people any questions you might have about the application process.
2)Be honest and specific about what you want from the grant and how it will be used. There is nothing to be gained from misleading or stretching the truth. Vagueness in a grant proposal is almost certain to illicit a negative response.
3)Have facts, figures, and charts to back up the information you provide. The more facts you include in the proposal the better. You want to provide the review board for your proposal with a sense of comfort in awarding the grant to you or your organization. The more evidence you have to state your case, the better case you will make.
4)Do a little legwork ahead of time. Something as small as making a phone call to the contact person for the grant can provide a wealth of information and suggestions that will be invaluable as you apply for the grant.
5)Pay attention to the little details. Sometimes it comes down to the proposal that dots the “I’s” and crosses the “T’s” best. If it comes down to a choice between awarding a grant to two strong competitors it will often become a matter of which proposal most closely followed formatting guidelines or provided all the proper information that was requested. Make sure yours is the one that comes out ahead when it comes to the small details that often matter more than you realize.
6)Know the grant rules before you apply. There are plenty of grants that have very specific inclusions and exclusions. Some grants also require matching funds from other sources or independent matching funds in order to be issued. It is much better to find out the facts before you begin the laborious grant writing process rather than when you are well into the process of writing the grant.
7)Have clearly established goals and objectives before you begin the grant writing and/or application process. When you know what your goals are you in a much better position to convey them to the governing authority that assigns that grants you are trying to get.
8)Write grant proposals that are specific for each grant. It’s like throwing rocks to try and catch a fish to send one proposal template to multiple foundations or organizations. You need to write a proposal that is specifically designed for each grant you apply for.
9)Let the committee know what you will do with the funds if awarded. Be specific and be actionable with your words. Avoid passive language in grant writing at all times. It paints a much better picture for the awarding committee when you use action words and avoid qualifiers.
10)Keep it short and sweet. You do not need to write a novel in order to get the grant. Keep your grant heavy on relevant information and short on filler text. It will show the committee that you value their time as well as you value your own.
11)Establish your need from the beginning. It’s important that you establish your need or the needs of your organization early in the grant proposal. Without establishing a realistic sense of urgency and need you can’t really expect organizations or the government to hand over copious piles of money (as nice as that thought may be).
12)Pay attention to grammar and spelling. These things do matter even though you’re not back in grade school. This is a time where you want to appear to be a professional from the very beginning. Your words, the spelling, neatness, and grammatical correctness make a first impression. Make sure your grant makes a great impression.
13)Draw a map for the grant committee of where you plan to go with the funds they offer. There are people on the other side of your grant proposal. If you paint them a picture they can see about how you will use the money and what the end result of that use will be, they will have a much better time seeing themselves award you those funds. Paint a very human picture about how the money can be used and they will often share your vision.
14)Double check, once the proposal is written, that all the information required by the guidelines is included in the proposal. This is one of the most important steps in the process. If you do not have all the necessary information you just might discover that you’ve wasted a lot of time and energy to no avail. These organizations do not ask for specific information without reason. If it isn’t included then they often simply cannot award you the grant money no matter how deserving you or your organization may be.
15)Show the committee that you have put a lot of thought, time, energy, and planning to your proposal. The powers that be want to know that you’ve put a lot of energy into planning how the funds will be used for the betterment of your organization, your fellow man, or yourself (depending on the specific type of grant). One of the best ways to show this is by including a precise plan that offers specific details about what you will do with the funds and how that will impact the goals you’ve already outlined.
16)Follow up with the contact person for the grant. There is some truth about squeaky wheels getting oil. You do not want to be obnoxious about following up but it is a good idea to touch base with the awarding contact person. Even if you are denied the grant it’s never a bad idea to request feedback and/or constructive criticism.
These grant writing tips may not get you every grant you apply for but they will greatly improve your odds of being awarded grants that can make a huge difference in your financial future.