Five Tips for Successful Grant Writing

Posted on Nov 21, 2014 in Fund Raising, Nonprofit

Five Tips for Successful Grant Writing

Grant writing is as much art as it is science

Writing a grant proposal can be either a labor of love…or a nightmare that raises your stress level and keeps you awake at night. To strike a happy median, for all of the proposals that we write, keeping both our passion and sanity, follow these five simple tips for greater success.

First, and I cannot stress this enough, do your research! Foundations, (and the government as well for that matter), have specific priorities and guidelines for the grants they award. They go to great pains to elaborate this information on their website. When we do not follow their guidance, not only do we eliminate ourselves form the pool of contenders, but we also have shown ourselves to be people who don’t follow directions and leave the funders with the question, “can we be responsible with the funds.?”

Second, stress what you bring to the relationship. All grant funding is about partnerships. It really isn’t about you. It is about the lives that will change when you and the funder work together. Create a vivid picture for the funder about the impact they will make working through your organziation.

Third, be brief and concise. Particularly in this day of online grant applications, choose your words carefully and get to the point. Foundations are reporting that more and more people are seeking grant funding which translates into more proposals to read. Include essential information, told through a story where possible. Don’t belabor a point.

Fourth, answer questions thoroughly. This comes from my experience being a “grant reviewer,”(as we were called), for DESE many years ago. State and federal grants all award points to questions and are looking for certain information. Give them the information they are looking for as it applies to your program/organization. If you are unable to do this then this is probably an indication that you are not a good candidate for this grant.

Finally, be positive and enthusiastic. Writing a grant proposal can be lonely, exhausting, stressful and/or a number of other adjectives. Before starting to write, talk with some some of your clients or donors, to get back in touch with why you are doing this work. This shot of energy will renew your passion and focus your writing on the people whose lives you are working to change for the better.