Grant Proposal Writing and Foundation Funding

10-Point Plan for Standard Grant Funding Proposal

1. Prove that you have a significant need or problem in your proposal.

2. Deliver an answer to the need, or solution to the problem, based on experience, ability, and imagination throughout your proposal.

3. Reflect planning, research and vision throughout your proposal.

4. Research grantsmakers, the funders providing grants, the types of funds the grantsmakers award, and the types of grantseekers the grantsmakers award funds to.

5. Determine whether the grantsmakers and funders goals and objectives for grantmaking match your grantseeking.

6. Target your proposal to grantmakers appropriate to your field and project.

7. Contact the grantmaker to determine specific grantmaking guidelines.

8. Present the proposal in the appropriate and complete format, and include all required attachments.

9. State clearly and concisely the community's and organization's needs and objectives. Write well; use proper grammar and correct spelling. Prepare an interesting, unique proposal.

10. Always cover the following important criteria: project purpose, feasibility, community need, applicant accountability and competence.

11. State project logic, probable impact, money needed, and demonstrate community support.

12. Unless specifically requested by the grantmaker, omit the following unimportant criteria which can detract from the proposal: working relationships, advocates, minority status, social acceptability, prior funding, and influence of others.


The Ten Most Common Reasons Grants are Declined

1. "The organization does not meet our priorities."

Research thoroughly before applying.

2. "The organization is not located in our geographic area of funding."

Get the guidelines before applying, or at least check or your grants guide.

3. "The proposal does not follow our prescribed format."

Read the application information very carefully and follow it exactly.

4. "The proposal is poorly written and difficult to understand."

Have friends and experienced people critique the grant before you submit it.

5. "The proposed budget/grant request is not within our funding range."

Look at average size of grants of the funder.

6. "We don't know these people. Are they credible?"

Set up an interview before submitting the proposal and have board members and other funded organizations help you establish a relationship and give you credibility.

7. "The proposal doesn't seem urgent. I'm not sure it'll have an impact."

Study the priorities and have a skilled writer do this section to make it "grab" the funder. Your aim is to sound urgent, but not in crisis.

8. "The objectives and plan of action of the project greatly exceed the budget and timelines for implementation."

Be realistic about the programs and budgets. Only promise what can realistically be delivered for the amount requested.

9. "We've allocated all the money for this grant cycle."

Don't take this personally. It is a fact of life. Try the next grant cycle. Next time, submit at least a month before the deadline to give ample opportunity for questions and a site visit.

10. "There is not enough evidence that the program will become self-sufficient and sustain itself after the grant is completed."

Add a section to the proposal on your plans for self-sufficiency and develop a long-term strategy.

[Adapted from California Grants Guide, Grant Guides Plus, 2000. ]

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