- Understand the grant: Start by reading the guidelines and announcement carefully to know what the grant funder requires. Ensure your proposed activities, described needs, and budget align with their priorities. Check previous successful proposals and solicitations for reference, if available, and contact the program coordinator with questions.
- Create a compelling problem statement: Explain the project's purpose and how it addresses a specific need or challenge in your community or organization. Connect the project to the grant program's priorities and provide relevant statistics to support your argument.
- Provide context: Assume that grant reviewers are unaware of you as an organization. Provide some background information about who you are and who you serve. Specify context about where and who will benefit from the grant award.
- Include specific details: Grantmakers love details. Include SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely) goals for your project, the activities that will take place to ensure the goals are achieved, the people responsible for those tasks, and what makes your organization uniquely qualified to carry out the project.
- Adhere to the guidelines provided: Neglecting to comply with the application instructions can result in your project being rejected without consideration of the proposal you worked so hard to develop. Pay close attention to requirements regarding formatting, length, and other details.
- Use descriptive language: Avoid colloquial language or unique acronyms. Be descriptive since this may be the first opportunity for the grant reviewers to be introduced to your organization. In case you must use an acronym, spell it out at least once on each page of the application. Assume that grant reviewers are unaware of common field-specific terminology, so make sure to explain the meaning.
- Provide a detailed budget and justification: It’s important to make your budget clear and concise. Explain the need for each expense in detail and make sure that each line item is tied to a specific project goal or activity in some way. Triple-check your math to avoid errors that may harm your credibility with reviewers.
- Allocate time for reviewing your application: Request a person who is not involved in the project to evaluate your application for spelling mistakes, complicated phrases or terms, and vague information. Whenever possible, select someone who is not familiar with your organization or programs since their feedback will mirror that of the grant reviewers.
While applying for grants can be a daunting task, with careful planning, attention to detail, and a solid understanding of the grant program's requirements, you can increase your chances of success! With these tips in mind, you are now better equipped to obtain the financial support necessary to support your community.