SPECIAL GRANT WRITING
- - ARTICLES - - -
Panning for Gold:
Show Me the Money (back)
Bennett, Bennett Educational Consulting
Whether you are a non-profit organization,
a social service agency, or an educational institution, you are always on the
lookout for funding to support new and ongoing initiatives. At the same time,
both public and private grantors are looking for projects that meet their objectives.
Finding the perfect match is the real challenge of grantwriting.
There is no secret recipe for successful
grantwriting – one that will work all the time. The following recommendations
are meant to improve your chances of getting funded.
- Never write a grant
proposal solely for the money. Establish areas of need and be prepared to
meet the deadline that comes all too soon.
- Know your prospective grantor! Research, research, and research
some more! Does your idea fit the grantor’s mission and goals? Does
the proposed project have a realistic chance of meeting the need?
- Read and understand the guidelines and requirements found in the Request
for Proposal (RFP). Identify the key points -highlight, underline, star, make
notes. Find the purpose of the grant - what it will and won’t fund.
Locate the funding priority(s); criteria and scoring points; any special conditions
or limitations; the specifics of page size, font size, line spacing, margins,
page numbering, and number of pages. Become familiar with all components,
requirements, and forms needed.
- Most proposals require a short project abstract. Do it last!!!! It is usually
limited to one page or less to tell the whole story in short form.
- A well-documented needs statement is critical to your proposal. You should
provide RELEVANT data - statistics and research-based support.
- Use the project narrative to more fully describe your program - goals, objectives,
strategies, activities, management/staffing, and evaluation strategies. ALWAYS
organize your application in the order presented in the RFP. Don’t make
the reviewer have to search to find out what you plan to do.
- A goal is broad statement of
desired outcome of the project based on the needs statement. There should
be 3-5 goals for a project.
- An objective is specific and
measurable - avoid the word “ALL” unless you are sure it can
- Describe the activities that
will be conducted. Be as specific as possible to demonstrate a well-developed
concept. Each activity should be correlated to a goal/objective. You should
have a timeline, which is a detailed plan for when each activity will occur
and indicate who will be responsible for it. For each activity there should
be benchmarks/indicators such as a significant event, result, impact, or
- The project management section
of the narrative must demonstrate that you are capable of carrying out the
project. It should include such information as the structure of the organization
including its governance. For all project staff, indicate the position,
title and name of the individual, a description of duties, the percentage
of time spent on project - FTE (full time equivalent). If the person is
not yet known, describe the qualifications for the position.
- Most funding sources
want to know how you plan to sustain the initiative after their money has
been exhausted. Most grantors do not want to give money to a short-term
- The evaluation is an important
component of most grants. It guarantees accountability in the use of funds.
The plan must show that you can document successes/failures - strengths/weaknesses.
You should indicate what instruments will be used to evaluate the project
such as surveys, attendance, pre- and post- tests, or interviews of participants.
- The budget should use the budget form(s) provided with the grant application.
Check your figures carefully. EVERY expenditure MUST match the narrative.
- The budget narrative provides a detailed description of each
expenditure - tell what it is - at what price - for how many - and why you
need it. Organizeto match budget forms.
- Top off your proposal with a concise cover letter. Always
thank the grantor for the opportunity to apply.
- The appearance of your proposal matters! Check your spelling and grammar.
Have someone proof the document even if you have spell check.
What else can you do to improve your
skills as a grantwriter? Attend grantwriting trainings, read proposals that
have been successful, identify an experienced grantwriter to be your mentor,
or work with a team to develop a proposal. Remember that it is considered a
good average if you receive 1 out of 10 proposals submitted. It’s like
the old adage, “If at first you don’t succeed ...”
To contact the author about
her next grantwriting class, email Lynn Bennett at email@example.com
or call (304)842-4166. (back)
- - RESOURCES - - -
*** Websites *** (back)
Center: Founded in 1956, the Center is the nation’s leading
authority on institutional philanthropy and is dedicated to serving grantseekers,
grantmakers, researchers, policymakers, the media, and the general public. The
Foundation Center supports and improves institutional philanthropy by promoting
public understanding of the field and helping grantseekers succeed. The Center
collects, organizes, and communicates information on U.S. philanthropy; conducts
and facilitates research on trends in the field; provides education and training;
and ensures public access to information. http://fdncenter.org/
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- - 30 SECOND REVIEW- - -
review by Lisa A. Tignor
Toolkit: A Comprehensive Guide to Finding Funding
Cheryl Carter New, James Aaron Quick
This book takes the reader on a step-by-step journey through the maze of grant
The authors suggest that an organization prepare a mission statement and a
clear objective before the search for appropriate funders begins. This allows
organizational goals to be matched to the goals of potential funders. By narrowing
the field of potential funders, a grantseeker has more time to find the most
likely matches. Clearly defining what steps an organization will take to achieve
the stated goal and how these efforts will be measured greatly increases the
chance of finding funding.
Forms and worksheets included in the book allow readers to practice what they
have learned using a real-life example.
Sometimes, knowing WHAT to do isn’t enough. Read this book if you want
to know HOW.(back)