Grant Writing Procedure – A Step-By-Step Approach
Successful grant writing entails finding and writing a detailed proposal that explains your program, how it addresses a particular community need and convincing the funder that your program is within their criteria and guidelines by submitting supporting documentation and proof of success of your programs. Understanding the funder’s guidelines and requirements and making sure you are eligible for the funds is crucial so that you are only applying to grants that you have a high chance of getting. A good way to determine what the funder is looking for is to look at past proposals or lists of awards to organizations that they have funded in the last year or so that provide similar services to see how those organizations and programs measure up to your organization and programs. Many times organizations have great programs, but if they don’t address the funder’s requirements, their proposals get turned down.
Government grant writing requires sifting through a lot of guidelines and links to figure out exactly what the government agency wants. Learning how to grant write and get your proposal accepted and your program funded takes practice and skill. Do not be discouraged if you receive a rejection letter. Because when you decide to apply the following year for the same grant, you will have learned from any mistakes or errors and write a better proposal.
Here are a few tips to help you become successful:
Read the Funder’s Eligibility Requirements and Criteria
Before you start the application, you must read the funder’s eligibility requirements thoroughly to determine if you qualify for their grant. If you do not, then you can scratch that grant off your list and move on to another opportunity that fits your needs and matches the funder’s criteria more closely.
Pay Close Attention to Exclusions
Every funder provides detailed information about the types of organizations and programs that are excluded from their grant awards. Carefully go down the list and make sure your program or type of organization is not on listed as an exclusion.
Attach Supporting Documentation
Just about every funder will ask you to attach some kind of supporting documentation even if it is just your organizational budget and a copy of your IRS 501 ( c) (3) tax exempt status letter. Make sure you have the data organized, that it is current and ready to submit with your proposal application.
While some grants are open during the year, many have a specific time in which you need to submit your proposal so that you are not shut out of the opportunity. Make note of the date and submit your proposal in a timely manner and in the format that the funder requests. The funder will post their request for proposal (RFP) on their website with the due date. If you register at their website, you may receive extension notices as well. It is always best to check with the funder by contacting them directly either via email, by telephone or mail if you have any questions about the due date or the RFP.
When you are writing a narrative about your organization’s programs, be specific and make sure you express how your organization is addressing the needs of your community through its programs. The funder wants to make sure that you have a complete understanding of the community’s needs and wants to know how you are going to use the funds. Your budget should be detailed in this regard.
State and federal grant funders usually provide information on how they are going to score your proposal. Pay close attention so you address the points that are important to them in your proposal. Answer what they ask and not what you think they want to know.
Since there is no guarantee that you will get the grant you are applying for, it is always a good idea to apply to multiple grants at the same time. This way you increase your funding raising and odds that you may get one or more awards.