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Five Strategies for Writing Successful Grants

Page history last edited by kay hones 1 year, 9 months ago
There is only one admirable form of the imagination: the imagination that is so intense that it creates a new reality, that it makes things happen.  Sean O'Faolain (1900 - 1991)



Five Strategies for writing successful grants



1.   Start with the budget  (Planning)


A well-planned budget reflects carefully thought out projects and activities.


Assess your budget

·      Enough budget detail and explanation?

·      Are costs reasonable?

·      Does budget match proposal activities?

·      in-kind and matching revenue


2.   Use what you know (Searching for data and resources)


What is the purpose of your grant?

What do you want?

Why it is important?

Who will benefit?

What are specific objectives to be accomplished and how?

How will results be measured?


Match project outcomes to specific measurable results.


3. Follow the rules (Writing and packaging a proposal)


First: Identify  Grant Sources and look for a match between your project and the grant priorities.


Second: Read the guidelines carefully, and read them again and again!


*         Guidelines include: grant goals and priorities, award amount, eligibility, deadlines, format, budget, and who to contact.


*          Standard grant proposal components are: the narrative, budget, appendix of support material, and authorized signature.



Third:  Essential for grant writing: concise persuasive writing, and a reasonable budget!



Fourth:      Draft a timeline of project activities.



Fifth:      Be prepared to write several drafts.



Sixth:    Can you make the proposal deadline?  Be sure to allow the time to acquire a needed signature.




 If available, use technical assistance, including a review of proposal drafts. Contact the funding source about the status, evaluation, and outcome of your proposal.


4.   Don’t be afraid to shine (Submitting a proposal)


Who are you and how do you qualify to meet this need? Tell your story!


5.   Build on success - The Match Game (Follow up)

The critical aspect of any grant application: does this project match the purpose, and goals of the funding source?



And start writing that next grant proposal!


If your imagination leads you to understand how quickly people grant your requests when those requests appeal to their self-interest, you can have practically anything you go after.  Napoleon Hill 



The logic in writing a grant proposal

by The NonProfit Times - January 14, 2014

The most critical elements of a winning grant proposal are the logic of the argument for support and the thoroughness of the program plan. Still, logic and planning won’t matter if your writing is so garbled reviewers can’t understand what you’re trying to tell them.

“You don’t have to be a literary artist to produce winning grant proposals,” according to Barbara Floersch, director of The Grantsmanship Center in Los Angeles, Calif. “But you must be able to articulate your case in clear, straightforward prose.”  Here are a few tips:

  • Write in the active rather than the passive voice. For example, don’t say, “The report will be produced and submitted on a quarterly basis.”  Instead, say, “The Program Manager will submit quarterly reports.”
  • Avoid using more than one, or at the most two, acronyms, and spell those out the first time they are used. It won’t help to create a long list of acronyms and spelled-out names at the outset. By page two reviewers won’t remember what TCCN, VCFP, NAFV, or YSWC stand for — and they shouldn’t have to. Handle long names in a way that’s reader friendly. “Youth Services of Wallingford County” can be shortened to “Youth Services,” if you tell the reader up front.
  • Any term or phrase that might be unclear to someone outside your organization’s field or culture is jargon. For the sake of clarity and reviewer sanity, eliminate jargon from the proposal.
  • Organize, organize, organize. Limit each section of the proposal to its intended purpose. In the section defining expected program results, for example, don’t let discussion of the program methods seep in. When a section is long or complex, use headings and subheadings to orient the reader to the flow of information.

But remember, a heading or subheading cannot stand alone. Inserting a heading or subheading implies that another will follow. A stand-alone heading implies you’re dividing the text into parts — causing the reader to look in vain for that second heading.

“Developing exceptional grant proposals involves much more than writing,” said Floersch. “Clear communication is essential. Make it easy on the reader. Aim for full reader comprehension in just one pass — no second passes required.”



Hard And Soft Data For Grant Proposals

By The NonProfit Times - June 17, 2014

The section of a grant proposal defining the situation that has compelled your organization to seek funding is the heart of your argument. “The most convincing proposals use a combination of hard data (facts, figures, research findings) and soft data (quotes, stories, anecdotes) to demonstrate what the problem looks like in the targeted area, why the situation matters, and what’s causing it,” said Barbara Floersch, executive director of The Grantsmanship Center in Los Angeles, Calif.

Floersch gave these four examples of how to use data in a grant proposal dealing with unemployment:

  • The situation causing concern. Use hard data to show the number of people who are unemployed, the unemployment rate, the demographics of those who are unemployed, and how unemployment in the target area compares with unemployment in other areas of the city, county, state, or nation.
  • The significance of the situation. Use hard data to define the problems caused by unemployment. The data might include increases in poverty levels, stress-related health issues, home foreclosures, crime, hunger, demand on social services, and homelessness. Use soft data by bringing in the voices of those affected to describe how unemployment has harmed the community or challenged families.
  • The cause of the problem. Use hard data to quantify business closings, low educational levels, lack of skilled workers for high-demand jobs, lack of affordable day care, high cost of technical and other relevant education, etc. Use soft data to increase impact by giving the situation a human face and showing the causes from the perspective of someone who is unemployed.
  • Use every available resource to build a solid, well-documented case. After reading this section of the proposal, the grant-maker should understand the situation and be motivated to provide assistance. “Vague statements of need take up space without making a case,” said Floersch. “Go for impact. Present a detailed data-driven argument that includes a human perspective.”


Finding Grants





Education & Literacy Grants - Fundsnet Services.com | Grants and Fundraising Directory for nonprofit organizations and schools.<http://www.fundsnetservices.com/searchresult/6/Education-&-Literacy-Grants.html>


1675 Foundation The 1675 Foundation is dedicated to improving the quality of life for individuals and families through the support of non–profit organizations working in the areas of arts & culture, education, the environment, health, human services and history.



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