Tips for a Competitive Grant Proposal
We know staff resources are tight at every nonprofit and the grant-writing process can often be tedious and long. Our hope is that the following tips will minimize the time needed to write your proposal and will position your grant proposal in the strongest light.
Tips for a Successful Grant Application:
While acknowledging every grant panel is different, certain approaches create a more competitive grant proposal. Please consider the following tips when preparing your application:
- We love to read about the great work you are doing, but first and foremost: answer the questions. It’s an easy pitfall to stumble into: when describing aspects of your programming and the various ways your organization enhances the community, you forget to tie the information back to the question in the grant application. Remember, your answers don’t need to be long or elaborate; they just need to specifically provide the information requested.
- Outcomes. With limited grant dollars available, it’s important for the Foundation to closely track program outcomes from grants. This helps us to measure the impact of our philanthropic investments and it helps us to continue raising funds which can then be reinvested in the community. When listing outcomes in your grant proposal, keep them specific, realistic and achievable.
- Consistency. Sometimes grant applications will ask for the same information in multiple places. Be sure to double check that the information you provide is consistent throughout the proposal. For example, if you indicate that you will impact 2,500 individuals on your cover sheet, be sure you don’t write that your program will impact 5,000 individuals in the grant narrative.
- Collaborate. Collaboration is not required for grant funding, but it can strengthen your proposal. Funding dollars are consistently limited, so it’s always attractive when a grant can tangentially support multiple organizations. The aim is not to force collaboration, but to support non-duplicative services among partner organizations. When describing a collaboration in your proposal, be sure to demonstrate how your program operates in a way that is mutually beneficial to one or more organizations and the populations they serve.
- Questions are welcome. Our goal at the Foundation is to support our community and to ensure we are making strategic and effective grants. We are here to help you! If you find yourself struggling through a proposal or uncertain of what program would be a competitive fit, please contact our Community Impact team, Khia Griffis and Vanessa Gonzalez at: firstname.lastname@example.org. While we can never predict the grant panel’s funding decisions, we can try to offer tips or suggestions that may prove helpful in the application process. Note: Foundation staff are not on the grant panel and do not have an official vote on funding decisions for the Competitive Grant Program.
If you are new to grant-writing, we recommend you visiting The Foundation Center’s website for additional tips on writing proposals and preparing grant budgets. The Foundation Center offers a wealth of information, in addition to many free webinars and seminars that could be invaluable in submitting a competitive grant proposal.