We know that grant writing can be overwhelming and well, misunderstood. Today, we want to share a few quick and dirty tips about grant writing that can help those of you who are foraying into this world for the first time. Hopefully, it goes without saying (but we’ll say it anyway), make sure to do research before applying for grants.
The research will narrow down thousands of grantors so you can find those that are most closely aligned with your project focus area (eg girls education, healthcare, etc.) and geographic interests to increase the likelihood of success! Here are some more tips:
1. Think of institutional funders and foundations just like you would an individual donor. Reach out to program officers (kind of like the gatekeepers at foundations) and have conversations with them – they are people just like us! Ask questions about your project, funding request amount, outcomes, and metrics. Try and develop authentic relationships with them based on your shared interests! And don’t forget, after you have (hopefully!) received a grant award – send them periodic updates (can be formal newsletters or a short email with project updates) – just be sure to keep that relationship going.
2. When you are writing your grant proposal and putting together an accompanying budget, make sure that they both tell the same story. If you’ve mentioned that providing your students with meals is important for their academic success, make sure you include meals as a line item in your budget. It may seem obvious, but it’s worth reinstating!
3. A grant proposal, or narrative, is just that. It tells a story. A common format for a grant proposal includes:
An executive summary (usually best to write last after you’ve fleshed out the rest of the details of your proposal)
The background/history of your organization (who are you and why are you best poised to do the work that you do?)
A statement of need (what statistics support the work that you are doing?)
A description of the project for which you are seeking funding (what are the overarching goals of your project?)
The project activities (what activities/programs are you implementing to achieve your stated goals?)
The monitoring, learning, and evaluation plan for your project (what outcomes does your project have and how will you know if you were successful?)
A budget (how much money do you need and what will the money be used for to complete your project?)
While this list is by no means exhaustive, and some funders will ask for more information (such as biographies of staff members and/or board members, annual reports, audited financial statements, and more!), hopefully, this general framework will help you think about how to frame your project and structure a proposal. Happy writing!