Posted on February 13, 2018 at 11:52 AM by Josh Yaworski
These are transformational times. It seems that grantors are narrowing their scope on what they choose to fund. Do you find that opportunities are slimmer, and expectations are higher? Although, it is fairly intense waiting to hear the results of your submission, grants are still a satisfactory approach to fund an organization’s projects and operations.
When a grant seems promising, you will want to pay close attention to the guidelines and follow grant writing protocol. Before you start writing, you must thoroughly understand the application process. After establishing eligibility, be sure to comprehend how, when, and where to submit the application. It sounds basic, but sometimes the finer details will cause us to fumble.
The first chunk of the application form is boiler plate information about the organization. Still, some of it may not be on hand. Allow time for tracking down names and numbers. Secondly, does the application request a cover letter? A cover letter is concise, clean, and direct. In the form of a business letter, highlight why your organization is well-suited to receive the funds. Convey the essential reason for applying, how much you are requesting, the board’s approval, and your organization’s commitment to the duration of the grant. Ensure the financial component is transparent and balanced.
Carefully read the questions and tailor your answers to what they are truly asking for. If you don’t understand the question or the terminology, then take time to better understand rather than making your own inference. Even worse, plugging something in there that doesn’t really belong!
Were you successful in clearly identifying the need for the money? Try to write through a positive lens. A solution that is constructive and optimistic is better than a bleak and desperate plea. Avoid saying, “we need a new dishwasher”. Instead, say, “with a new dishwasher, we will clean and sanitize more dishware in a faster timeframe, allowing our volunteers to go home earlier”.
Did you do some research? Grantors prefer evidence to substantiate what you claim to be true. How did you conclude that volunteers will be able to go home earlier? Compile the right data to answer such questions. Also, final reports often require evidence-based data to demonstrate the allocated funds made a measurable difference. Do you have a method to measure change?
A grant application is mainly telling a story. Describe in detail how the goal and objectives will be achieved. Put everything into a logical sequence. A common approach is to use the SMART technique. What this acronym does is create goals and objectives that are: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time bound. This shows the funder that the project plan is deliberate and synchronized.
When writing the application, attempt to convey information without being long-winded. Some application forms are fillable pdfs with limited characters to restrict the amount of words. Have the application reviewed by an objective person to tell you what their interpretation is. If they don’t understand the goal, then there is probability that the grantor won’t understand, either.
Recruit a third party to review for grammar violations. Use the prescribed font and margins. If they dictate no appendices, then do not include any additional documents. An alarming number of application forms are rejected due to applicants not adhering to the directions.
Writing a grant application can be a formidable task. It is not everyone’s forte. Nonetheless, if a grant writer tries their best to comply with the guidelines and observe grant writing etiquette, then the completed application will likely be interpreted as being both credible and professional.