Writing and obtaining grants will require more than just a great idea, and a source to obtain funding. An organization needs to be well managed, and have a clear understanding of its mission and purpose. Funders want to know that the organization they pick to give funds has a clear vision of its mission, and knows how to use available resources efficiently. The grant proposal should be an important part of any fundraiser’s planning and research process. What are the steps to writing a good grant proposal? In order to be successful this should be part of your overall fundraising plan. Grants are obtained from a variety of sources. There are many different foundations and government entities that provide grants, but most will require the same information to process the grant. It is important to know what sections need to be included in a good grant proposal, and what information must be included in each section. The cover letter or abstract is usually the last thing you write, but is very important to the grant proposal.
This is the first impression that the funder will have of your organization. This needs to be well written and make a good impression with the funder. It is much easier to make a good first impression than to try and fix a bad first impression later in the proposal. This needs to be addressed to a specific person, briefly state what the proposal is asking for, and to summarize the essence of the program. This can be just a few well written lines, but not over one page in length. The next section of the grant proposal would be the table of contents. This will make it possible for the funders to understand the structure of the proposal and to find the information needed to make a decision on funding. The next section would be the needs statement part of the grant proposal. This section needs to convince the funder that the proposed program is important and that your organization has the ability to get the job done.
The needs statement should be written on the believe the funder knows little about the program or issue. Provide and explanation of why the program is important, and tells what research has been done to find a solution. This statement needs to include data that matches the interests of the funding organization. The funder needs to be convinced that your program solves an important issue in society, and the funder should be interested in supporting the program. Goals and objectives will explain what your organization plans to do about the problem or issue. What the program hopes to accomplish with the program. This should include specific results and outcomes. You will also need to explain specific steps the program will take to achieve the outcomes. Target populations should tell in detail the population and issue you are trying to address. You should be very specific and keep it to under two typed pages maximum.
The next section should be a timeline and should be very specific of who is doing what and when. The next section is the evaluation plan. How will you evaluate the programs accomplishments? Funders want to know they have spent money wisely. Include how the evaluation plan will work, and make sure you include records and data. Some organizations will hire outside evaluators to make sure of an objective evaluation. The next section is the budget section. This should include how much the project will cost. A short budget to show expected expenses and income should be included.
Expenses should show both direct project expenses and administrative expenses. The income section of the budget should show both contribution and earned income. Some additional financial items you might want to include is an letter from the IRS stating a nonprofit status, a list of the board of directors and their affiliations, a financial statement for the next fiscal year, and a budget for the next fiscal year if applicable. All the information needs to be put together with the cover letter and the CEO and Board of directors should sign the proposal. This grant proposal should be typed neatly, and checked to make sure there are no errors.
Yuen/Terao, (2003), Practical Grant Writing and Program Evaluation, Brooks/Cole.