Grants - Helpful Hints
- Follow funders’ guidelines exactly!
- Maintain contact with your funder. Make sure your questions are professional, polite, concise, and friendly.
- Research your funder – find out as much as you can about the funders’ organization or company, what projects they typically award, what is the range of grants awarded, if they’ve given money to similar projects before, if they have given money to others in your region, etc.
- Read through any published material of the organization, and remember to use the language of those documents when drafting a proposal. Reading through these documents will also help when deciding if the funder matches your project and objectives.
- Write a first draft, second draft, third draft… Be prepared to make changes.
- Do not rely on spell check only. Spelling and grammar errors can make or break your proposal. Have multiple people proof read your proposal, and make sure at least one of those individuals is unfamiliar with your project.
- Be clear and concise when you write your proposal. Begin with the most important point and be selective with the use of data. Choose the most relevant statistics rather than having many examples. Quality over quantity!
- Look for possible partnerships.
- Model your projects after other similar successful projects and reference them in your proposal.
- Never ask for more than the ceiling or less than the floor when drafting a proposal.
- Make sure to be consistent throughout your proposal by giving each section your full attention. Always present your best work as you never know which section the funders will look at first or spend the most time on.
- Keep in mind you are not the only proposal being reviewed. So be sure to make your language concise and text easy to read.
- Explain all abbreviations or acronyms at least once (preferably earlier rather than later) in your document.
- Make a compelling case for the project by including examples of the community’s need.
- Follow your funders’ timeline exactly, but be patient once your proposal is submitted.
- If your proposal is declined turn it into something positive. Ask why the proposal was declined and ask for suggestions for the future.
Learn the fundamentals of writing letters of inquiry by reading, “The Rules of Engagement: How to Make Your Letter of Inquiry a Winner” If it is successful, it will convince a foundation reviewer to invite your organization to submit a complete proposal. It can be viewed at: