After assessing what organizations and funders are likely to be interested in your work, it is time to start working on the actual writing of the grant proposal. This includes multiple steps, as there are a number of different components required by funding sources. Although this differs from one organization to another, the basics are usually the same. A funding source is likely to ask for a title page and a cover letter, an abstract, an institutional background, and a number of other sections (Yavapai College, 2021). Before digging into the writing process, though, you will need to consider a few things.
Before starting, you will need to look into your fundraising goals and figure out cost estimates and develop a timeline for your project. Once you have that set down, you can start by writing a strong cover letter, which must intrigue the funder and capture their attention. Although the grant application is usually formal, the cover letter can be more casual, and you can address the reader in a more direct manner. Remember, your main goal when writing the grant proposal is to interest the reader enough to keep reading until the proposal. This is important, as funders receive a large amount of proposals, so you will need to stand out (Fritz, 2021).
There are a few tips that can help you write an impressive cover letter:
● Do: Keep it short (~4 paragraphs), be direct from the beginning, never repeat yourself, try to showcase a connection between the funder’s mission and your project (PandaDoc, 2021)
● Don’t: Stay focused on your arguments instead of getting emotional by telling a heartfelt story and avoid mentioning your competition (PandaDoc, 2021)
The next section in the grant proposal is the Executive Summary/Abstract/Introduction. This section helps the funder get an idea of your request at a glance. The summary should be short too, not more than a page in length. Keep in mind that you want to be complete and detailed while also being brief. The summary, like the cover letter, should entice the funder (or whoever the reader is) to keep reading your proposal (Fritz, 2021).
After the executive summary, it is time to introduce your organization and share relevant information about the history, mission, and other experiences of the organization. This section is called the Institutional Background. This usually will also describe the institution’s location, demographics, mission, and any other projects that have been completed to establish credibility (Yavapai College, 2021). Client recommendations, letters of thanks, and any other positive feedback from colleagues or clients are important in a grant proposal too, as they showcase the experiences of people who interacted with your organization. It is helpful to be somewhat objective by avoiding bragging and to provide a backstory to explain the mission of the organization (PandaDoc, 2021).
The Need/Problem Statement follows the institutional background and is considered the main part of your grant proposal. This section aims to convince the reader that your mission or goal is important and that your organization is the most fitting to accomplish it. Keep this section simple to understand while also using your expertise in the field. You want to assume that the reader of the proposal does not know much about the issue (Fritz, 2021). In this section, it is helpful to compare data from other communities that have implemented your solutions with the wanted results and highlight the urgency of starting the project soon. You want to avoid making the issue about you or your organization and focus on formulating it in a way that showcases how it benefits a community or a population (PandaDoc, 2021).
The next section in a grant proposal is the Program Goals and Objectives (Outcomes). This section is straightforward, as the objective of this part of the grant proposal is to inform the reader of what your organization plans to do about the problem stated in the previous section. Give broad results that you hope to observe and highlight specific goals that are desired. Think of the goals as the general results and the objectives as the specific steps you plan on taking to reach those desired results (Fritz, 2021).
The Methods/Implementation Plan section is next and deals with the particulars of achieving your results. Things to mention may include new hires and skills, facilities, transport, and any other support services that you would need to achieve your goals. It is important to connect this section to the objectives outlined in the previous section as well as the need/problem statement. Again, providing examples from other similar successful projects is a good idea. In this section, make sure to demonstrate cost-effectiveness so that the reader finds your rationale reasonable (PandaDoc, 2021). Including a timeline in this section would be a useful tool for the reader to understand your plan more clearly (Yavapai College, 2021).
After stating your goals, the Evaluation Plan section provides ways to assess the program’s accomplishments and if they align with the goals and objectives you set out to accomplish. This section is important because funders want to ensure that their money has had an impact, so evaluating the outcomes of a project will help showcase the project’s successes. Include any records or data you will collect as well as how you plan on using that data. In many organizations, outside evaluators are hired to get an objective assessment (Fritz, 2021).
Next, you need to tackle the Other Funding Sources and Sustainability section, which will show that your project is more of a long-term, sustainable investment than a short-term, inefficient project. This section will show any funding requirements that are beyond the project, such as the costs of ownership, ongoing maintenance, and operational support. This will need to be articulated for at least 5 years. Include inflation, ongoing training, potential future growth, and anything else you may find relevant (PandaDoc, 2021). Then you will need to complete the Budget section, which identifies the specific costs that are to be met by the funders and the methods you have used to determine those costs (Yavapai College, 2021). Finally, you will want to include an Additional Materials section that may include letters of support, IRS letters proving your organization is tax-exempt, a list of your board of directors, and anything else you think is relevant to your grant proposal (Fritz, 2021).
Now you are ready to put all these sections together and create a successful grant proposal that will both capture the funder’s attention and convince them of your rationale. Keep an eye out for the next part of this blog series to learn more about submitting and following up on a proposal.
eContent Pro is here to help you every step of the way. You can use eContent Pro’s copyediting services to ensure that your grant proposal is in good shape to better your chances of being accepted. Errors in English writing may cause reviewers to doubt the overall quality of the work. From a reviewer’s point of view, these mistakes may cause them to doubt the author’s professionalism and thoroughness in conducting and refining their research to their best ability. After your grant proposal is accepted, eContent Pro is here to help meet your need of manuscript copyediting and any editorial needs you may have.