Grant Writing For Beginners
Non-profit entities, educational institutions, businesses, government departments, corporations, foundations, trusts and individuals can all apply for grants. There's a bit of competition here, so knowledge is your best tool to successfully receive a grant.
The process of applying for a grant is sometimes referred to as "grant writing". This in layman's terms is really just the application process. A complete grant proposal will consist of multiple elements which I will discuss here. The basic elements that are generally included in a grant proposal are as follows: The Executive Summary, A Statement of Need, The Project Description, A Budget, An Organizational Summary, Your Conclusion, Evaluations and / or Outcomes.
Many organizations that offer grants have websites that specify how they would like their grant proposal written and their qualifications for grant applicants. Once you have identified the grant you wish to apply for, you would do well to take a good look at the requirements before starting your proposal. Many grants have strict deadlines that must be followed, another good thing to know before pouring in a ton of work to your proposal. If you have any questions about whether or not your proposal will be accepted, go straight to the horse's mouth before preparing your grant proposal. You may also consider putting together some supplementary material to augment your case. Anything from professional recommendations to promotional DVDs could be what turns the tide in your favor in the end of getting the grant you're applying for.
Let's examine the components of a quality grant proposal a bit further.
The Summary or Executive Summary: Like any good piece of writing, this is the introduction- you must grab your audience's attention and keep it. Do not be too flowery or wordy here, the readers will have a lot of proposals to sift through, respect their time and keep to the point. Summarize your grant proposal here. Make sure you are professional and convince the readers that your execution of the plan will meet or exceed the grantor's goal. This is where you need to initially instill confidence in the reader of your capabilities. This section is often written last.
Statement of Need: This is where you describe why you or your organization needs the funds. What do you do that no one else does? Define your objective and why it is a worthy one. Something along the lines of our ideas / goals are in line, we execute and protect such goals professionally, we have before and we are very good at it, plus we need the funds.
The Project Description: This is the detailed step by step "how to" of your proposal from start to finish. You will need to identify the project objectives, plans, methodology, personnel needs, administration and management issues as well as self-adequacy.
A Budget: It's all about the Benjamins is not it? Lay it out for them, a good viable economic plan is the key to why they are to give you the grant. Obviously they do not want to hear that you're going to try to pad your pocketbook with their money. Include a spreadsheet that depicts other sources of funding as well. This should be an estimate, not exact numbers but do not be too sketchy about the details with categories like miscellaneous.
Organizational Summary: This is another place to sell yourself or your organization. Grantors want to know you can get the job done. Do not forget trust is a factor here, build it with your words. Provide a summary history of your self / organization- mission statements go well here- the demographic and area it serves, and a history achieving its desired outcome. This section should be complete and detailed, do not take it for granted.
Your Conclusion: Another basic element of writing, your closing statement. Assume the sale or grant in this case but try to be brief. Touch on the main points of the other sections of your grant proposal.
Evaluation / Outcomes: Tracking, the grantor wants to know how you are going to show their money was well spent on the desired task. This section allows you to lay that out for them, avoiding this unsavory question.
This should give you a pretty clear idea on how to put together a grant proposal or write a grant application. A lot of the information is common sense, but given the hype surrounding grants it could become easy to get overwhelmed. Of course, if you're writing abilities are not of good quality, you can always opt to hire someone who specializes in this type of writing.