Grant writing is an art form. Why? Because the grant writer who wins the grant is the one who writes the best story of need, and who also presents the best plan of action to satisfy that need.
If non-profit or social entrepreneur organizations are in need of a grant, there are a few procedures they can use to expedite the process. The first thing is to realize that there is a secret to winning great grants. That secret is that funders don't give money to the organization for what the organization wants to do, but they give them money to do what they want done.
So what does that look like on paper? Well, it's a picturesque display of writing that lets the funder know that you want to provide the program, product, or service that they are willing to pay for. This becomes a marriage, and as you know, without the compatibility of a good partnership of the grantee, grantor, and stakeholders who benefit from the services, the marriage or, in this case, the grant funds, may not take place..
Before Writing the Grant
Before attempting to write a grant it is important to understand the vocabulary used in the grant writing community. This is as easy as going online and researching grant writing terms.
Secondly, you want to be sure that you have the regulatory requirements met for legally operating your organization. This includes your licenses and permits, EIN Number, Duns number, and state and federal recognitions.
When you have located your organizational records and registrations then you are ready to organize your team. Your team should include representatives from all stakeholders. In soliciting stakeholder participation, locate partners that compliment your program, including potential members, their contributions and their contact information. Once this is established, you are ready to assign duties to the final grant team who will help with the research and preparation of the grant.
Writing the Grant
Before you write anything, you want to make sure that you have a grant that will go the distance. That means conducting what I call the grant test. Here are a few questions to ask before you write.
1. What is the name of the grant?
2. Who is the agency giving the grant?
3. What is the identifying information of the grant?
4. When is the grant due?
5. Is a match required?
6. How many grants are they funding?
7. What is the award ceiling?
8. What is the award floor?
Once you have answered those questions and you are happy with your answers, it is time to engage your grant writing team. Otherwise, you could waste a lot of time, energy or money on a grant that just won't fit your situation.
When you have found the perfect grant, you want to determine what are the requirements of the organization and develop the components of your grants to match them.
Even though grant proposal instructions are technical and each one is different, this is not rocket science. You can take the mystery out of grant writing by understanding that there are really only 4 components to the majority of grants as listed below:
Part 1: Executive Summary
Part 2: Narrative
Part 3: Budget & Budget Narrative
Part 4: Supporting Documents
In part 1, the executive summary briefly answers the questions, who, what, when, where, why, and how much money do you need.
Secondly, part 2 or the Narrative thoroughly expands on the answers above and adds the questions how will you develop, implement and evaluate the program to meet the needs of your target audience.
The budget & budget narrative explains in detail how you will spend the money over the grant period.
Lastly, the supporting documents will support and verify all of your statements within the grant.
Finally, if you use the tips and tools above your grant writing should be much easier. You can also research sample grants similar to your project to use as examples using your favorite search engine.