First, to write a grant that will get funded make sure you check out Grant Funding: Expectations vs. Reality and Find Grant Funding for Your Nonprofit in These 3 Places.
Once your organization has determined it’s ready for grant funding and found an RFP in which it meets all the requirements, then it’s time to write the grant. But, what do you need to do to write a good grant? What can you do that will most improve the chances of your organization being funded?
4 Foolproof Tips that Will Strengthen Your Grant Application
Many grants will have different forms, questions, and ways to submit, but the tips below will help in every application.
The absolute number one tip is to make sure you follow all rules and guidelines. Grantmakers give these rules and deadlines precisely to weed out bad applications. Make sure that your application has correct grammar, punctuation, and answers all the questions asked.
Also, be sure to submit ALL documentation requested, and submit before the deadline. Missing an attachment can be the critical and simple mistake that loses your organization thousands of dollars.
Computer problems may happen, and sometimes submissions don’t go through, or sometimes a website goes down, or sometimes there’s a power outage. If you plan a time-buffer into your submission schedule, often, these disasters are fixable if not completely avoided. Mostly, just submit as early as possible.
2) Show Impact
Whenever possible show the true scale of the impact on the project you’re funding. Do not overquote any numbers, and do not break any word or page limits (see rule 1). But, be sure not to undersell your organization or the project.
Persuasive writing is important. Showcasing your organization’s impact in a clear, succinct, compelling way, can often mean the difference between an application being funded or rejected. Remember, it’s not the item that you’re purchasing with the funding, but the reason that you’re purchasing it.
For example, if two, perfectly similar organizations both want to submit a grant to the same grantmaker. Who gets the grant? If all other information, from budget to impact was also similar, who would get the grant?
Would it be the organization that wrote: “This funding would allow our organization to purchase 4 houses”? Or would it be the organization that wrote: “This money will provide 20 people experiencing housing insecurity with shelter”?
3) Define Measurable Outcomes
Most grants require your application to determine it’s outcomes for the funding. It is important that you are able to show a measurable outcome within a specified time frame.
Discussing the metrics with which you will use to measure those outcomes are also important to show how your organization will determine success. For example, reflecting back to the housing scenario above, a measurable outcome would be the number of people experiencing housing insecurity provided with shelter.
The metric for measurement could merely be counting the number of people and verifying through a questionnaire that the person is experiencing housing insecurity.
To introduce a specified time frame into this equation, your organization could set the goal of providing this number of people shelter within 1 year. This would allow for time to receive the grant money, find a purchase the shelter, and implement shelter intake programming.
4) Submit Reports on Time
If awarded your organization is lucky enough to receive a grant award, the next step is to make sure that your organization is tracking data through the metrics it agreed upon. This data will not only be helpful for showing impact for future funding requests, but also for compiling any reports requested by the original funder.
A recent report released by Salesforce, indicated that only 53% of the nonprofits surveyed were able to easily collect data on their programs, and less than half (47%) of those found it easy to analyze the data collected!
Without clear data tracking and metrics for analysis, many nonprofits are leaving money sitting on the table. Not only are post-grant reports an important part of the grant agreement, especially in the case of recurring or multi-year grants, but the data is also an important way to show the true impact of your organization to the community and funders alike.
Mia is a committed, cause-driven consultant who partners with nonprofits to grow their impact, achieve their mission, and actualize their vision. She believes in the power of nonprofits and their ability to solve the most challenging problems if they have the right resources.