Adar Danan is a professional writer, social media manager, and customer service specialist. She is especially interested in grants, funding, crowdfunding, and grant writing. GrantWriterTeam offers a way for nonprofits, individuals, and for-profits to hire a grant writer in an efficient manner.
Grant writing isn’t glamorous; it’s a detail-oriented and tedious process. Much of what goes into selecting the winner of a grant is based on the grant writing of the proposal. Many organizations choose to delegate the job of grant writing to a professional grant writer because they feel it will increase their chances of success. But don’t fret! Grant writing is a skill that one can acquire. Below are 7 tips to try out the next time you apply for a grant to get the most out of your grant writing:
1. Appeal to the grantor
When writing a grant, make sure you’re appealing to the funding source. It’s essential to do research on the grantor and evaluate what their interests and goals are. This will allow you to write in a matter that aligns with the interests and morals of the reader.
Brushing up on your grantor’s background will also give you a leg up on your competitors because your writing will appeal to your grantor’s interests.
For example, if you’re looking to apply for the Transition Network Grant, you should know that The Giving Circle will award grants to organizations that demonstrate a positive impact for women and/or children in Philadelphia. Make sure to write specifically on how you’ll demonstrate a positive influence on women and children.
Does your organization help women train for new employment opportunities after they leave an abuser? Has your afterschool program increased college admittance rates for your students significantly in the past five years? Has your mentorship program led to higher graduation rates in the community?
Show that you’ve already had success in the areas that matter to the funding organization. This will make them much more likely to award their grant to your organization as well!
In turn, you’ll be appealing to the grantor by writing according to their interests and qualifications.
2. Create a Relationship with the Grantor
In addition to the information regarding the application process, your organization should use the grantor’s contact information. When viewing the application, there should be a contact email or phone number on the website.
Make sure to introduce yourself to the grantor and do your best to create a relationship with them prior to submitting your grant application. Fundraising is all about building relationships, and grant writing is no different!
Having an existing relationship with the funding source will significantly increase your chances of being awarded the grant.
3. Differentiate yourself
Be sure to stand out amongst other applicants. Most grants are competitive and there may be many similar organizations to yours applying for the same grant. It’s imperative to make an impression that’s not easily forgotten.
In your grant writing, be sure to explain why your nonprofit is different from others. Do you have a unique program that no one else in our area offers? Are you the only nonprofit that serves a certain part of the community?
For example, if you’re applying for a grant that aims to advance American Indian culture and self-sufficiency, highlight exactly how your grant supports those goals. Does your organization support job placement opportunities that has already reduced unemployment rates in your targeted communities? Does it teach children about American Indian art history, and help them create their own projects using traditional methods?
Use this as an opportunity to highlight your existing success, as well as how the grant will help you get even better results in the community.
Tell potential grantors what makes you stand out!
4. Target a specific cause
The majority of grants are awarded to a specific cause as opposed to a general focus. Be sure to focus on a specific project/goal. Focus in on a powerful story from one of your constituents instead of offering high-level information or dry statistics.
Furthermore, make sure to write as detailed as possible to avoid any general terminology and create a more focused proposal. This will increase your chances of being awarded the grant.
5. Write clearly and concisely
You must keep in mind that the readers reading your proposal are likely reading quite a few others. The worst scenario would be boring your readers. It’s imperative to write the grant proposal in a clear and concise fashion. The proposal should be detailed and straight to the point. Fluffing up your proposal will only leave the grantor uninterested in your organization and what you have to offer.
A great tip to ensure your writing is clear and concise is to have someone on staff who hasn’t yet reviewed the grant read it (it’s even better if they read it out loud!). If they get hung up on any of the language or if something doesn’t make sense, alter the language until it’s clear and doesn’t create a speedbump for readers.
6. The budget should make sense
The grantor can determine whether your budget makes sense. Write the truth and be honest about your spending and the funding needed. Make sure that your math adds up correctly and it supports the objectives you’re proposing.
As a part of the homework you do on the grantmaker, be sure to check into their grant history and how much the funding source generally awards to organizations. This will allow you to develop a logical budget that appeals to the grantor.
If the Grantor generally awards a grant award of $10,000, don’t ask for $20,000. The grantor may perceive your request as an overexaggerated plea. Further, if you’re a fairly new nonprofit and your budget is on a lower scale, request an amount that is in accordance to that.
7. Pay close attention to details
The last and most important tip for grant writing is to pay close attention to details in your writing. You must adhere to the guidelines of the grant. If the grantor requires a 12” Arial font, make sure that your font is exactly that. Your attention to detail won’t go unnoticed.
Moreover, make sure that there are no typographical errors. One spelling mistake can land your proposal in the reject pile. Your proposal should be proofread by yourself and someone else before being submitted to the grantor.
If you’re looking for more resources on how to get the most out of your grant writing, look no further! Here are some additional resources to help you on your journey:
- Learn the basic steps of the grant writing process.
- Get some tips on how to track your grant applications and download the free grant-tracking template.
- Find grants on GrantWatch that your nonprofit can apply for, and get busy writing your best proposal ever! This grants database offers a way to view the eligibility requirements, deadline dates, and applications for grants from all over the world.