Tips for Applying for a Grant

By Nan Werther , last updated December 22, 2011

Securing a grant for a project can be a huge relief but requires a lot of careful planning to achieve the desired results. Following these expert grant tips are a good way to ensure your future project's funding.

Research

Often the most time-consuming aspect of applying for a grant, doing your research, always pays off. Usually a several-pronged approach works best. Knowing your aim(s) inside and out is the most important step in the whole process, as that will shape your entire proposal. Make sure you have a clear idea of what your end goal(s) are along with the market you intend to reach. Funders want to be assured that their money isn't going to waste, and the best way to assure them otherwise is to clearly communicate what it is exactly you're attempting to do. Also, it is good to thoroughly research your potential funders (and past investments or giving if possible) will save you valuable time in the end. Your strategic plan ideally should reflect or closely match the organization's mission.

Applying

Above all, write your proposal according to what the grant application says. Structuring your application is key. Dividing the proposal into headings is always helpful. Not only will it help you condense pertinent information into readable sections but it will clearly demonstrate the intended impact and/or goals of the project. Make sure you understand the organization's criteria, and be sure that your proposal accurately acknowledges, reflects, and responds to those specific needs. Always make sure the writing is professional and concise, eliminating any extraneous or unnecessary information. Use the active voice (no past tense) and as your teacher always said: keep it simple and specific. Follow up arguments with supportive facts, evidence, and data to demonstrate how your project provides a solution. Don't be afraid to do a little deep digging to find information to quantify certain details. This can be key in proving your point.

Considerations

A budget is a necessary component to designing a successful grant. In this way, the committee reviewing your proposal understands exactly where each dollar will be spent and why. This is not an objective measurement of the grant's success, but rather a way to ensure trustworthy application of funds. Ideally, your proposal aims to address both long and short-term goals, and the impact after the project's completion leaves the community bettered. Funders want to see that your project provides a sustainable solution to a direct need, thus allowing the benefits of your project to continue even after its completion.

Lastly, keep in mind that not every good idea is rewarded. Writing and applying for grants should be considered a practice in that the more you do it, the better (and more successful) you become. If you aren't selected, always ask for feedback as even well-written grants might not fit an organization's overall aim. It is better to use criticism constructively so as to apply it in the future towards more successful endeavors!

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