Grant applications are an important component of most development operations. But they can also be a source of stress. It’s no small task to navigate the various guidelines, the different application formats, and the deadlines of each funder. Hopefully, you have a donor management system like Little Green Light that helps you track critical information such as application and reporting deadlines. That’s an important piece of the puzzle, but it won’t write those grant proposals for you!
If you’re feeling like you don’t know where to begin with your proposal, the following suggestions will help you get started, clear through the chaos, and strengthen your grant applications. It boils down to some simple ground rules, and six key elements to include in your proposal.
Before we share the six key elements to include in your application, here are some important guidelines to keep in mind as you craft your proposal:
Even though application formats vary, most funders will ask for certain information from you, such as a description of your organization, a description of the problem you are addressing, and how the requested funds will be used. The following tips will help you craft responses to these standard questions. Some funders, especially small foundations, may simply require a proposal stating how the funds will be used. If the application is free form like that, these tips will help you develop a framework for your proposal and ensure that you make a compelling case for your funding request.
Key element #1: Organization description
Key element #2: Describe the problem or need your program will address
Key element #3: Program/project description
Key element #4: Fit with funder’s mission
Key element #5: Fit with your mission
Key element #6: Past indicators of success
Incorporate these ground rules and six key elements into your proposals, and you’ll strengthen your grant applications and eliminate a lot of guesswork for yourself. Good luck!
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