4 Tips for Grant Writing Success
1. Research the Funder
So, you’ve found a potential funder, and you want to get started on research. What comes next? Your first move should always be a visit to the funder’s website. From here, be sure to check for submission deadlines, eligibility requirements, funding priorities, geographical restrictions, and any other key information. The next step in the research process will take you on a trip into the funder’s past as you review the last three years of the funder’s IRS Form 990. These are treasure troves of valuable information. Not only will they reveal previous grantees and amounts funded, but many times, you will also find information on the specified uses of the funding, such as general operations, capital, or programmatic.
2. Establish a Relationship
One of the most helpful measures you can take to increase your odds is to establish a relationship with the funder prior to submitting your proposal. Utilizing this opportunity by establishing an early line of communication can pave the road to success. Of course, it’s important that you reach out to the right person. The most effective contact person may have any one of a number of titles, such as grants manager, grants officer, program officer, or executive director. Regardless of their title, once you have determined who best to contact, give them a call. Use this opportunity to ask if you may introduce your organization, seek advice on writing a successful proposal, or even just to clarify a question you have about their funding priorities.
3. Preserve your Zen: Plan Ahead and Communicate Requirements Early
One of the greatest favors you can do for yourself as you lay the groundwork of a successful grant application is to run an initial assessment of what information is required for submission. A careful review of the grant portal or grant application form will help you determine what questions you need to answer, the information you’ll need to answer those questions, and who you need to ask for support in compiling that information. Remember, few grant writers are an island unto themselves. As you proceed, don’t forget to be respectful of staff time and their deadlines by requesting information early!
4. Proofread Throughout the Writing Process
Rather than saving it all for the end, the best approach to quality proofreading is to proofread throughout the creation of your proposals. Don’t count on yourself to catch all the mistakes in a single sweep at the end! Grant applications, by nature, involve the assembly of many pieces, some of which are being edited as you assemble the proposal. Instead of waiting until they all converge to examine them, it’s wise to first review them as isolated components.