Grant Writing Made Simple With This 7 Step Model

Grant Writing Made Simple With This 7-Step Model

By: Marcie Davis

Whether you are an experienced professional in a non-profit organization or you are an independent consultant, or a business owner, chances are you feel overwhelmed when it comes to grant writing. While you may be a professional in your field, grant writing is not one of your strengths.

Local, state and federal governments and private foundations award billions of dollars in grant funding to organizations each year. Here is just a short list of obstacles that may be keeping you from pursuing grant opportunities:

A. Unclear About Where to Find Grant Opportunities: Most professionals do not have a clue where to begin to looking for grant funding opportunities. Do I look on the Internet, the newspaper? Where are grant opportunities announced?

B. Confused About the Difference between Government Grants vs. Private Foundations: What is a government grant? Who has the money and how can my program apply? Who are the private foundations out there interested in our cause?

C. Unsure About What Funders are Interested in Funding: How can I get funder attention for my organization?

D. Not Meeting Grant Deadlines: How in the world can I take the time to write a winning grant proposal when I have 50 other office fires to extinguish every day?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, chances are your organization is not profiting from grant opportunities as much as you could be. To help relieve your anxiety and begin pursuing grant funds that your organization deserves, here is a simple seven step grant writing strategy.

1. Research Potential Grant Opportunities: Identify who awards grant dollars within your local community and state. Then look at who awards grants at the national level. Who are the private foundations that provide grants to your type of organization? Who are the government agencies that provide grants to your type of organization?

2. Be Creative: Grant opportunities are posted in a variety of places that are free to the public. Look in your local newspapers classified legal section, search the Internet, sign-up for government and private foundation electronic and snail mail newsletters, sign up for email list servs. Be sure to sign up for the federal government grant notifier.

3. Garner Support: Get letters of support from elected officials, dignitaries, and other organizations that may benefit from the grant award. Demonstrate to the funding agency that your organization works collaboratively with other entities and leaders within your community.

4. Write a Winning Proposal: You do not have to be an award winning author to write a winning grant proposal. Start simple and READ THE DIRECTIONS. Tell a compelling story of your organization and how you make a difference for your constituents. Identify specific and achievable project goals and objectives.

A goal is a general statement about what you would like to achieve. Keep it straightforward and attainable.

A measurable objective is a quantifiable statement that specifies what must be done to achieve the desired goal. Simplicity is the key.

5. Meet the Deadline: The first thing you should do when even considering submitting a grant application is to identify the grant requirements and deadline. Read the directions and do whatever it takes to meet the grant deadline. Grant deadlines are usually set in stone and if your proposal is one minute late it is usually disqualified. You never want to spend your valuable time and effort on a proposal only to miss the deadline.

6. Follow-up with the Grant Funder: Get to know the funding organization. Communicate regularly with the funding organization. Make an appointment with the government administrators who are awarding the grant funds, ask about their interests, develop an ongoing relationship with the funder. Explore local businesses to see if they have foundations that award grants.

7. Remember you are selling your program! You are the best person to advocate on behalf of your organization. Establish a relationship with the grant funders and tell them why your program should be selected for funding. Make your proposal stand out from the competition!

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