Top 3 Tips: Before, During, and After Writing a Grant Proposal

Written by: Maddy Jensen, Youth MOVE National Intern

  1. Read and Reread the Application

You’ve done the hard work of finding a grant that you’re eligible for. Now it is time to sit down and write your proposal. Before you put pen to paper, there are two things to do. Read and reread the application. Knowing the required pieces of a grant application is imperative to your success as the writer.  The application should outline exactly what the funder wants you to include in your proposal, the formatting of certain aspects like your budget, and any additional information not contained in a typical application. 

Pro Tip: Do not be afraid to contact the funder or funding foundation. More times than not, you will only benefit from starting or maintaining a professional relationship with them. You can ask questions about your eligibility, requirements, or even offer appreciation for their consideration and help. 

  1. Get To Know the Foundations Mission, Goals, and Reach in Order To Write to Your Audience

A large part of writing a successful grant is knowing what the funders value and connecting that to your own mission or project. Before you start your proposal, it can be helpful to do some research into what the foundation values, where else they have given money, and what their mission statement is. Then, spend some time getting creative to connect your mission with there’s. Foundations love to see how the projects they fund are going to increase the success of their community. Make your proposal community focused and values aligned for a greater chance of success. 

  1. Follow Up, Ask Questions, and Be Transparent 

You have written an awesome grant proposal and you’ve received an announcement that you were awarded the money! It is important now to remain transparent with your funders in order to maintain a good relationship for future funding. Make sure you know their requirements to ensure and continue funding throughout your project. This can look like regular evaluation and reporting, invitation to events, and an expectation of communication. 

On the other hand, you unfortunately were not chosen as a recipient of their grant money. Now is the time to ask questions. Consider drafting an email or phone call to ask specific questions about your proposal. Sometimes funders will leave comments, but a follow up can give you a better insight as well as continue the conversation for funding at a different time. 

Pro Tip: My papaw always says, ‘it isn’t what you know. It is who you know.’ Keep this in mind as you enter the grant writing world. Call on people in your organization for help or support. Maintain strong relationships with community partners and funders. Use those around you to brainstorm, proofread, and celebrate with. After all, grant writing is hard, but the payout is worth it!

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