With billions of dollars given away through grants each year, it’s no wonder nonprofits often rely on them as major components of their annual funding. Grants are an excellent way to fundraise for your organization—however, the process can be intimidating.
Grant writing is the process of requesting funding provided by a private, corporate, or government grant maker. Grant seeking can be competitive, which is why it is important for grant writers to write clear, logical, and tailored proposals.
The Writing Center at University of Wisconsin-Madison examines the basics of planning and writing a grant proposal.
One way to begin is to obtain background information on your potential funder. What are their goals and values? How does your nonprofit align with them? This way you can adapt your proposal to further persuade your potential funder. Make sure to review the grant’s expectations to make sure your organization meets the requirements and follows the instructions.
To establish credibility, present your organization as knowledgeable, capable, and forward thinking. Reference past accomplishments where appropriate. Outline your information knowledgeably and concisely—don’t be afraid to be direct!
Once you are ready to start writing your proposal, review the main elements generally included in one:
- Short overview/abstract summary: Present the most important elements of your proposal—such as an introduction of your organization, your purpose or goal, expected outcome, and how you will measure your success. It may be best to complete this last, as it is an abbreviated version of your proposal.
- Statement of need: Establish value in your project by explaining the problem it will respond to. Include data if necessary.
- Description of project/strategies and tactics: Describe your project’s goals, expected outcomes, methods to achieve these outcomes, and the timeline for your project.
- Budget: Through tables and figures, clarify what you are asking for with justifications of costs.
Other sections may be required. For nonprofits, funders may ask for organizational qualifications in which you would describe the nature, mission, and function of your organization.
For more grant writing tips: