We aren’t going to pretend grant writing is easy. It takes time, effort, and a lot of attention to detail. Each proposal, written and submitted, should be as strong as possible to ensure the best chance of approval from a grantmaker. We want to help you strengthen your chances of receiving funding, so we put together this list detailing the five most important elements of a strong proposal. Take a look then go forth and conquer!
A Compelling Project That Will Fill a Critical Need
Every strong grant proposal should include a full description of the proposed project and the need it will fill within the community, but how does one make that compelling? The first step is to perform research and ensure that the funder to which you are submitting is a good fit for both the organization and project and that the request is reasonable. Review prospective funders on Foundation Directory Online (FDO), check out the funder’s website and review their most recent IRS 990s to make sure their priorities and level of funding align with the project and needs. The funder will not find the submission compelling if it falls outside of their interests.
Once this research is complete and you are confident that the grantmaker is a good fit for the organization and project you can begin gathering the data and crafting the narrative. Use concise and clear language, along with plenty of verifiable data and statistics, to explain the current state of the problem and the proposal to solve it.
Solid Community Data Justifying the Need
Speaking of data and statistics, a strong proposal presents the grantmaker with local data that shows the impact that your project will have. Strive to show a comparison between state and national data that will justify your case for support. Illustrate clearly, with data, any gaps in service that exist between the private and public sectors and any barriers that are currently keeping those in need from receiving services. This data may take a while to compile so for a winning proposal, give yourself plenty of time to gather the numbers needed.
Outcome Measures Showing the Impact of the Organization.
It is not enough just to state the accomplishments of the organization, you will want to show, through data, that the organization is making a difference in the community. In the proposal, provide numbers to support how many community members are being helped each year and the broad impact that the organization is having on the problem that it seeks to solve. This may require data from before the organization or program existed, as well as the data that shows the progress made in solving the problem, so again, allow for plenty of time to gather and review the information.
Evaluation Method to Measure Success of the Project
In the proposal, present grantmakers with a step-by-step breakdown of how the organization will judge the productivity of the project. Decide whether the evaluation should be goal-based, process-based, or outcome-based and ensure that the measures selected are realistic, measurable, and verifiable. Additionally, mention how they will be documented, who will be documenting, and how often documentation will be performed.
Match Commitment to Show You Have Skin in the Game
Most grantmakers will want to see that steps are being taken to ensure the project or program becomes a reality by seeing the consideration of other sources of funding. This shows that you have the support of your community and/or board behind you. Some sources of commitment could include money raised through crowdfunding, a gift from a large donor(s), or money/goods put forth by a corporate partner. Additional project funding shows that the project is sustainable and is likely to have support even after the grant funding has been spent. Ensure that any match commitment you present is verifiable or that there is a realistic plan in place to match the funds through donations from the community.
While there are many more intricacies to writing the perfect grant, including these five elements will give you a solid head start on crafting a strong proposal. With the spring grant cycle just around the bend, now is an ideal time to begin your research and gather the data that may be useful in your 2021 proposals.
About Jelly Nonprofit Consulting
Located in San Angelo, Texas, the mission of Jelly Nonprofit Consulting is to partner with nonprofit organizations to make the world sweeter through grant writing and other support services. At Jelly Nonprofit Consulting… Nonprofits are our jam!
Learn more at www.jellynpc.com
- Jelly Nonprofit Consulting