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Grant Writing Tips: Best Practices for Writing Successful Grant Proposals


As a grant writer, you need to start with the basic understanding that your job is to convince others (the funder) that your organization deserves their money. It's not about what you want or need. You have to make it clear that the funder will get their money's worth by supporting your project or program and its impact on the community. If you can't do this effectively, then you will not succeed in getting funding from anyone. Here are some tips for writing effective grant proposals:

Start with a budget

The budget is the foundation of a grant proposal, and it should be well-executed. A poorly executed budget will not only make your organization look like it doesn't know what it's doing, but can also cost you money in the long run.

For example:

● A good example of a well-executed budget would be one that shows exactly how much money has been spent on similar projects in the past (and how much was received from those grants), as well as projected costs for this project over its lifetime. It might also include an estimate of what additional funds might need to be raised in order to complete the project or program being proposed.

● On the other hand, if your organization has never done anything like what you're proposing before--or if even just one part of your plan is new--then including detailed information about comparable programs may not be possible yet because there aren't any comparable programs out there! In this case I recommend making sure at least one member on staff knows enough about grant writing so they can help put together something usable even though it won't necessarily pass muster with reviewers who want all their numbers lined up perfectly before they'll consider funding anything new.

Include the target population in your proposal

When you're writing your grant proposal, it's important to include the target population in your proposal. The description of your target population should be detailed and specific so that reviewers can clearly see how their needs are being addressed by your program or project.

● Include demographic information such as age group, gender, ethnicity and language spoken at home by members of this group.

● Include geographic location (city/county/state) where this group resides or works on a daily basis.

● Discuss any barriers or challenges faced by members of this group that may affect their ability to access services offered by partner organizations or agencies providing similar services within their community (for example: lack of transportation).

Include a narrative about the impact you have made

● Include a narrative about the impact you have made.

● Tell a story. Stories are powerful ways of making an emotional connection with your audience, and they help define your organization as more than just another provider of services. They also demonstrate how your work contributes to solving problems in the community and why it is important for the funding organization (and others) to support you.

● Use statistics to show how much better things were after working with you or how many people benefited from what was provided by this grant proposal process? You can add these into tables or graphs if necessary!

Keep the focus on your work and accomplishments, not the grant maker

The cover letter is your chance to tell the grant maker why your organization is the right one to do this work. You can use it to highlight what makes your organization unique, or explain why you are particularly well-suited for this project.

If you're applying for a grant from a foundation that supports similar causes, for example, it might be helpful to explain how and why your organization approaches its mission differently than other organizations in its field. Or if there are specific aspects of this particular project that align with another group's mission statement or values, highlight those connections as well!

Use graphics or other media to demonstrate your impact

Graphics or other media can help you tell a story. As the grant writer, you are responsible for demonstrating how your project will make a difference in the lives of those who benefit from it. You'll want to use graphics that illustrate this impact in a way that words alone cannot. For example, if you're applying for funding to support literacy programs at an after-school center, consider including photos or videos showing children participating in activities like reading circles and book clubs. The images will show how funds were used and demonstrate how effective they were at reaching their intended audience--and may even inspire other donors!

Using graphics is also an effective way to show how well-rounded your proposal is: if there's something specific about your organization's approach (such as its emphasis on diversity), show it off by including relevant statistics alongside images of staff members working with clients from diverse backgrounds.

Make sure all of your financials are correct and accurate.

In order to ensure that your financials are accurate and complete, it is important to:

● Ensure that all of your financials have been audited by a qualified accountant.

● Provide all financials in the currency of the funder (US dollars), even if it isn't your own country's currency.

If you plan on implementing this project in multiple countries, make sure that each country's local currency is clearly indicated on all supporting documents such as budgets or cash flow statements.

Do not submit multiple proposals for a single project or program to multiple funders at once

The best way to get funding is by submitting one proposal at a time, and getting it funded. If you submit multiple proposals for a single project or program to multiple funders at once, this will waste your time and money. It's also not a good way to build relationships with funders: when you submit your second proposal (or third), the funder might be annoyed that they have already rejected two other applications from you in the past month. And finally, there's no guarantee that any of these proposals will get funded; if one does not succeed, then all three may fail!

Write for the funder, not for yourself or your organization - think about who will be reading it and what they want to know

● Write for the funder, not yourself or your organization - think about who will be reading it and what they want to know.

● Focus on the funder's interests and priorities, not yours or your organization's needs.

● Avoid jargon or acronyms that may be unfamiliar to your audience (e.g., "excellence," "evidence-based").

These tips will help ensure that you write an effective grant proposal

● Use the tips to write a compelling narrative about your work.

● Make sure all of your financials are correct and accurate.

● Do not submit multiple proposals for a single project or program to multiple funders at once.


If you want to write a successful grant proposal, it's important to follow these tips. They will help ensure that your proposal is well-written and persuasive so that funders are more likely to say yes!

For more information about putting this information to work at your organization contact Bryan at ( 203) 954-5121 or

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