December Fundraising Tip | Writing Strong Grants

December 30, 2013
| by Editor |

Whether received from a foundation, corporation, or the government, grants are an essential form of funding for the majority of nonprofit organizations—nearly $600 million in grant funding was distributed to Georgia nonprofits in 2011, according to data from the Foundation Center. In this month’s Fundraising Tip, GCN Development Manager Corby Herschman details the important steps to take before, during, and after the grant writing process. 

You’ve just come across a huge grant opportunity – now what? 

  1. Ensure Fit
    Before investing time and energy into the grant writing process, make sure that this grant aligns with your organization’s mission. If there is a disconnect between your programs and the grant’s requirements, don’t bother filling out the application. Chances are there is an organization whose programs fit well within the scope of the grant, making them a more competitive applicant and more likely to receive the funds. Ensuring the right fit not only saves time, but also increases the chance of grant approval. This also applies to creating new programs for the sake of receiving a grant – it will always turn into more work than expected!
     

  2. Don’t Rush It
    A tight deadline could be the decisive factor in winning or losing a grant because it limits your ability to thoroughly research and write a strong application. In a rush to the finish line, you may overlook small but specific instructions on format, documentation, or submittal. This advice is especially poignant for new grants, as you may be unfamiliar with the formatting, application templates, or required supplemental materials.
     

  3. Follow Directions and Answer Questions
    How do grant reviewers whittle down their applicant pool? Many eliminate applications that don’t follow their rules. Even small errors can take your organization out of the running – so make sure your application follows content and packaging guidelines to a tee. Similarly, grant reviewers will not be impressed by your application if you aren’t addressing their questions appropriately. When writing, make sure your narrative is directly answering each prompt and remember that specific, detailed questions call for equally specific and detailed responses.
     

  4. Get a Second Pair of Eyes
    When writing a grant, you may find yourself “in too deep,” getting too technical with organization or program specifics, or leaving out essential details because they seem too obvious. Asking a supervisor or coworker to read through the final draft of your grant application ensures that your narrative clearly addresses the prompts and will reduce typos and grammatical errors. 

Corby Herschman is Development Manager at the Georgia Center for Nonprofits.

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