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While grant writing can be challenging, the hard work will pay off if you learn to do it well and your organization receives a grant. We have provided some practical tips and strategies below that can help you write a strong, successful grant proposal.

Know Your Audience

Grant reviewers may be volunteers or staff members. Make their job of understanding and scoring your application as easy as possible.  

  • Assume that the reviewer knows nothing about your community or organization, the needs you address, what you do, or how you do it.
  • Avoid jargon and excessive acronyms. Explain unique terms and concepts and spell out all acronyms on first reference. Write in a simple, conversational tone that is easy to understand.
  • Carefully proofread and watch for grammatical mistakes.
  • Be interesting! Write your proposal in a way that will make it stand out from others. Include a story to capture the heart and mind of the reader.

Follow the Funder's Directions

Following the directions provided by a funder will show them you are ready to accept the responsibility that comes with a grant and follow-up reports.

  • Be mindful of due dates and times. Most funders won’t accept an application turned in even one minute past the deadline. Give yourself extra time in case technical issues arise.
  • Answer questions in the order they are listed.
  • Use the funder’s headings, terminology, and formats.
  • Complete the forms provided

Highlight your Strengths

Funders want to hear about how you affect change, your impact on the community, and solutions to community challenges.

  • Be solution-based and demonstrate your ability to affect change.
  • Paint a picture for the funder that you are worth an investment.
  • Present solutions and show the impact you have had and will continue to have.
  • Describe how you have developed relationships in the community and how your program will build on what already exists.
  • Include a powerful example, story, quote, or endorsement to engage the reader into wanting to know more about your organization.

Create a Writing Schedule

When applying for a grant, make a list of all the documents that need to be submitted, tasks that need to be completed, people responsible for each task, and a due date for completing tasks.

Most funders require you to attach certain documents to your application in addition to the project narrative and budget. Be sure to allow time in your grant writing schedule to collect these attachments, which may include:

  • Nonprofit incorporation letter
  • of board members
  • Most recent audit (if applicable)
  • Tax forms
  • Resumes of key staff
  • Job descriptions
  • Support letters