This week is International Grant Professionals Week, and Friday, March 10 is International Grant Professionals Day. In honor of grant professionals, our focus this week is on grants. More specifically, how to write effective grant proposals.
Writing Effective Grant Proposals
- Who will be receiving and reviewing your grant proposals?
It is important to know whether it is a group of individuals who know absolutely nothing about your organization and the work you do or is it a group of individuals from your local community that you might see in church on Sunday or at the local grocery store? Knowing this information will help you to understand how much about the organization’s history you need to share. However, it is important to always align the work of the organization with the funding opportunity. Help the reviewers see how you fit…..leave nothing to assumption, even if you think a connection is logical, spell it out for your reviewers.
- Develop your needs statement.
A needs statement is a picture of the challenge, issue or problem that you are addressing. Note, in this section you will not discuss your organization’s solution to the problem – ONLY the problem. Since there may be people reading the proposal who are not familiar with the problem, or at least the problem in your community, you need to help them understand it. This is usually done with data and statistics. Fortunately, the internet provides a wealth of data through well-trusted websites. Your needs statement should include information about the individuals who have the problem, when the problem exists, what other challenges arise out of this problem and what will happen if the problem is not solved. In addition to providing data which connects the mind or logic of your reviewers, also include a story (paint a picture of the problem) to connect with the hearts of your reviewers. [bctt tweet=”Effective grant proposals paint a picture of the problem to connect with the hearts of your reviewers. #nonprofit #ministry” username=”Grantconsultant”]
- Tell how your organization can solve that problem.
Focus on the work that your organization does, who it serves and how it serves to provide your solution. Do you have research that proves that your solution works….maybe best practice data or an evidence-based program? Has something similar been done in another area?
- Once the needs statement and project description are written, you can begin thinking about how to prove the program or service will work.
The big evaluation question is “how will we know that the program changed the lives of those served?” Then, how will you prove it through the use of data? These questions also require that you think through data collection tools, staffing and the review of data. It often helps to create a logic model, a visual representation, to think through these questions ahead of time. We have created a logic model that is available upon request. Send us an email and we will send it to you.
Put all of this information together and you will have an effective grant proposal, one that will hopefully get funded. But, there are actually a lot of reasons that proposals are not funded…we’ll save that for another day. We have developed an online grant writing intensive that will be opening soon. Contact us to get on the waiting list for its opening.
And, remember to say thanks to your favorite Grant Professional this week.