It is important to remember that no matter how much grant writing experience you have, grant writing can be a time consuming process. Don’t leave it to the last minute as that only increases the chances of submitting an application with errors and having it rejected.
In order to find granting sources before beginning the grant writing process free sources such as the Canada Revenue Agency’s list of charities and Blumberg’s CharityData can be helpful. Taking the time to conduct prospect research to ensure that your interests align with those of the funder is vital. If the funders’ interests don’t align with those of your organization then it doesn’t make sense to spend time with the application process. Similarly, prospect research can assist with the amount your organization requests.
Once you have determined that your mission aligns with the funders’ interests review the grant application’s requirements and guidelines. First thoroughly read all of the instructions; find out what materials and documents are required and make plans to obtain them. It is also a good idea to reach out to a prospective funder to discuss your project before you start the application. They can often provide helpful guidance regarding the application process and highlight what to emphasize in the application. It is also a way to build a strong relationship with the funder.
It is important to make a strong case – your application needs to clearly outline your organization’s goals and why you are applying for the grant in the first place. It can be helpful to include both real life stories and statistics in order to create interest. When writing the application it is also important to focus on both the outcomes and the impact of your work rather than only on the work plan or processes that will be undertaken. The funder needs to understand both the importance of your project and the impact of their funding. It is also important to align your budget to your proposal. The budget plays a large role in the application. It is a way to show how you will make an impact with the funding you receive.
Your grant application should be as easy to read as possible. Make sure to keep your writing immaculate, keep the content well organized, and provide supporting documentation when required. Do not use the same application for multiple grants, be sure to customize each one of the specific grant you are applying for. It is a good idea to have your grant application reviewed by a second set of eyes before submitting. It can also be helpful to hire an external consultant who specializes in grant writing to assist.
Although grant writing can be a tedious process, never rush it! Reviewers can tell when an application has been pulled together at the last minute. Missing items or not following instructions can put your application at risk of being rejected – sometimes before the content is even reviewed.