Feb 26, 2016
While a nonprofit needs regular donors to contribute frequently through the organization's online donation form, winning a grant from a foundation or corporation can give your nonprofit a much needed shot in the arm. Not only does it boost your budget for projects, it also reassures your nonprofit that others believe in the work you do and your mission. However, writing a grant proposal is easier said than done. Many first-time writers find their proposals coming back to them with a rejection slip. Don't get discouraged, though. While you can't devote your whole work day to polishing your grant writing, there are a few tips and tricks to hone your message, and hopefully, win that grant money.
1. Develop an outline
Don't start writing until you know what you plan to say in your proposal. Holly Thompson, contributing editor for the Grantsmanship Center, and The Nonprofit Times suggest formulating an outline for your grant that not only asks questions, but provides clear and concise answers to them. For instance, present the problem your nonprofit is trying to solve and provide evidence and hard data to back up the reasons why this is an issue the foundation should care about. Do you have statistical data or, better yet, individual case examples and anecdotes that can put a human face to the problem? If so, integrate this information into your grant to demonstrate just how great the need is.
2. Tell how you will help
After you address the problem, describe the particular venture your nonprofit plans to launch in order to solve the issue. Nonprofit Hub noted many corporations do not award grant money to just support a nonprofit. Instead they want to give to a specific project the nonprofit has in mind. With that said, hone in on the project's intended objectives and provide details of how the venture will accomplish its goals.
3. Eliminate jargon
As a manager of a nonprofit, you most likely use a lot of industry speak in your day-to-day work. However, when it comes to writing a grant, you should drop it. A foundation's members might not know what you're talking about if you use nonprofit lingo or if you use longer, more complex words and syntax. While you want to come off as an expert in your field, you don't want to alienate people either. Keep your proposal simple and straightforward.
When it comes to grant writing, you want to appeal to your audience's emotions and show them your novel approaches to making the world a better place.