Grant Writing Tip #2
Do your research and see if any other nonprofit organizations operate projects similar to the one you want to develop.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but I can’t tell you how many nonprofit organizations come up with ideas for projects, but they don’t realize that the exact programs may already be operating in the neighborhood.
Here’s the thing. Just because you don’t know if a project exists, does not mean that it doesn’t exist. Do your due diligence to check and see if other partner organizations are already running that specific project.
Are you ready for the Catch-22?
Just because a partner nonprofit is running that same type of project, it does not mean that you cannot develop the project. Your project might serve a different demographic, or be able to serve a wider network.
However, it is important when writing your grant application that you demonstrate why there is a need for your project if there is already an existing similar project.
For example, your nonprofit organization may want to start a community garden. You do your research and find out that less than five miles away another nonprofit is running a community garden. It does not mean you have to throw in the towel, but instead you can reach out to the nonprofit and find out more about who they serve and any existing gaps.
Let’s just say that they have a wait list for people wanting plots at the community garden. In that case, your project might be almost identical. In your grant you could clearly state that there is a need for additional plots of land for gardening based on the wait list.
However, let’s say that this other nonprofit has lots of plots available at their community garden. However, maybe their plots are only available for senior citizens and your community garden will serve the community-at-large. In this way, your project may still be needed since you serve a different demographic.
You can see how this information will help shape the need for your project and without this research, it might fall flat.
Grant Writing Tip #3
Use citations in your grant proposals.
I can’t tell you how many grant applications that I have reviewed that do not use citations! Many (mostly federal) funding sources require you to cite sources in your grant proposal. However, a lot of foundation grants do not stipulate this, but that does not mean that they do not want citations included.
Also, use more than one citation in your grant proposal.
What do I mean by this?
Well, if you are showcasing the needs for a community garden project, then include quotes, references, testimonies, statistics, reports, that identify the need for the project. Make sure that you include the citations from where you found these sources.
For example: “According to the Nutritious Study Report (2022), sixty-eight percent of children under the age of ten in Gray County suffer from malnourishment.”
Insert a footnote or attach a bibliography that includes the full citation!
This showcases credibility.
Grant Writing Tip #4
Use specific language in your grant writing proposals.
Do not use any of the following words by themselves: lack and need for.
I see these words utilized a lot in grant applications and the issue is that they are not specific. Grant writing is a technical language and requires specificity.
The following examples would not be specific enough:
“There is a lack of community gardens in Grey County.”
“There is a need for community gardens in Grey County.”
The following examples that are specific:
“Currently Gray County has one community garden. However, the existing community garden has a continual wait list and cannot serve the high demand for garden plots (Interview, 2022)”.
“Currently Gray County has one community garden, however this is available only for senior citizens. Project Amazing’s community gardens will serve the community-at-large and also focus on school fieldtrips to promote healthy nutrition.”
Grant Writing Tip #5:
Do not use flowery language.
I love creative writing. I even published two poetry books! Believe me, I am not bashing on creative writing at all. However, there is a time and place for it and grant writing is neither of those.
When writing grants, remember (tip #4) concise language is key.
Emotional rambling, with no citations or specific language, is going to make grant reviewers pull out their hair. More importantly, they will not be able to give you the scores you need to get to the top of the funding list.
Keep your flowery language for your blogs, but for grants be specific, specific, specific.
Grant Writing Tip #6
The rule of thumb is to have a maximum of three objectives.
Yes, you may have more objectives with certain grants (there are always exceptions). But overall, keep it to three objectives.
If you have more than this, they are usually activities.
Grant Writing Tip #7
Do not save the budget for last.
Many grant applications ask for the budget as the final item. But don’t let that fool you.
If you save the budget for the end, then you might end up having to revise your entire grant narrative.
Well, you may realize that oh, snap! you actually don’t have enough money for all those fancy positions, office space, or supplies. All that time you spent gathering resumes, working on leases, or getting quotations may be wasted.
I recommend you write your objectives and budget at the same time.
Grant Writing Tips Summary
- Grant Writing Tip #1: Go after funding opportunities based on how good of a fit they are for your programs, not just on how much money is available.
- Grant Writing Tip #2: Do your research and see if any nonprofit organizations operate projects similar to the one you want to develop.
- Grant Writing Tip #3: Use citations in your grant proposals.
- Grant Writing Tip #4: Use specific language in your grant proposals.
- Grant Writing Tip #5: Do not use flowery language in your grant proposals.
- Grant Writing Tip #6: The rule of thumb is to have a maximum of three objectives.
- Grant Writing Tip #7: Do not save the budget for last.