12 Quick Tips for Better Grant Writing

Hear Jay Wilkinson at Cause Camp 2016 on April 7-8, 2016. He’ll be presenting the 5 Trends Shaping a New Reality for Nonprofits. Check out the full agenda for Cause Camp and register today.

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Grant writing is not for the faint of heart, but it can mean big bucks for the nonprofits who do it well. In 2014 alone, over $70 billion dollars were awarded by foundations and corporations, according to Charity Navigator, which means there’s a lot of funding to be had by the nonprofits willing to present their cases.

While grant writing is not an exact science, there are certainly steps you can take to increase your organization’s chances of receiving a piece of the pie. Here are 12 tips that will make your grant applications a cut above the rest.

  1. Spell out the need. Why are you applying for a particular grant? “Because we need funding” is not an acceptable answer. To increase your chances of being accepted, clearly describe the need that your project will meet in the community and how it will make a significant impact for good.
  2. Differentiate yourself. Tell how your organization’s work is different from other nonprofits in order to set yourself apart. To be honest, it’s rare for a nonprofit to be accepted for a grant without an existing relationship with the foundation, so most first-time grant proposals are rejected. That said, you significantly up your chances of getting a “yes” if you can set your organization apart from the masses.
  3. Target a specific project for your proposal. The majority of grants are awarded to a specific cause as opposed to just general support. By focusing your grant application on a single project, you will increase your chances of getting funded. And be detailed—this will show that you’ve clearly thought through how the project will be executed.
  4. Eliminate industry words and jargon. Every industry has its own jargon; nonprofits are no different. But to appeal to the majority of foundations and corporations, it’s best to eliminate all internally used acronyms and jargon. Tell your story from the heart, in words that everyone can understand.
  5. Lose the $10 words. The best grant proposals are easy to read, concise and understandable. Always.

Read the full article and check out the rest of the grant writing tips on Firespring.org>>

  • The #1 tip on any list related to grant writing should be, “Know what the funder wants.” Even if you all five things listed above, if you’re not doing it in the area or the format the funder wants, you’re doomed.