Top 3 Grant Writing Tips for Nonprofits—The Ones Nobody Talks About

Whether you’re an experienced nonprofit grant writer or a total newbie, chances are you’ve looked online for some general tips. And, if you’re finding what we’re finding, you’ve most likely read something along these lines—don’t be too general, don’t be over-detailed, avoid poor reasoning, be logical and forget the quantitative data.

While yes, these tips are handy, we’ve read them. All of them. Numerous times. We’re looking for something different, and so should you. So here they are.

No Negative Nancys Allowed

Be positive. Painting a meek, devastating picture of what the world will look like if they don’t support your grant is a bad approach. No matter how pathetic you make your cause sound without money, they won’t budge.

Instead, win them over by using logic. Yes, logic. Present your ideas simply and succinctly. Ensure that every need and goal of your plan is clearly stated and readily understood.

Skip the Expendable Gobbledygook

Don’t make them work for it. Avoid ambiguous jargon. Those terms may make sense to you (hopefully it does) because you’re in the business, but to your grant readers it may be a source of confusion.

For example, the phrase “sustainable ideas” can be more easily understood when reworded to “best practices.” Fancy fluff won’t impress your grant readers—so cut the fluff.

Everything Matters

Once approved, will you need to purchase new software to see your grant through? How much will that cost? Will you need additional employees to make it happen? How many?

Leave no stone unturned when it comes to your detailed budget. When we say detailed, we mean detailed. Now, don’t go including sheets of paper used or pencil grippers needed—you know where to draw the line.


Kathryn Pauley

Kathryn is a regular contributor to the Nonprofit Hub. Soon to be college graduate, she enjoys helping nonprofits understand better how to reach the millennial demographic—cause we are living in a millennial world, and Kathryn's a millennial girl. With experience leading the largest student-run charity event on her campus, she looks forward to bringing her unique perspective to the Hub team every day.

April 19, 2012

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