Learning the art of grant writing takes an enormous amount of time and effort. A crucial part of the process is research. This includes finding the best funding agency for the organization and researching the program they wish to fund. We’ll talk about this later in the article.
Trust me, your research will pay high dividends in the end.
The first thing you should do when writing a grant is meet with the individual in the organization who will be your contact person. Remind them this is a collaborative effort. Although you will be doing the heavy lifting, it’s their responsibility to provide you with all the necessary information to understand the program they are attempting to fund.
The two of you will work closely together to complete the proposal. Ask them to tell you about their organization. If they can’t describe their mission and have trouble communicating their vision, how will you effectively write a proposal.
Don’t rely strictly on them to provide you with the information. Research, research, and research.
Be sure you know what they wish to accomplish and how they intend to use the money. Understand the problem they are trying to solve.
If you are writing, for example, an Arts/Culture grant for an after-school art program, research how this program will enrich the lives of the children who will attend. What is the value of art and culture in their lives? Is there any economic value? Will it increase their grades, or will it promote their civic responsibility?
Do your homework. Dig deep and find studies and statistics. Look for bits factual information to add to the proposal. It will give credibility to the project.
Funders want to know the program is well thought out. It’s your job to convince them the organization is a worthy one to fund.
Remember, funding agencies don’t care how the money is going to help the nonprofit organization. Their interest is in how the funds will benefit the community?
Create a picture that tells a story.
When you have done all the research and ready to finally write the proposal, think of it as a piece of art. Visualize yourself standing in front of a painters easel. The canvas is blank. You must paint a picture that tells a story. The funding agency needs to look at your art and easily understand the message you, the artist, is trying to convey. Then use your creative writing skills to put that picture on paper, in the form of a proposal.
Write a needs statement that tells stories of real people and how they relate to the problem or address the solution. Be colorful, use emotion, draw the reader in with compelling dialogue. Pull out all the stops.
Grant writing is highly competitive. Create a masterpiece. Submit a grant application that stands out from all the rest. It will give you the edge over your competitors.
You will be glad you took extra time to discover the art of grant writing.