When a grant opportunity has been identified, the winning applicant is sometimes just the person who has written the most compelling grant proposal. For that reason, when writing grants, take the time to make it the best, most compelling proposal possible.
- Write a cover letter. A cover letter should accompany any grant proposal, even short ones. This is a standard component of a proposal and sending one without the cover letter may make it look amateurish and unprofessional. The cover letter should be short and to the point, covering a brief overview of the organization and what the grant funding would be used for, as well as contact information for the organization.
Write a summary. The summary is a small section that sums up who your organization is any why they need the grant. This should include what your organization is trying to do and why, as well as the effects you expect from your project. The summary should be fairly detailed to give the reader a sense of how the project impacts areas greater than just the organization. If you are seeking funding to build a skating rink, you might discuss how your company is qualified to build it, who would come to the rink, and how having a new rink would positively impact the local community. Include the budget of the project -- the total cost of building the rink and outfitting it with the necessary flooring, skates, etc. Also include what funds have already been offered by other agencies or from private funding. After describing the entire budget of the project, state how much you are seeking from the grant.
Write a company history. After the summary, you can begin a more lengthy history of the company or organization seeking the grant. Include information about its founding, and what the company has been primarily involved in. Tie this information back to the current project that is in need of the grant.
State the greater goals of the project. This area of the grant proposal will describe what needs the project will fill or what overall purpose you hope to achieve through it. For our skating rink, what is motivating us to take on the project? Is it a high level of adolescent crime and an absence of activities for adolescents in the area? Then the proposed rink would curb crime by directing the aimless adolescents toward skating instead of stealing.
State concrete, measurable objectives of the project. If the goal is to reduce crime and provide fun for kids, that should be discussed in measurable terms. The skating rink could be seeking to reduce crime from 2 to 5 p.m. by 25 percent. Having some concrete numbers for returns on the grant means that there are measurable ways to assure that the project is successful.
Write a timetable. This section of the proposal should be a detailed account of who will do what and when. Describe when each stage of the project will be finished and who will be in charge of each stage. You might also include in this section a timetable for when the project will be successful by your measurable terms.
Write a budget. The budget portion of the proposal should come last, but it should be one of the most detailed portions of the proposal. In the budget, outline what each part of the project should cost, using some concrete means of calculating those costs. Include the costs of materials, labor, and any other costs that will be associated with the project.
When writing a grant proposal, remember to honestly account for the resources at your disposal. If volunteers will be working on it, do not add those labor costs into the proposal. If there is not a real crime problem in the area, don't use that as a reason to build the skating rink. Everything listed in the proposal should be verifiable and presented in an honest, compelling way in order to obtain the funds you need to make a difference in your community.