by ed2go instructor, Dr. Beverly Browning (Dr. Bev)
(more about this instructor below)
Start by Creating a Fundraising Plan
In order to give yourself the best chance of successfully obtaining grant money, before you do anything else, you must develop a project fundraising plan. A fundraising plan is an organized, written vision and roadmap that describes the methodology you will use and plots the path you will take to bring in grant funds for your project. A funding plan is also a “mantra” that drives you in your daily pursuit of grant funding.
Start your plan by writing a mission statement (one strong sentence that you can read and repeat daily). For example: Each week I will look at funding alerts to identify potential sources for the $100,000 needed to start my nonprofit organization.
Make sure you have an accurate assessment of your funding needs. Have you included compensation for yourself (also called a stipend) for your time and expertise in managing or implementing the grant-funded project? Did you include all other project-related expenses such as equipment, supplies, communications, contracted services, travel, printing, and any other needed items or services?
Here are some tips for that will help you successfully win a grant award.
Conduct Rigorous Grant Research
Identify potential sources for funding your project. Consider subscribing to one or more online grant research databases. I like to use the Foundation Directory Online because it’s affordable and easy to navigate.
Once you have identified at least 10 potential funding sources for your project, take a close look at each of their grant proposal guidelines. Some funders require you to download and fill out their application form while others want you to do it online. Still other funders require you to submit a letter of inquiry or a letter proposal. You can learn more about the requirements for each of these formats in my easy-to-understand, bestselling book, Grant Writing for Dummies.
Write Your Grant Proposal Competitively and Concisely
Begin to craft a winning narrative for your grant proposal formats, and remember that multiple funders will mean multiple formats. Develop a convincing “Needs Statement” that will convey to the funder that you absolutely cannot finish your project without external funding support. Make sure you tell funders about the void or gap of programs or services that you propose to provide—once funding is awarded.
Next, write your “plan of operation”. Tell the funder the purpose of your project, and list your goals for it (global and futuristic information impact for your intended readership). Write SMART objectives or benchmarks. (SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timebound.) Then, create your Logic Model, which is a table graphic to show funders that you have a well planned and thought through approach to starting and finishing your project on time. End this section of the narrative with an evaluation paragraph—organizational-accountability measures to prove you have reached all of your project’s objectives. The last two sections of a winning narrative are the Management Plan or Key Personnel and the Budget.
Remember to proof and edit your final proposal multiple times, and have someone else read the funder’s guidelines and your written responses to call out red flags that can result in getting a rejection notice from the funder. If the submission format allows for extra callouts, polish your funding proposal by bolding, underlining, or italicizing key words of phrases throughout the narrative.
Submit Your Grant Proposal and Wait
Remember to mail the funding proposal at least one week before the funder’s published deadline and confirm delivery by a signed receipt or by calling the funder.
About our ed2go instructor
Dr. Beverly Browning (Dr. Bev) is a 40+ year grant writing consultant and also the Director of her own nonprofit, the Grant Writing Training Foundation. She has assisted clients and event attendees in strengthening the capacity of their professional acumen and organizational capacity. As a high-profile grants consultant, Dr. Bev is credited with more than $430 million in contract and grant awards. She is the author of 43 publications and is in high demand for facilitating training programs and delivering keynote speeches nationwide and internationally. Dr. Bev is a member of the Grants Professional Association and has taught for Ed2Go since 2001.