So actually, when you make a grant proposal template, it would be like making a call to action. It’s an appeal to a founder or a benefactor to partner with a nonprofit organization to be able to achieve specific goals or desired results. It is essential for key members of a nonprofit organization to know how to make such proposals so that if the need arises, they can easily make one.
This article is all about proposals for a grant, from the basic elements, types and even tips and tips in making one. Read on and be guided by all this useful information.
Basic Parts/Elements of a Grant Proposal Template
Before you start making a proposal to send to generous benefactors, you’d first have to know the most basic parts and elements of an effective proposal. Each and every year, big corporations and agencies of the government give out billions of dollars in grants to different companies and nonprofit organizations to fund projects and address issues which they are interested in. So being able to write a great proposal could qualify as a very valuable skill to have. To help you achieve that, let’s take a look at the basic parts and elements of a proposal:
This would be a short summary of the whole document and it should be about half a page in length. It should explain and describe in detail the project you are proposing, similar to an executive summary of a business plan.
Statement of Needs
This would talk about the problem, issue, concern or situation that your proposal will deal with, along with any and all supporting evidence. It should be focused on an issue you’re hoping to solve with the money you are requesting for in the grant. You’d have to be able to prove that the issue can be resolved, that your agency or organization is the most ideal one to fix the issue and that the issue is important enough that it needs funding.
Description of the Project
This would describe the whole project you are planning to undertake wherein you would explain how it will be able to solve the problem at hand. Word it in such a way that the reader is as convinced as you are.
Goals to be Achieved
Here you would be establishing and explaining the results you would like to get from your project. You’d have to identify short-term and long-term goals along with all the effects which are to be achieved and all the means you plan to use. All the goals should be reasonable, measurable and planned within a specific amount of time.
Plan of Action
This would be a step by step account of all the activities (arranged in sequence) which must be finished to be able to achieve the goals. It should be specific and clear in terms of who will be doing each of the steps and when they will be done.
Here you would be explaining how the project will be monitored throughout and how the results will be evaluated. It should establish the criteria for measuring the progress, identify the persons who will be conducting the evaluations and when they will be held.
This is an important part as this is where you will establish where you will be using the money you are requesting for. The budget of your project should fall within the amount of money you’re asking for. Remember to be realistic and only add in expenses which are appropriate. Also be sure to write everything clearly and in full detail so that there is no confusion.
These are the most basic elements which you should include when you are writing your own proposal. When you include all these elements, your proposal would be effective enough that you might actually get what you’re asking for!
Types of Grant Proposals
If you’re feeling overwhelmed when you think about how to write grant proposal, you don’t have to worry. Actually there are different types of proposals and each of them have different lengths and content, depending on what your purpose is for actually asking for a grant. Let’s take a look at the three most common types:
Letter of Inquiry (LOI)
These kinds of proposals are usually made to foundations. It is a way for you to catch the attention and interest of a foundation to fund or financially support your project. When you make an LOI, you may send it to a number of different foundations and see which of them would give you a positive response.
An LOI would only be 2-3 pages in length, which would actually be a summary of your whole project. When you get a good response from one of the foundations you sent the letter to, you can take a step further and give them a longer proposal which would contain a lot more details.
When making an LOI, you would have to explain the need, make an outline of your plan to meet the need and establish how your project would fit into the foundation’s priorities.
This is the most complete kind of grant proposal sample you can come up with. You would be using a relatively standard format which would contain a cover letter, a whole summary of your project and the budget or the amount of money you would need to do your project.
A full proposal can be as short as 5 pages and as long as 25 pages. Make sure you follow all the instructions of the funder in regards to how they want to set-up the proposal.
A lot of big corporations and agencies actually prefer a letter proposal rather than a full one. This is because some full proposals may be too long and the key people in the corporations may not have time to go through them.
A letter proposal would only be about 3-4 pages and it should contain a description of the project, an explanation of your organization and what’s it about and of course the amount of money you are requesting for from the benefactor/s.
As you can see, the type of proposal you’d be making would depend entirely on you, but you should also consider the benefactors or funders you are planning to send your proposal to. This would allow you to make good decisions throughout your whole proposal process. Now let’s move on some useful tips which would help you before you even begin writing your document.
Some Tips Before You Start Writing Your Grant Proposal Template
To be able to make a great proposal, you’d have to prepare yourself first and prepare everything you would need so that the whole writing process will be smooth. Here are some useful tips to help you out before you start writing your proposal:
Start the process early and try applying to more than one benefactors so that you will have a higher chance of getting a good response. Make sure your proposal has a cover letter and try to think about all questions which will be asked of you so you can answer them in your application. Don’t give up if your proposal gets rejected – make some revisions and try applying again.
Do your research so you will know all the application guidelines and you will be able to follow them exactly. Always use clear and specific statements and sentences in your document. Also remember to be practical and realistic when you are creating your proposal.
Establish all your needs and focus on the task at hand – which is to make your proposal. Here are some questions which can help you start:
- Are you looking for funding for research or to solve a problem or issue?
- Are you about to request for funding for a project which may last for a long time or one which will be finished in a shorter time frame?
- What’s the purpose of your project and why would you need funding for it?
- Will your organization be able to solve the problem with the current staff it has?
Start determining which kind of grant you will be using before you actually starts drafting or making your proposal. Since there are different types, you would have to think about which one fits into your project the best and use that format in making your content.You should also start doing research on what companies or agencies can potentially fund your project. This process may take a lot of time so you should start this a lot earlier and never leave it as a last step, after your proposal has already been written.
When writing a proposal, you’d have to consider a few things to be able to come up with an effective grant proposal sample which will most likely be approved. These factors are:
Since you’ve already done research on the different agencies or companies who can fund your project, do research on them too. Doing this would give you a better idea on what kind of people would be reading your document. Make sure you write your document while thinking about your audience so you can set the right tone and use the right wordings to explain the content of your proposal. You can also consider your audience when thinking about how long or how short your document would be. This would increase the chance that your proposal will be read completely.
The Style of Writing
The way you would be writing your proposal would say a lot about who you are and what your organization is all about. When the funders go through your proposal, they will not only learn about your project but they will also start getting an idea of what you’re all about. This is why you should always make sure that the content of your document is professional and respectful. But also don’t make it too formal as it might end up being boring or robotic. Use a conversational tone whenever you think it’s appropriate, especially when you’re discussing the reasons why you are making your proposal in the first place.
Develop a good general proposal as well as an initial budget for your project. You may ask your entire budget from a company or an agency or you can ask several smaller amounts from different sources. When you opt to do the latter, you may have a lot more work to do as you’d be making different proposals with different budgets to cover all the parts of your project. Also, when you’re making different proposals, be very careful in sending them out. You don’t want to end up sending a proposal to a company which wasn’t intended for it. That would ensure that you won’t get the grant.
When organizing your proposal after you’ve come up with all the content, you would have to arrange the parts and elements into a specific format:
- The title page
- The abstract
- The introduction which would include the statement of needs, the purpose or objectives and the significance of your project
- The step by step plan of action
- The evaluation procedures and of course, the budget and the justification of the budget.
These helpful tips may prove to be very useful when you’re coming up with your proposal. Now let’s take a look at some steps in actually writing one.
How to Write a Grant Proposal
Now that you have a lot of useful information about grant proposal samples, we can discuss how to actually write one. Learning useful steps in creating a proposal would be very helpful, whether you are new at writing or you’ve already tried making proposals before. Either way, here are some steps to guide you:
Get started by thinking about the need or the purpose the grant you’d want to request would be intended to fulfill. Think about what your organization will contribute to the purpose and why your organization would be best to do so. It would be a good idea to set some brainstorming sessions so you are able to think about all the relevant questions which may come up too.
Come up with your summary statement. You can start by drafting a paragraph to describe your whole request. Doing this would allow you to have a clear picture of your whole project and all you’d have to do after that is fill in the details. This summary statement should include:
- who you are and what your organization is all about
- what your project is for and what you plan to do
- the amount of money or funding you are requesting for
Create an outline for your plan. Organize and explain each and every step so when you are making your proposal, you can use this as a reference.
Think about the possible benefactors or funders and try to assess whether they would be the type who would actually end up funding your project. Remember, even if companies, government agencies or even the rich and famous people have a lot of money, they might not be interested in your project so choose wisely.
Write the very first draft of your proposal. You may have to revise your content a few times before you actually finalize your document. Use your list of ideas and your outline for your reference when you’re coming up with the draft of your proposal.
Enumerate all the specific goals clearly. Your proposal should explain where all the money will be used and what all the money will be used for. The better you explain your goals, the bigger the chance would be that your proposal will be approved.
Once you are satisfied with your initial draft, polish your content and make sure that it is not only readable, but it is interesting. Try reading it out loud to see if the content is pleasant to hear and the flow is good.
You may have to rewrite a few of the statements or change some of the ideas before you are really happy with your proposal. Check if there are any key words and key phrases in the application and try to include them as much as possible. Go through your proposal and make sure the main thought and the objectives have not been changed because of all the revisions you’ve made.
Read the requirements in the application and make sure you have all of them. Also go through the rules and procedures of the grant process to be sure that you didn’t miss anything.
- Check how you are to submit your proposal. Some proposals may have to be sent via mail and some via email. Either way, you’d have to comply with the rules.
- Before sending your proposal, be sure to proofread again and again. Make sure there are no errors in spelling and grammar so your document will really appear official and well thought out.
- With the help of people outside of the organization, try doing a reality check. Discuss your proposal to people who don’t belong in your organization and challenge them to ask relevant questions about it. If they are unable to understand your proposal, the chances of it getting approved are very small.
- Establish the budget of your project. Do research and evaluate all the expenses you may have and the funds you’d need to complete the project. Don’t just estimate or come up with numbers as you would have to write a detailed account of what the money will be used for anyway. If the amount you’re asking for doesn’t seem very accurate (because you just did a rough estimate), the funders might not even consider approving your proposal.
- Create a summary of your budget. This is basically a document which would summarize all the expenses and sort them into categories such as salary for labor, purchased supplies or services, communications, equipment, printing and all other expenses which may come up in the course of your project.
- Come up with a justification for your budget. This would be a detailed numerical account which would explain how you had come up with the amounts you have placed in your summary.
- Check the list of requirements in the application and make sure all the required documents are attached to your proposal. Also make copies of everything you make so if needed, you will be able to produce more copies of the required documents.
- Make a cover letter which would contain the summary of your request, the whole purpose of the project you are planning to undertake and the amount of money you are asking for. It should also include a list of all the contents of your proposal for easier reference of the grantor.
- When everything is done, proofread your documents – again. It might even be helpful for you to ask other people to proofread your work as they might find mistakes which you have missed.
- After you’ve submitted your proposal, wait an appropriate amount of time before you start following up your application. Be patient and don’t keep calling the funders as it might put them off.
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