General Tips About Grant Writing

1.    If a funder does not have a website and you cannot find guidelines information on a funder database, ask them for guidelines before sending a proposal. 2.    Review funder’s guidelines for fields of interest, funding restrictions (such as limitations on requests for general operating or capital expenses), geographic restrictions, and deadlines.

3.    Do not send the same grant request with the same attachments to every funder, called a “shotgun” approach, and do not ask for the same dollar amount from every funder.  If a funder publishes guidelines and it is obvious that you have not reviewed their guidelines, or if your request is for much more than the funder’s usual grant amount, the funder will likely throw away your request without considering it.

4.    Assume that any information or attachment a funder requires is important to them.

5.    Focus on local or regional funders when looking for funding sources, particularly for operating or program costs.  National funders are more likely to fund national programs.

6.    If the funder is local, ask your board and staff if they know someone on the board or staff of the funder.

7.    Work with your organization’s staff to assure that the information in your proposal is up to date and relevant.  Try to obtain anecdotes and client testimonials that you might not otherwise have.

8.    Do not wait until the last minute to prepare your proposals.  Most deadlines mean the date the proposal is received by the funder, not postmarked.  Many funders have guidelines that prohibit using express mail or hand-delivery.  Also, some funders give less consideration to proposals received at the last minute.

9.    Do not fax or email your proposal unless specifically allowed by the funder.

10.  Many funders specify in their guidelines what attachments to send.  Do not send more than they request.  Always attach an IRS 501(c)(3) letter, and attach only that letter if the funder does not specify required attachments.  Do not send a bunch of "fluff" attachments, such as articles from periodicals, testimonials, and references, unless requested by the funder.

11.  Some funders are very picky.  They have their reasons, based on many years of experience.  If they specify page length, font size, number of copies, etc., follow the requirements.

Recent grants received by our clients include:

$10,000 for an agency that provides assistance to sick children - for general operating expenses

$10,000 for an agency that provides an array of services to low-income persons - for their community health program

$10,000 for a mental health advocacy organization – for general operating expenses

The topic of our next blog on Tuesday, July 26th, will be “An Introduction to Grant Writing.”

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Murray Covens, Principal

North Texas Nonprofit Resources