Components of a Grant Proposal

1.  Decide on which of the two types of applications is most appropriate for each funder: a.  Letter format – use if there are no published guidelines from the funder, and generally make it no more than three pages

b.  Proposal format, including a cover letter and proposal – use if there are guidelines from the funder

Some funders require applications to be submitted online through their website, and in this case a letter is not needed.

2.  With either application format, begin the letter with a one- or two-sentence description of your organization.  Then state the amount and purpose of your request. Include contact information for the person signing the letter.

3.  To determine the appropriate “ask” (the amount to request from the funder), review their funding history.  Funding history is available on the funder’s annual Form 990, which can be located through the funder’s data base listing, on, or sometimes on the funder’s website if they have one.

4.  If there are no guidelines from the funder, include a brief introduction of your agency, including mission statement; proposal summary, including the amount and purpose of your request; statement of need; objectives and methods; population served; method of evaluation; collaborative partners; and a brief history of your organization, including your mission statement and key accomplishments.  Do not include information about your budget, key personnel, or other funding sources unless specifically required by the funder.

5.  For a proposal format, include the following sections, with section titles after the cover letter:

a.  Cover letter – one page maximum

b.  Agency history and description – brief history, general description, mission statement, and accomplishments of your organization

c.  Problem statement/needs assessment – explain the problem your organization is trying to address, and use statistics with sources

d.  Proposal summary – explain how much you are requesting and what for

e.  Proposal objectives and methods – explain what you want to accomplish and how you will accomplish it

f.  Population served – gender, ethnicity, age, socio-economic status, geographic area, etc.

g.  Evaluation of results – explain how you will measure the success of your proposal

h.  Collaborative partners – other organizations with which your work to accomplish your mission

i.  Additional information to include only if specifically required by the funder:

Budget – total and/or program budgets, including revenues

Key personnel – brief biographical descriptions

Other funding sources – names and amounts of funding sources

6.  Common attachments to be sent (only if specifically required) are:

a.  Funder application – might be available online, or you might to write and request it

b.  Total organization budget – include revenues and expenses

c.  Budget for the requested program – include revenues and expenses for the program

d.  Audit

e.  Form 990 – the complete report, including Schedule A and attachments

f.  Internal financial statements as of a recent month-end – income statement and balance sheet

g.  Board listing – include professional affiliations (job title and employer)

h.  Annual report, brochure, and/or newspaper or magazine clippings

i.  No funder ever wants a DVD about your organization

Recent grants received by our clients include:

$15,000 for an organization providing services for ex-offenders - for general operating expenses

$15,000 for an agency providing services for teen mothers - for general operating expenses

$15,000 for an organization providing therapeutic learning experiences for physically disabled people of all ages - for general operating expenses

$10,000 for an organization providing an array of services for low-income people - for their afterschool program and summer food pantry for children

$10,000 for an agency providing services for women who have left the sex industry - for general operating expenses

$10,000 for an organization providing legal services for terminally ill people and people with HIV/AIDS - for general operating expenses

The topic of our next blog on Tuesday, August 23rd, will be “Writing a Grant Proposal - Part I.”

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Murray Covens, Principal

North Texas Nonprofit Resources