Writing a Grant Proposal - Part I of III

After having figured out whom it is that you will be asking for money, you must still perform research.  This time you will be gathering information about three areas: the concept, the program, and the expenses for your idea. By gathering this information, two things are accomplished.  Writing the proposal becomes easier as you have all the necessary documentation at your disposal, and you will have to involve others, such as staff, board, and volunteers, by asking for their help in gathering this information.  By involving others, you help key people in your agency see the value of your project andgarner their support.

The first area of the three, again, is the concept.  The concept of your project must fall in line with the ideas and philosophy of your agency.  By having well-articulated concepts, funders will know that your project reinforces the overall direction of your organization.  Collect background information on your agency and the need or problem your program addresses so that you can make a compelling argument when writing the proposal.

While gathering information for the second aspect, the program, many aspects of your project will be addressed, such as:

  • What the program is and how it will be conducted
  • The timetable
  • The anticipated outcomes and how the results will be evaluated
  • Staffing and/or volunteer needs

The third component is your expenses.  You will not be able to pinpoint all of the expenses that you will incur until the program details and timetable have been worked out.  So in the beginning, develop a broad outline of the budget so you can determine whether the proposed outcomes are in proportion to the costs.  If it looks as though the two are out of proportion, scaling back and adjusting the program may be necessary.

Once you have all of this information at your disposal, you can then start piecing your proposal together.  The information that follows is a guideline.  Individual funders may have particular formats that they want followed.


Organizational Information

Briefly let the funder know the history of your agency, its mission, the composition of the board, and their involvement in the agency.  Describe the people who work for the agency and their level of expertise.  Describe the audience you serve and why they rely on your agency. Include actual statistics about the people that you serve through your agency.  Tie all of this together by explaining your agency's expertise, especially as it relates to your proposal.

The Project/Program Summary

Tell the funder how much money you are requesting and briefly for what you will use their funds.  Be specific so funder understands exactly how their funding will be used.  If your request is for a specific program among several programs within your organization, specify the name of the program and a brief, one sentence description.

Recent grants received by our clients include:

$35,000 for an agency providing disabled adults with vocational training and life skills - for general operating expenses

$20,000 for an organization providing wishes for children terminally ill with cancer - for 10 wishes

$15,000 for an agency providing services for abused and neglected children - for clothing and hygiene products for children who have just been removed from their homes by Child Protective Services

$10,000 for an organization providing services for teen mothers - for their GED Tutoring program

The topic of our next blog on Tuesday, September 6th, will be “Writing a Grant Proposal - Part II of III.”

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Murray Covens, Principal


North Texas Nonprofit Resources