Best Practices for Successful Grant Writing

  • Write clearly, correctly, and succinctly.
     
  • Tell your story in a compelling way and use a thesaurus for better adjectives.
     
  • Remember the 12-12-12 Scenario:
    • The reviewer might look at your proposal at 12 midnight.
    • She might have already had a 12-hour day.
    • Your proposal might be the 12th application of the day.
       
  • Don’t make the reviewer work too hard to get to the proposal.
    • Keep sentences short. Keep the average sentence at 17 words.
    • Choose simpler words.
    • Break up text
    • Use shorter paragraphs.
    • Use headings.
    • Use lists.
    • Avoid repetitive descriptions and overly long sentences.
    • Write to express not to impress.
       
  • Identify the need for the project. Be very direct and use supporting data.
     
  • Clearly explain how the project will meet the need.
     
  • Identify specific, measurable goals for the project.
     
  • Discuss the IMPACT the project will have on the community.
     
  • Ask someone who knows little about your organization to read and critique your proposal.
     
  • Complete the proposal early. Set it aside for a few days; then read it again before the submission deadline.
     
  • Submit only what is required. Save the organization’s brochures, photos, etc. for the site visit.
     
  • Ensure that the project budget is reasonable. Triple check figures.
     
  • Ensure the proposal does not have a narrative mismatch:
    • Narrative mentions item not mentioned in the budget.
    • Budget mentions item not mentioned in the narrative.
       
  • Ensure the proposal does not have over or under budgeting:
    • Budgets that appear too high or low for project will seem questionable.
       
  • Ensure that in-kind resources are not under-valued:
    • Value all resources important to the project.
    • Value contributed volunteer time (at fair-market rate for each position necessary for your project).