ABC’s of Grant Writing
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Determine a Need
- Funders want to give money that will fund solutions to problems.
- Realize that the bulk of the work in grant seeking is in planning — not in writing a proposal.
- In Real Estate the mantra is “location, location, location”. In grant seeking, it’s “guidelines, guidelines, guidelines”.
- The ability to follow directions is far more important than your ability to write well.
- The single most common reason proposals are rejected is because the funder’s guidelines have not been followed.
Send Applications to Many Funders
- Once the proposal and project idea has been perfected you may need to be willing to identify and send it out to as many potential funders as you can.
- If you really need to have two or three proposals funded, send out 10 proposals to help ensure that you’ll bring in the amount of money you need.
- Build relationships with the community, with the neighbors, with church members, and with local businesses. You never know who might own a company or have access to materials that can be donated.
- If you aren’t immediately successful in getting grant funds, know that this is normal.
- The key is to create a quality proposal having followed the guidelines, identify as many funding sources as possible with similar interests, and continue sending out proposals until you are successful.
Build a Volunteer Base
- Projects need a lot of helping hands. Many volunteers are needed to make your project a success.
Be a Team Player
- One of the most successful approaches you can have is planning and writing as part of a team. The advantages are that all the key players are on board and have “bought into”; the effort to seek funds and you will have everyone in place that you need in order to answer questions like, What is the problem we’re trying to address? Who will provide information needed in different parts of the proposal (e.g. budget, tree bids, irrigation bids, project coordinator, etc.)? Who will review the draft versions of the proposal?