Document your case. Show the grant reviewer that your organization does good work and that your project is worthy of funding by providing solid evidence. Put statistics, statements from clients, and other evidence in the body of the proposal, not in an appendix. Provide hard facts that support your need, are clear, and have real impact. Exclude weak statistics. Ensure your data/statistics are understandable. It is not enough to say you have a good program – you must prove it. Steer away from acronyms and jargon. Never assume the funder has knowledge of your program or your agency – a good application will provide sufficient background information. Your grant proposal should include a solid internal evaluation component – show the reviewer how you will ensure the program meets/exceeds the proposed performance measures. Unless specific guidelines say not to, include a formal letter of introduction on the agency letterhead.
Follow the funders' guidelines. Stick to all of the instructions given to you by the funder. If they give you a format - follow it. Address all of the funders’ questions.
Review your proposal. Check spelling and grammar – do not rely on your word processor’s spell check and grammar check. Have at least 2 individuals who are unfamiliar with your program read your proposal. This will ensure that you have explained your project clearly and concisely.
Budget. Do not neglect the budget section - explain all of your numbers. There should be no surprises for the grant reviewer when they reach the budget section. Make sure the funder allows the costs that you have included and that the amounts are reasonable. Ensure all math is correct.
Letters of support. Limit the number of letters of support to 5. These letters may be from other formidable organizations that will testify to your qualifications and contributions to the community good. Make sure they are strong and help your case. These may include testimonial letters written by clients. Letters should be recent, no older than 6 months. Steer away from having all letters of support use the same language.
Letters of partnership / collaboration. These are different than the letters of support. These letters are from agencies who have a vested financial interest in the project. Ensure that partnerships are clearly and thoroughly documented. Also called letters of commitment, these letters should specifically spell each partners’ role in the project.
Follow-up with the funder. Call the funder with any questions before you submit your proposal. If your proposal is not funded, contact the funder to get feedback. Information about what you need to improve upon will help increase the quality of your proposals.
Congratulations, you were funded! Once you have received notice that you have been funded your first step is to thank the grantor – both publicly and privately. Write them a letter on your formal letterhead thanking them. Check with them to ensure it is appropriate to send out public notices of the grant award. Once you have their approval – post notices on your website and send out a press release. Once the program is in operation, invite the grantor for a site visit. Send the grantor regular reports along with pictures – this information should also appear on your website. Don’t forget to include their name on any materials generated with the grant funds.