Appearance matters. Take care in deciding how it will look, and how it will be delivered to the funder. Some funders have special procedures for printing, wrapping, or mailing. Be sure to follow them. Make as many copies as requested, plus several extras for your own reference. Inspect each one for uniformity and make everything
As a final step, ask someone outside your organization to “score” the proposal for you, just as the funder might. If they find any weaknesses, don’t despair. This is the time to get things right! Just make the corrections now, and get a good night’s sleep.
We’ve talked about the need for ‘fresh eyes’ on your proposal. Should you use an outside editor? If the program is important to your group and it’s a large, multi-year grant, you may want to do that. The last 5% of what you do is the first 95% that funders see. Spell-check is not enough.
Always build in time for good editing. Proposals are often written by different people and they read like it! Avoid that ‘patchwork’ feel by having one person edit the entire document. Passion and good intentions – and even great organizations – don’t make up for a badly written proposal. A good editor scrutinizes prose, page
It’s common: working on a proposal shed’s new light on a group and its operations. This can be a good thing. It can also be tricky. For example, what if you’ve previously submitted a Letter of Intent (LOI) to a funder but haven’t yet finished the actual proposal and now that you have, it’s clear
These are supplementary material at the end of the proposal that explains, supports, enlarges upon, and illustrates the narrative. Include charts, tables, photographs, research documents, studies, media coverage, evidence of collaborative efforts, testimonials, awards, and letters of support. How? Collect these as you prepare the proposal narrative. Ask your team; they can help
Every project needs a plan for sustained financial support from elsewhere. Having one gives a program professionalism and credibility. In the plan, include realistic plans to run the program when grant funding ends. If the funding covers construction, discuss maintenance and the availability of future grant funds and other resources for services you’ll deliver. If
Caution #1: Never expect that a grant funder will supply all the funds you need for a project. Apply accordingly. Funders usually specify what percent of the project’s cost must come from matching funds. If there are multiple funders, use separate columns to show the amount each is underwriting. Private foundations prefer a designated cash
Board members and others from the community often provide services. In some cases, that involves their participation as a board or committee member. In other cases, they are experts and can provide training, fund-raising, networking or other essential services. I’ve rarely seen these efforts captured by organizations or included within grantseeking or fundraising efforts. In
The project budget is full detail of the project’s costs and what the grant request will cover. It must be consistent with the overall proposal narrative and appropriate for the program’s objectives and methods. Include salaries, equipment, and supplies, but there are other non-obvious expenses as well. This would include the cost of leases, evaluations,