As we discussed in a recent post, before applying for a grant, you need to apply to apply for a grant.
But then. Then! After you’ve written the Letter of Intent and received an invitation and RFP to apply, it’s time to actually write the grant.
Surprisingly, the grant writing at this stage is easier and more straightforward (though because it’s longer and more detailed it’s also more work): Not only have you received instructions in the form of the RFP, but you’ve already written your template in the form of the LOI.
In some ways, the grant proposal is the LOI, but more. Whereas the LOI is about 2 pages, the grant proposal is more like 8 to 12 pages. Whereas the LOI provides a snapshot of your organization and its program objectives, the proposal spells out in more (and repetitive) detail your organization’s background, needs, program model, goals and objectives, methods, evaluation and tracking, timeline and work to date, and organizational information.
To write the right proposal:
Proposals can be onerous and overwhelming. Many organizations want to break the project down, assigning various elements to various staff members. Resist this urge! Instead, assign the proposal to your organization’s strongest writer (who, ideally, practices extreme attention to detail), and provide that writer with vigorous support.
And if this is your organization's first effort, consider spending the money on training your writer in grant writing or on hiring a grant writer. The outlay might hurt your organization’s wallet in the short-term, but the final proposal will pay long-term dividends (even if it doesn't win the grant) because it will be the basis for future—winning!—proposals.
English PhD, former arts administrator, obsessive cook, native East Coaster, and mom to two rabblerousers.
English PhD, former high school teacher, obsessive organizer, native Midwesterner, and mom to three troublemakers.