How to Write a Grant Proposal?
What is a Grant Proposal?
A grant proposal is a proposal designed to inform a funding source about activities within an organization and seek grants or funding to initiate new projects or sustain old projects and activities within the organization. A grant is meant to sustain a nonprofit, social, educational, scientific or technical organization. Grants are usually not provided to for-profit businesses, unless there is a social or environmental cause involved. Some businesses do have socially responsible nonprofit projects and may seek or receive grants, and thus require Grant proposals. Grant proposals seeking funding are usually written by individuals who may require funding for their educational, scientific or social projects, or by nonprofit organizations that depend on grants for their health related, or social, scientific or educational programs and services. Grants are usually large sums of money given to promote specific causes and may range from a few hundred to millions of dollars. Grant making organizations primarily have philanthropic purposes although some grants are meant to further scientific research, social objectives, environmental causes or may be given to promote educational programs or artistic goals. Grants are given to inventors, scientists, artists, writers, students, social organizations, social workers, researchers, environmentalists and activists.
What is the purpose of a Grant Proposal?
The primary purpose of a grant proposal (compare it to a Research Proposal) is to seek funding from relevant funding sources. Organizations write and send grant proposals to funding bodies to seek funding for their projects and to inform funding sources about their programs, projects and activities. Grant proposals help organizations to seek and get grants or funding to finance their programs. Unlike a business plan that is based on a for-profit model and provides information on how the funding can be returned to the funding source, a grant does not necessarily require the money to be returned to the funding source. However, a grant proposal does have to provide details on how the money will be utilized, just like a business plan. A grant proposal thus requires a detailed budget and detailed plan on organizational programs and activities. A grant proposal must identify a social, environmental or educational problem, offer a solution, identify the stakeholders and propose the programs, projects or approaches to tackle or address educational, social, environmental or scientific problems. Grants are usually offered to organizations according to the information they provide on the grant proposals and grant making bodies determine the suitability or eligibility of organizations on the basis of the grant proposal. A grant proposal must clearly state the vision and mission of the organization seeking the grant, state its purpose or aim, what it seeks to achieve and how its programs or projects can justify its need for funding.
How to write a Grant Proposal?
- The first step towards a successful grant application is to create a proposal that will suit the needs of the funding source. It is necessary to read the grant application first, understand what the grantor expects and then begin the process of writing a grant proposal.
- Create an outline or the primary points that you will add to the grant proposal. The outline must have all the essential elements of a grant, including the details of the project for which you seek a grant.
- Write the first full draft of a grant proposal after reviewing application requirements and your goals and expectations.
- Focus on the introduction and convince the grant making organization why your proposed projects will make a positive impact to the community. The introduction must especially state clearly why or how your project will make a positive contribution to society.
- State the problem that your project aims to tackle. Why is a solution to this social, environmental or clinical problem necessary? How will your project or experimentation tackle this problem and how will you help the community or solve the identified problem if you acquire the grant?
- Propose a solution or solutions to the problems identified. Is this a healthcare problem, a medical problem, a social problem, an environmental problem or an educational problem? Along with a clear statement on the problem, your grant proposal must have a clear solution to the problem and the proposal must state how you intend to solve the problem identified.
- Design the program or project that is aimed to solve a problem and highlight the issues that the program will tackle and the solutions that it can create for identified problems. Clearly delineate these projects and programs for which you seek the grant.
- Include a schedule and a budget. Add a detailed timetable for your proposed project. When will it begin, what are the main activities of the first, second or later phases. When do you intend to begin this project and how will the grant-making schedule match or align to your proposed project schedule? Also, clearly state the budget and show all detailed calculations on the expenses, cash flow, other sources of funding, possible income, if any. Since this is a grant proposal, you do not have to show profitability but must show income and expenditures, balance sheet, cash flow, funding and other details to sustain the interest of the grant making organization. Using a real budget rather than an approximate one is more authentic and credible. If you already have the accounts for your organization, this should be easy, otherwise provide a realistic estimate.
- A detailed and visually appealing budget summary with graphs, bar diagrams, charts will help analyze the expected expenses including services, travel, equipment, salaries, implementation costs, capital and other expenses. The applicant must explain why or how he or she is a stakeholder in the project and how the grant will be utilized.
- Add all other relevant documents including brochure or information about the organization, tax exemption documents if any, and double check, edit and proofread for errors. Submit the application and keep the grantor informed of any changes to your project or organization.
What are the different types of Grant Proposals?
Grant proposals must differ according to the type of grant sought. Grants can be block grants and block grants provide funding for a wide range of projects. Block grants provide money to organizations without specifying purpose and with no preconditions on how the money has to be used. Nonprofit organizations sometimes seek block grants to fund a range of different projects and draw up a general grant proposal to seek money for a wide range of related projects, either from a single grantor or from many funding agencies.
Grant proposals are also written for categorical grants and these grants are only given for specific projects, require project details and have limited scope or applicability. These grants can only be used for specified projects and grant proposals have to be focused, with relevant details on the project or program for which the grant is applied.
A grant proposal, like a CV or resume, must make an impact on the grantor or funding agency and your grant proposal must stand out to ensure that the grant application is successful. Always review the requirements of the grant application carefully to determine whether the grantor or funding organization is suited to your project needs. Go through the portfolio of the funding organization. Is this organization right or a good match for the program or project you need funding on? Has the funding organization funded similar projects in the past? What are its interests, vision or mission? Do these align with your goals, mission, vision and objectives? After considering every detail, write an effective grant proposal that will not just highlight a problem but also provide a solution and convince the grantor that your project or program is the right solution to the identified problem. Make a strong case and try to make your grant proposal stand out among other proposals. In most cases you may have to compete with other grant proposals to secure a specific grant, so put in your best efforts and ability, specify all details of your project and funding requirements and edit or proofread thoroughly. Good luck with your grant proposal and remember to check out GraduateWriter.com to find out how they can help you to acquire the grant that will change your life.