How to Write a Grant – With Examples
A grant is a gift of cash provided by an organization (grantor) to an individual or other organization (grantee) for a specific purpose. Grants can be awarded based on local or national competition; some are offered on both regional and national levels.
Grants are usually awarded based on a review process, which means that they are an award made, at least in part, due to the judgment or discretion of one or more individuals. In almost all cases, those who apply for grants must convince the giver/reader that they deserve it.
There are several common types of grants, including:
This type of grant is awarded for studying, designing, and discovering new information about an issue.
It is awarded to acquire equipment, supplies, or services necessary for the beneficiary’s activity.
It is awarded to subsidize education costs for an individual, group, or class. This includes the following:
1). Stipend, which covers educational costs.
- Travel grant, which covers transportation and related expenses, such as accommodations and meals.
2). Tuition scholarship, which offers financial assistance to students who want to pursue higher studies.
Student assistance grant
Student assistance grant is awarded for supporting students seeking funding during their educational period; this type of award is often given based on needs assessment results.
It is awarded for training purposes, meaning that it might include the cost of tuition, books, and materials.
Technical assistance grant.
A technical assistance grant is awarded to obtain support, which includes technical knowledge or skills needed to perform a specific activity.
Emergency aid grant.
This type of award is given in response to an unforeseen situation that requires immediate attention. It might cover the costs of medical treatment, funeral arrangements, and other similar expenses.
Steps in Writing a Successful Grant
Step 1: Figure out the potential grantors
The first step when you want to write a grant is, of course, to figure out who your target funder is. Start by turning to our list of funding opportunities. Browse through the listings and note which ones catch your attention. Don’t be afraid to contact organizations that don’t currently offer grants you’re interested in to ask if they’d be willing to consider it.
Step 2: Read the funding opportunity thoroughly
It may sound obvious, but it’s surprising how many people end up writing a grant application for an organization that doesn’t actually offer what they think they do. Note that not all listed grants are offered at the time, either. To be sure you’re applying to an active grant opportunity, go ahead and contact the funding organization to ask.
Step 3: Make a list of potential funders
Now that you’ve determined which organizations offer grants you might want to apply for, it’s time to make a list of all the potential funders in your chosen field. Keep in mind that many organizations offer grants under different names, so you may need to do some digging to find all of them.
Step 4: Get your timing right
Once you’ve identified the funding opportunities you’re interested in, it’s time to look into deadlines (check out the potential guarantor’s websites for information on deadlines). Some deadlines are months in the future, while others are just a few days away. It’s important to know which is which when you’re writing a grant application so you can make sure your application gets submitted on time.
Step 5: Craft your funding proposal with clarity
When it comes to writing grants, most organizations are looking for clarity and detail. If you don’t include enough information, they may not understand what you’re proposing. On the other hand, you might lose their interest if you give them more information than they need or want. Check out our section on writing an application for assistance with this step.
Step 6: Submit your grant application
Once you’ve written your grant application, it’s time to send it in. While most organizations will give you clear instructions on where and how to apply, you may also want to try contacting them ahead of time.
Step 7: Respond promptly
When an organization contacts you about your grant application, you’ll need to respond promptly and courteously. This step is particularly important if your grant was unsuccessful. Responding quickly shows the organization that you respect their decision, even if it’s not what you wanted to hear.
Step 8: Evaluate what went wrong
If your grant application is turned down, you should take the time to ask why. Most likely, it was not because your application lacked merit, but for some other reason that you can consider next time around.
Step 9: Follow up on your application
No matter how well you follow all these steps when writing a grant application, the final decision is up to the organization offering the grant. If your application is successful, you should receive a contract detailing what to expect and how much funding you will receive. It’s important to read any contract thoroughly before signing it!
Step 10: Don’t give up
The last step when writing a successful grant proposal? Don’t give up if your application isn’t successful. Keep searching for grants, and apply again next time around. With the proper preparation and approach, you can hone your writing skills to make an even stronger proposal the second (or third, or fourth…) time around.
How to Structure a Grant Proposal
When writing a grant proposal, remember that the format is very different from a standard essay or research paper. You may have to follow a specific template provided by the funding organization.
While some organizations allow you to submit an incomplete application and finish it later, others require that you submit a finished piece. Ensure you know the organization’s requirements beforehand, so you don’t lose valuable time or get penalized for missing a step in their process.
Title page of a grant proposal
A grant proposal is not often marked by a title page simply because the organization that will receive the proposal wants to see how much funding you are seeking before they ask for this information. However, most organizations think it is important to have a title page when writing a grant proposal. A good way of writing effective grant proposals is starting with an attention-grabbing title.
An abstract page of a grant proposal
An abstract page provides a summary of your proposal as a whole. It should help the reader understand what you will propose and why, as well as how much funding you are requesting from the organization. Titles and abstract pages are important to writing a successful grant proposal because they whetted the reader’s appetite for more information.
The basic structure of a grant
The following is a basic structure for how to write a grant proposal. It may include specific sections, so check with the funding organization before using this template to ensure you are meeting their requirements.
Introduction – Tell your reader what you are applying for and your background relevant to the project
Why it’s important – Describe why this project is necessary for clear, straightforward terms. You can also give a brief history of the project and its progress to date.
What you plan to do – Outline your project in detail, including how it will be carried out. Be as specific as possible and try to include timelines and benchmarks for success. Also, make sure you explain why this approach is best and how it will benefit those involved.
Evaluation – Discuss how you will measure success and what kind of benchmarks you have set. If there are any challenges to the project, this is where you might want to address them.
Where your grant money will go – Outline how much money you need and the specific materials or services that amount will be used for.
Conclusion – Summarize your project and how it will benefit the organization you are applying to. Also, thank them for their time and consideration, and include your contact information so they can reach you if needed.
Example of a grant proposal
Introduction – Southeastern Education Foundation
This letter is to inform you of my intent to apply for a grant in the amount of $90,000 to fund my project, “The Southeastern Education Foundation.”
Why it’s important – Southeastern Education Foundation
Currently, many students in the state of Arkansas are performing below their grade level. These trends will only continue or worsen if not addressed, leaving our future workforce at a disadvantage. This grant would allow me to begin implementing plans that address this issue by surveying student performance and encouraging Southeastern University to expand its developmental studies program.
What you plan to do – Southeastern Education Foundation
This project will begin with a survey of currently enrolled students in Arkansas public schools. Once the results are analyzed, I will present them to school administrators and teach them how to improve student learning. I will also create an outreach program that encourages students to enroll in developmental studies courses.
Evaluation – Southeastern Education Foundation
This project will be evaluated by creating benchmarks for success and tracking them over time. The metrics of this assessment include the number of teachers trained, number of students enrolled, average scores on ACT prep tests, and the total number of students who pass at least one developmental studies course.
Where your grant money will go – Southeastern Education Foundation
Your generous donation of $90,000 will allow me to purchase the necessary supplies and materials (iPads, curriculum) for training sessions with teachers and design an outreach program that teaches students in under-performing districts in the state. This will ensure that they take college preparatory courses and achieve the critical benchmarks needed to qualify for Southeastern University’s program.
Conclusion – Southeastern Education Foundation
By providing teachers with the necessary training and outreach tools, these students will be better prepared for higher education and enter the workforce ready to succeed. I thank you in advance for taking the time to consider this grant and look forward to your response.
General Tips for Writing a Grant Proposal
One of the main keys to writing a successful grant proposal is to adhere to the funding agency’s guidelines and requirements. However, there are five basic components that most effective grant proposals have in common: an introduction, project description, evaluation plan, budget section, and appendices.
A few other tips for writing successful grant proposals include:
- Start early. This is especially important if you’re using a professional grant writer. Since they will be doing most of the research and writing, you want to give yourself plenty of time to proofread and edit their work so that it’s in top form when you submit it.
- Proofread your proposal before sending it in. This may seem like common sense, but some people get so excited once they finish the proposal that they forget this crucial last step.
- If you can, give examples or anecdotes to support your experience and qualifications for writing your grant proposal.
- Decide what kind of grant to write. Many kinds of grants are available, including ones for individual researchers, non-profit organizations, and government agencies. Look around online for ones that you might be interested in applying for.
- Write a good abstract. The first thing that your reader will see is abstract, so you want to make sure it’s interesting enough for them to keep reading.
- Create a timeline and budget. Most grant applications require this section because it shows how much money and time you need to complete your project.
- Create a strong introduction that will grab the reader’s attention.
- Describe your project clearly, but succinctly. Be sure to follow the guidelines of the specific grant you are applying for when describing your project because some may want it in less detail than others.
- Offer details about what you plan on doing with the money. This should include your goals and how you plan to reach them. Again, stick to the guidelines of your specific grant when including this information.
- Thank everyone who was involved in your grant application. This shows professionalism and courtesy and allows you to recognize those who helped you before others can.
Mistakes to Avoid While Writing a Grant Proposal
To err is human. It is not surprising that grant writing mistakes are so common. After all, submitting a grant proposal demands time and effort from the writer. This explains why many grant writers struggle to submit their proposals well before the deadline.
Some of the most common mistakes to check out include:
- Letter or number formats are confusing or incorrect.
- Typos, grammatical errors, and misspellings.
- Incorrect formatting for tables, charts, graphs, etc.
- Submitting a revision as a new application rather than as an attachment.
- Failure to follow specific guidelines or requirements from the grant funding agency that you are applying for your grant through.
- Not conducting thorough research on the organization to which you are applying.
- Failure to create a timeline and budget for your project.
- Not proofreading before submitting your proposal.
There are many ways to write grant proposals, but the five basic components that most proposals have in common include an introduction, project description, evaluation plan, budget section, and appendices. To avoid mistakes when you write grant proposals, make sure you proofread your proposal before sending it in.
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