Writing a grant letter can be nerve-wracking.
It’s stressful knowing that the right financial backer can make or break your project.
Ensure your grant letter stands out from the pack by perfecting these essential elements:
1. The Executive Summary
You only get one first impression, so make it a strong one.
Your executive summary is the first thing a grant-giving organization will see and, in some cases, the last. Foundations receive many proposals every year, sometimes too many to fully read through.
That’s why it’s crucial to grab the reader’s attention quickly.
Concisely summarize who you are, what your project is, what problems your project is meant to solve, and what you will need to make your project a reality.
Focus on these main points for now.
The finer details can be expanded upon later.
2. The Need Assessment
The most pressing question to answer is “Why?”
Why does this project matter? What need is it addressing?
And why are you uniquely qualified to address that need?
For extra impact, make it a point to research the giving foundation’s own history and goals ahead of time, then frame your project within a similar context.
If you’re sending out multiple grant proposals, tailor each one to the organization it’s going to.
Just make sure to keep track of your various applications, and don’t get them mixed up.
For that, a grants management information system can be a godsend.
3. The Project Overview
Now is the time to outline the finer details alluded to in your executive summary.
As completely as possible, describe your project, its methodology, timeline, expected outcomes, how you will evaluate its success, and how the project will continue after the grant ends.
Be specific and don’t gloss over anything.
The more meticulously planned and rigorously honed you can show your project to be, the more confidence you will be able to build in potential backers.
4. Budgetary Considerations
Now that you’ve made the case for why your project is important and explained your plan to achieve its goals, the final step is to clarify exactly what resources you require.
Again, be as complete and specific as you can. Itemize the costs for project personnel, office and lab space, equipment and supplies, utility bills, and other related expenses, such as travel and lodging.
Explain how you arrived at your estimates and give justifications for your expenses.
Put yourself in the shoes of the funding organization and think about what you would like to know if you were the one writing the checks.
Different giving foundations have different requirements for grant proposals.
Make sure to read the requested criteria carefully so you don’t forget anything.
Most commonly, you will be expected to provide bios and/or résumés for project personnel, letters of support from partnered individuals and organizations, up-to-date tax information, and proof of your group’s IRS-designated 501(c)3 status.