Basic Grant Writing Tips

The last North Augusta Service Network I attended was for grant writing with Faith Edmondson from Gateway Grant Services as the guest speaker.  I hope this information helps in your grant writing endeavors. I know I will be filing it away for future use when I am ready to start writing grants. I particularly like the free beginning consultation idea to make sure my business is ready to start writing grants.  Grant writing is so incredibly time consuming and none of us really have the time to waste spinning our wheels!

Here are the grant writing tips she gave us, some paraphrased and some verbatim. If I have misrepresented her or her company in any way, I apologize, as that is not my intention. Please let me know if anything I have recorded is not correct.

1. Know your Audience.  Federal grants are given on a point system. Know the point system. Make sure you’re using the key points and words the about which the grantors have asked. Do the homework about the entity and find out who is on the board of directors. If it is a group of older ladies, you may want to use the warm and fuzzy approach, if it’s bankers, hard numbers and financials may be more important. If you’re not sure, do both. Appeal to your audience.

2. Know the grant application and ALWAYS follow the rules.

3. Create Soft Deadlines at least 1 month in advance so that you are not rushing around trying to get everything submitted at the last minute.

4. Stay away from acronyms. If you must use acronyms, describe them precisely the first time you use the acronym, but really try to stay away from them.

5. Make sure your budget is aligned with what your project is about.

6. Match wording in the budget with the project. Does the budget align and fit with the grant and your project. Have someone who doesn’t know about your project/budget read over it to make sure the budget makes sense to others.

7. Make sure you can show IMPACT vs. output. Output is the numbers, but impact shows how the community can benefit from your project. If you have done this project before, show how it affected the recipients of the benefits. If you have not done this kind of project before, you can cite outside research or proxy studies on how you expect the project to make an impact. Be prepared to track impact as well as outcomes and measures. How will you accomplish this?

8. As you look at grants, make sure you can follow through with the requirements when you receive the grant.

9. Remember local donors are needed. Grantors want to see where other monies are coming from for the project. Create a pie chart, and make sure the chart is balanced.  You want about a 1/3 of the monies coming from these 3 categories: Funds from the program (fundraising, general revenue), general donors, and grant funding.

General grant preparation:

Make sure your program development is written down. You may be able to explain it perfectly, but it needs to be in writing too.

Have a strategic business plan – more grantors are asking for this information.

Have collaborative partners – especially if you are applying for reimbursable grants.

Make sure you have writers and editors – work with a team.

Have a grant writing calendar to keep track of hard and soft deadlines as well as everything you need to track for the grants.

I found this information helpful, and Faith was very friendly and answered everyone’s questions. They do offer a free consultation as well as services at your level of need wherever you are in the process, or you can hire them to write and monitor your grants for you.

Thank you to Faith Edmondson and Gateway Grant Writing Services for sharing this information and serving our community at large.

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