Whether you are looking for money from governments, private foundations or corporations, there are some basic ideas that can help make your grant proposals successful:
Learn as much as you can about the funder you are applying to. Check out the funder's website, twitter feed, or other social media. Stay current. Find out what they are about. Not all funding organizations are the same, and you need to tailor your writing to suit their expectations.
Always review and follow the specific guidelines and procedures for the application. Ensure that your information is correct and clear. Guidelines and procedures are intended to make life easier for the funder. The funder may be reviewing thousands of inquiries and proposals.
Make sure you fit the funder's interests. Has the foundation donated to a group like yours before? It just might fund yours too!
Play by the rules. Submit applications on time and within the guidelines. This shows the funder that you are serious about your application. And make sure your budget works!
Ask for help. If you are unsure what the funder is looking for in an application, inquire through a simple phone call or email. Or, ask for assistance from another community member or the County office.
Indicate the role your group plays in the community. Paint a picture of your group for the funder; boast about your successes. Who benefits from your group or who would suffer a loss if your project was not successful?
Make the most of your partnerships. Funders like to see partnerships, so highlight joint-use agreements, donations and other funding you are applying for in relation to your project. Most funders don't want to be the only one involved.
Show sustainability. Some projects are not intended to be long-lasting. For example, a one time event. Yet even an event can have lasting impact on those involved and on the wider community. Show your funder how your project is sustainable, attainable and impactful.
Be creative. Budgeting sometimes takes thinking outside-the-box. Maybe you can't find funding for operating costs, but you might find dollars for a project that includes some operating costs. Or, maybe you can find a grant for something else in your budget so that you can free up the operating dollars you need. Funders will appreciate your organization's will to survive and strive.
Stay positive. You are not alone. Many people struggle with grant budgets and applications. Why re-invent the wheel? Find a few other successful projects like yours and ask how they did it.
Keep it simple.
Always thank your funders.