Grant writing is one of the more frustrating aspects of the funding seeking process. You can pour all of your time and energy into a proposal only to see it rejected with seemingly little thought. While there is no surefire way to ensure your proposal will be accepted 100 percent of the time, there are some ways to increase your chances of success.
In "Nonprofit Management 101," Tori O'Neal-McElrath, director of institutional advancement at the Center for Community Change, listed nine dos and don'ts for the grant seeking process that will give your proposal the best possible shot of being accepted:
- DO take the executive summary portion of the proposal seriously. It is often the first section that gets read.
- DON’T make your problem statement so bleak that it creates the perception of no hope.
- DO get your facts straight. Make sure your data is up-to-date and as accurate as possible.
- DON’T let a grant-writing consultant develop your program plan. The person can write the grant, but staff needs to develop the program.
- DO follow the grant guidelines as specifically as they are articulated. Never use a “one size fits all” approach to seeking grants.
- DO contact the funding institution and speak or meet with someone about your organization and/or program before submitting the proposal.
- DO think of everyone -- funding institutions included -- who invests in your organization as partners.
- DON’T try to convince a funder to invest in your nonprofit if you do not fit within their specific areas of focus.