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  • Writer's pictureNonprofit Learning Lab

5 Essential Grant Writing Tips to Secure Funding for Nonprofits

This is a guest blog by OnBoard.

In addition to money secured through creative fundraising, nonprofits need grants to support their operations and programs. Grants provide a stable and predictable source of revenue that helps cover costs, implement new initiatives, and reach new audiences.

Nonprofits face stiff competition when it comes to securing major grants, making the grant writing process critical. In this blog, you will find grant writing best practices to maximize your chances of securing funding.

Why is Grant Writing Important?

Grants are an essential primary source of funding for nonprofit programs and operations. In addition, earning a grant can increase a nonprofit’s visibility and credibility, helping it attract additional funding and support from other sources.

The grant writing process requires nonprofits to carefully consider their goals, objectives, and strategies and develop a detailed budget and timeline. Doing so can help nonprofits better plan and prioritize their work. By providing a clear and compelling case for support, grant writing helps nonprofits demonstrate their work’s impact and hold themselves accountable for delivering results.

Failing to secure funding can have far-reaching and long-lasting impacts on a nonprofit organization, its programs, and its ability to serve its constituents and achieve its mission.

Without sufficient funding, nonprofits may be forced to reduce their programs’ scope or scale, or close programs altogether. In addition, nonprofits may have to lay off staff or reduce hours, which can impact the organization’s capacity to deliver programs and services. Lack of funds may harm the organization’s credibility and reputation, making it harder for the nonprofit to acquire funding and support from other sources in the future.

Elements of an Effective Grant Proposal

An effective grant proposal typically includes the following elements:

  • Title Page and Cover Letter: The grant proposal’s title page and cover letter give the funding organization a first impression of the nonprofit organization and its proposal. They should be well-written, professional, and aligned with the funding organization’s priorities and requirements.

  • Problem, Goals, and Objectives: The problem, goals, and objectives provide the foundation for the proposed project and help to ensure the project is focused and well-aligned with the funding organization’s priorities. They should be well-researched, clearly stated, and compelling, demonstrating a strong understanding of the problem your organization hopes to solve with the funds and a clear plan for addressing it.

  • Evaluation Plan: The evaluation plan provides the funding organization with a clear understanding of how the project will be monitored and assessed, and how the nonprofit organization will measure the outcome. A strong evaluation plan demonstrates that the nonprofit organization is committed to transparency, accountability, and continuous improvement.

  • Budget: A well-prepared budget demonstrates the project’s financial viability and helps the funding organization to understand how the nonprofit organization will use the requested funds. An accurate, transparent, and well-justified budget helps to build trust with the funding organization and increases the chances of securing funding.

Tips to Secure Funding

  1. Tell a Good Story: Telling a compelling and persuasive story can be an effective way to secure grant funding. A well-told story can help the funding organization understand the project’s significance and the impact it will have. It can also help to build trust and create an emotional connection with the funder. When telling your nonprofit’s story, describe first-hand, authentic experiences, so funders can clearly see how their grants make a difference through your organization.

  2. Be Concise: Being concise, while including all the required application materials is important because funding organizations receive many grant proposals and may only have a limited time to review each one. As a result, nonprofits should create a grant proposal that is easy to read, well-organized, and focuses on the most critical aspects of the project.

  3. Target a Specific Project: Grant organizations want to know exactly how their funds will be used and that they’ll make a measurable impact. Targeting a specific project demonstrates a clear and focused plan for how the funding will be used.

  4. Focus on Solving a Problem: Focusing on solving a specific problem suggests that the organization is committed to addressing a pressing need in the community and making a positive impact. By focusing on solving a specific problem, the organization can provide more detail, including the budget, timeline, and evaluation plan.

  5. Hire a Grant Writer: Writing an effective grant proposal requires your team’s time, attention, and grant writing know-how. However, busy nonprofit boards and staff may not have the resources or expertise it takes to organize and strategize the grant-writing process. Such organizations can leverage the skills of a reliable grant writing consultant to streamline the process. In addition to ensuring that you submit a persuasive proposal, a consultant can also help you source high-value grant opportunities.

Supporting Fundraising at the Board Level

A nonprofit board’s main responsibility is enabling the organization to serve their communities and achieve their goals; securing funding through grants plays a vital in making that impact and success possible.

As a result, nonprofit board members should make supporting fundraising efforts a top priority.

Fundraising and grant writing requires effective planning and coordination at the board level. Download this free board meeting agenda template to keep your board meetings on track and ensure that fundraising is always a topic of discussion.


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