One in 10 applications are approved for funding. Here are five tips to maximize your chances of being one of them:
1) Proofread and follow directions
When applying for jobs, do you check your resume and cover letter to make sure everything is perfect? No misspelled words, misplaced commas, or wrong reference information? Good. Do the same for your proposal. If the grant has specific guidelines, follow them! If you won’t, someone who wants the grant badly enough will only be too glad to have less competition. The last thing anyone wants to do is have everything done – only to find out that the foundation wanted a different font!
2) Do your research
Before sending your grant proposal to the grant funder, conduct targeted research. Your narrative can look great on paper, but you need proof to support your claims. Your interests must align. Otherwise, you’re wasting the funder’s time – and yours.
3) Be consistent with presentation of the proposal narrative and the budget
How many times has a writer poured blood, sweat, tears, corrections, and numerous drafts into the narrative, then all but ignored the budget? It happens more than anyone might think. Making it worse is that funders typically look at the budget first. Making the budget and its numbers consistent with the narrative helps funders connect the dots and makes your competence of the subject stand out.
4) Show competence, skill and knowledge to your funder
The proposal should show that you’ve done your homework, demonstrate knowledge of your community and make clear a need in your community. Doing so will help the funder feel confident that the grant is in the hands of someone possessing personal accountability and financial responsibility.
5) Funders are people, too
Remember throughout the process that no matter the source of the grant, there’s at least one person in charge of the organization who decides where it is awarded. If you can – unless expressly ordered otherwise – don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call. Like anything involving human interactions, it’s all about relationships.