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How to Write a Better Grant Proposal by Brian Konradt

Grant money is given for free, but it also comes with a lot of responsibility. Before you receive any of it, you'll have to prove that you're fully capable of handling funds and putting them to good use. You'll also have to prove that you're at the helm of an organization that's stable and sustainable. Otherwise, funders would hesitate to grant the project and entrust the money.

To remove the 'otherwise' and get the grant, here are some steps we propose. More of tips and techniques, they'll help you write a better grant proposal.

Step 1: Start with your project and its goals.

If you've already zeroed in on a particular project, here's where you can start. Begin by defining your project and stating your goals. This helps set up your main objective, after which you can lay down a proposal.

Step 2: Study the proposal guidelines.

There are guidelines which come with every submission of a grant proposal. First, see if you're eligible for applying for a grant and check if you meet the criteria needed for awarding.

The guidelines will also include how to format the proposal and when to submit it. To ensure that you receive a reply or at least a confirmation, don't forget to include your current contact information.

Step 3: Do a preliminary visit.

While you're brainstorming on goals and objectives, here's something else you can do. Give your funder a visit, locally or online. A preliminary step to being interviewed, it puts you on better footing. It makes you more aware of what your funder stands for.

If the foundation is accessible to you, why not visit and ask around? Do an ocular inspection of the place. Read bulletins and notice boards. Surely, there'll be someone in their office to give you more assistance.

Step 4: Write the proposal.

In as much as Step 3 has prepared you to get to know your funder better, Step 4 will enable you to get your funding and have your proposal approved.

So far, the funder's guidelines have mapped the proposal for you. What you need to do now is write the proposal in such a way that it caters to your funder's specific requirements.

For instance, your objectives have to be consistent and compatible with theirs. This implies that you both uphold similar ideals and look in the same direction.

But more than merely stating your objectives, go a step further. Explain how you propose to fulfill them through effective methods and strategies.

Step 5: Provide references and recommendations.

To back up your proposal, you'll need references who can vouch for your character. You'll also benefit from letters of recommendation which discuss your personal and work ethics in a positive light.

Step 6: Finish off with a great cover letter.

To complete your portfolio, write an excellent cover letter. It not only serves to introduce your grant proposal; it also helps pave the way for the entire package.

Step 7: Submit your proposal on time.

Going back to the funder's guidelines, the deadline for submission was clearly stated. It would be in poor taste to submit your grant proposal late and ask for some reconsideration.

Self-discipline and efficiency are unwritten qualities which a funder would look for. If you want to be looked upon as a reliable fundraiser, establish that trust early on. Afterwards, be responsible enough to maintain it all throughout your agreement.