Grant proposals are a part of any fundraiser's portfolio. To achieve optimal success your grant proposals should be part of your overall fundraising plan.
Grants may be from a variety of sources (such as a foundation or a government entity), but most require the same information. Here are the most common sections of grant proposals, and the information you should include.
1. Cover Letter
Although the cover letter is written last, don't give it short shrift. It is the front porch of your grant proposal and will determine how well the rest of the proposal is received. A bad impression here will be difficult to make up later. You'll want to address your letter to a specific person, briefly state what your proposal asks for, and summarize (not repeat) the essence of your program.
This is the meat of your grant proposal. You must convince the funder that what you propose to do is important and that your organization is the right one to do it. Assume that the reader of your proposal does not know much about the issue or subject. Explain why the issue is important, and what research you did to learn about possible solutions.
The need statement must include both stories and data, and be matched to the interests of the granting organization. The goal is to convince the funder that this project solves an important societal problem, and that the funder should be completely interested in supporting it.
Have you gotten committed funds from other sources? Or have you asked other sources? Most funders do not wish to be the sole source of support for a project. Be sure to mention in-kind contributions you expect, such as meeting space or equipment.
Is this a pilot project with a limited time-line? Or will it go into the future? If so, how do you plan to fund it? Is it sustainable over the long haul?
In a few paragraphs explain what your organization does, and why the funder can trust it to use the requested funds responsibly and effectively.
Give a short history of your organization, state its mission, the population it serves, and provide an overview of its track record in achieving its mission. Describe or list your programs.
Be complete in this part of your proposal even if you know the funder or have gotten grants from this grantmaker before.
9. BudgetHow much will your project cost? Attach a short budget showing expected expenses and income. The expenses portion should include personnel expenses, direct project expenses, and administrative or overhead expenses. Income should include earned income and contributed income.
10. Additional Materials
Funders are likely to want the following:
11. Putting it all together
Put everything together with your cover sheet and a cover letter. You may need to have your CEO and/or the Board President sign the cover sheet or letter. You do not need a fancy binder, but it should all be neatly typed and free of errors.