To receive a grant, you must submit a formal request for funds explaining why you or your company deserve to be given money to support your project or goals. Writing a grant request can seem overwhelming. To be successful, you must do a lot of advance preparation and planning. It takes time to compile and organize information, research grants, and write and package your proposal. A well-written grant request will follow these basic steps.
Identify what you need to do and why you need to do it. State the specific need your project will fill and the solution you are offering. The greater the need and the more people it benefits, the more likely it will be funded. Grant donors are looking for unique answers to problems, not something they have heard before. Make sure your objectives are clearly stated.
Read and follow instructions. Most grant donors will have a set of proposal guidelines you must follow. If your grant does not conform to their requirements, it will be rejected. Study the guidelines and make sure you qualify for their grant. The guidelines provide information on format proposal, submission deadlines, the grant budget and the target group. Many grant donors require you to be in a certain state or local area.
Include a budget. Grant donors want to know exactly how much your project is going to cost. Spend time researching and calculating the actual costs of your project and the funds required to meet your objectives. It is also beneficial to include other financial assistance you are receiving.
Write a cover letter. One of the most important parts of the grant proposal is the cover letter. Make sure it is short and concise and does not merely repeat the information in the proposal. Draft the letter on your organization's letterhead and have it signed by the executive director or board president of your organization. Talk about your organization and state its purpose of fundraising. Include thoughts on how the grant will be beneficial to your organization.
Proofread. Review your grant request and review it again. Have at least two other people proofread it. Make sure you have provided all the information and supporting documentation the grant donor requires. The proposal package should be neat and clean and include the correct number of copies.
Know your deadline. Note whether the grant request must be received or postmarked by the deadline. Some grant donors allow late submissions, but submitting a late proposal can reflect poorly on your organization.
Apply to multiple grant donors. A single donor should not be the sole source of your funds. Having several grant requests out there will help should you be turned down for a grant or not receive full funds.
Build a relationship with the donor. People are more likely to give money to people and organizations they know. Contact the individual identified in the grant guidelines and introduce yourself and your project. Ask the person about prior successful grant proposals.