Grants provide a way for your foundation or corporation to donate funds to eligible nonprofit organizations, individuals or other applicable entities. Before a donor opens up a grant program for applications, it is important to first create a grant application. A grant application can be adapted from a common grant template, or a new application may be developed that includes instructions, a cover sheet, grant proposal and budget information for applicants.

Step 1.

Determine what software you want to use to create your foundation’s grant application. Many foundations use Microsoft Word to develop the cover letter and other document formats for a grant application.

Step 2.

Develop instructions for how applicants should fill out your grant application and what forms should be incorporated. Consider providing tips (for example, applicants may want to research your philosophy, interests, criteria and other guidelines). Mention the timeline requirements for a grant application. Determine if you will have deadlines for application submission and outline the dates or specify if you have open submissions. Include this information in the instruction paperwork.

Step 3.

Create a cover sheet requirement for grant applicants. Cover sheets should include the date of their application, the legal name of an organization, address, website, name of the executive director and contact phone number. You should include a space for an organization to enter their tax identification number, the year of their founding, the organizational budget and total number of board members and volunteers. Provide applicants with space to include their mission statement, population served and one or two sentences about the grant request, including the amount requested.

Step 4.

Outline the first section to include organizational information that you want to know, such as the history, goals and objectives, programs, services, accomplishments and organizational structure.

Step 5.

Determine what budget form you want to use, such as financial information, a program budget, income and expenses. If an organization receives funding, you should give the organization an opportunity to outline the funding requests and amounts that are pending and committed.

Step 6.

Decide what attachments you will require for the grant application. Most foundations want a copy of the IRS nonprofit, tax determination letter.


Make sure that your application is clear and free of punctuation and grammatical errors prior to posting it on your website or making it available to the public.


Do not use obscure software that organizations will not have or a program they cannot afford.