Last month, The San Diego Foundation announced the latest grant recipients as part of the Opening the Outdoors Program 2016 grant cycle. And over the coming weeks and months, we expect to announce even more grant awards through our Programs and Regional Affiliates.

It’s exciting to see the impact each project will have across the region over the next 12 months, but we also enjoy watching these projects and ideas come to life from the very first step – grantwriting.

Experts will tell you, there’s no exact science to grantmaking.

Every person and every organization has their own style. That’s part of the beauty when reading and reviewing grants. Plus, every funder has a different format and set of requirements.

Because of that, the grantwriting process can seem daunting. But fear not! We’re here to provide a few tips for you to add to your grantmaking tool belt, whether you are a veteran writer or just starting out in the nonprofit field.

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1. Harness Your Inner Journalist

Storytelling is key. Simply throwing a bunch of project details and data onto a piece a paper means little when there’s no rhyme or reason.

  • Why is the project important for the region?
  • Who will it support and what are the challenges they face?
  • What are the benefits?

Most importantly, share what makes your organization unique and the role it plays in the field.

Think about your proposal as having a beginning, middle and end. Explain the challenge or problem, then outline your solution, and conclude with the tangible outcomes the funder can anticipate from their investment.

Remember, on the other end there is a person reading your proposal – think about how you can evoke emotion and make a connection with your reader.

2. What’s the Big Idea?

More and more, funding organizations and individual donors want to maximize the impact of their philanthropy. Not only do they want to help, but they want tangible social change that moves the needle on social need.

Grantmaking should evolve with these current trends.

Learn about the focus of the organization but also identify the broader needs of the region. While your grant proposal and project will focus on your own organization’s work as it applies to the grant requirements, tie that to a larger challenge or trend to make a stronger case for support.

3. Money Talks

Don’t avoid the budget section, embrace it! View the budget as another opportunity to share ways your program is exciting and unique.

You already know that funders are limited by the grant dollars they have available. Chances are funders will be looking at this section very closely. Pay close attention to the budget narrative and use it to share additional and compelling information about program features.

Continuing Growth

Nonprofit Management Solutions provides management training to local nonprofits and offers many tools you might find useful in your fundraising and grantwriting efforts. Check out its website for a list of upcoming workshops and resources for nonprofits.

As you hone your grantwriting skills, remember to check The Foundation website monthly for grant opportunities to see when and where you can use them next.

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