Top Tips for Your Next Grant Application

A boy examines a page of sea creatures as part of an educational program
In your grant application, be sure to tell the story of who your program will be helping.

There’s no exact science to grantwriting. Every funder has a different format and set of requirements. It’s no wonder that many people find the grantwriting process to be daunting. But fear not. We’re here to provide a few tips for you to consider when writing your next grant proposal. Whether you are a veteran writer or just starting out in the nonprofit field, these tips should give you a good foundation to help secure your next grant.

Inspire the Reader

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

Storytelling is key. Yes, it’s important to include specific project details and data, but that does not capture the true impact of the work. The person reading your grant application is another community-minded person and they will be more likely to select your project if the words you write capture their attention.

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

Think about the people, places and things you serve and discuss how lives and situations will be improved as a result of your project. Explain the challenge or problem, then outline your solution, and conclude with the tangible results.

Consider the Big Picture

Funders want to maximize the impact of their philanthropy. Not only do they want to help, but they want to invest in tangible social change that moves the needle.

How can your project stand out and support the goals of the funder’s grant cycle? What larger trend are you addressing with your project?

Learn about the focus of the organization you are soliciting funds from and find out what matters most to them. Their grant guidelines will likely give you a good overview, but don’t stop there.

How can your project stand out and support the goals of the funder’s grant cycle? What larger trend are you addressing with your project?

While your 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.

Never Overlook the Budget

Don’t avoid the budget section, embrace it! View the budget as another opportunity to explain the importance of your project.

You already know that funders are limited by the grant dollars they have available. If the financial projections are one of the deciding factors when choosing a grantee, chances are the funder will be looking at this section very closely.

Grant Training

The Nonprofit Institute, Sanford Institute of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Management Solutions provide training to local nonprofits and offer many resources you might find useful in your fundraising and grantwriting efforts.

Also, as you hone your grantwriting skills, remember to subscribe to The Foundation’s monthly email about the latest grant opportunities available to San Diego nonprofits and check our grants page for additional opportunities throughout the year.

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