Many individuals with underfunded projects wonder where to get grants. So how do you go about grant seeking? More so, how do you handle grant writing to get a winning proposal? Since grants are very competitive, you need to prove that your project is better than the many in the competition. Plus, the funder needs to know that their money will be put to good use. Therefore, you need a strategy as you go after these federal grants, and you also need to be patient since it can take some time before you hear about your proposal. Below are things that you should do before you write your first grant.
Confirm if you are Ready
Grants require a lot of planning and resources. So, do you have the energy, time, and infrastructure? To know if you are ready to apply for a grant, consider whether you have documented proof of your success. Ask yourself if you have diversified streams of income? Have you established goals for the upcoming year? If your budget is on point. Also, consider who will write the grants for you and who will manage the grants for you. Knowing if you are ready is vital, for you need to have a strong track record of success, a functional board, and a capable staff before you write your grant proposal.
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Before you make any major grant plans, do your research. It is vital to be sure that the grants will be a good return on your investment. This will ensure that you do not chase down leads that do not pan out. When you take the time to do your research, it will pay off later. Things you should consider before you create a list of funding prospects are your needs and what programs you will deliver. Also, determine a good match by taking time to screen possible funders to find out if they will meet your needs. Use research tools to find grant opportunities, as most of them are free.
When you establish a relationship with a foundation, you increase your chances of getting the grant. For instance, you can get an audience with them through email, phone, or in-person to introduce your nonprofit. Ask questions about the submission process, and you can explain an idea you like to propose to see if it interests them. The importance of contact is that once submissions are out, they will remember your nonprofit, and this is helpful, especially with hundreds of submissions that they have to go through. However, it is important to note that some of the funders do not want any grantee to contact them, and they state this before they submit their grant. So pay attention to this notice either through the guidelines or website.
Read Through the Guidelines
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When you are preparing to apply for a grant, you need to understand the fundamentals of writing a winning proposal and pay attention to the details. So, check out the guidelines that your funder provides, and you will see the instructions on various things. For instance, the grant submission process is available through email, the grant portal, or a letter of inquiry. Also, the instructions on the narratives, that are in the essay part of the submission. The budgets are important as well, as the funders what to know how you will spend their money. Finally, the attachments can be supporting documents that are financial documents, brochures, copies of new articles, and photos. However, sometimes they may ask for this, and sometimes they do not.
Prepare to Start Writing the Proposal Early
Prepare to start earlier, since grants take time and require hard work. So, starting early will give you time to avoid you missing out on submitting an application or letter of inquiry because the deadline surpassed. Some of the things that will help you start on the right path are identifying your grant team early. Add lead time by submitting the grant a few days before it’s due. So be patient since it takes time to learn the skills of going after grants. Hence, when you give it enough time, you will decide if it is working or not.