What is a grant?
Grants are financial aids awarded to qualified or selected persons for a purpose. Grantmakers awards grants to persons or institutions. The main benefit of a grant is that it does not have to be repaid once allotted. Private, government & semi-government or corporate are the three main grantors. For the grants to be awarded or selected, the proposal should be outstanding.
Finding suitable funding requires a good deal of effort as well as research. Big or small grants both require the same amount of inputs in the form of information as well as time. Funding should align with your project.
Grant writing, what does it mean?
Writing a proposal to win a grant is referred to as grant writing. It is professionally done by experienced writers.
How does Grant writing differ from other writing?
The specific format has to be followed to address the key points. For a new project, grants are not easily awarded. You should be an expert or a knowledgeable person for the proposal you are applying for. Because it is valued & screened by an expert panel. It is very important to stand out as it is highly competitive.
How a grant is awarded?
It is very essential to identify the focus/need. Then good research on available or suitable grants is to be made. Then it’s time to create a proposal & the monetary requirements for the same. The next inquiry letter has to be submitted containing various queries.
A formal application has to be made, you can request the concerned application form. Then the Proposal is finalized to submit with all necessary elements. After that, it is submitted for review. It is very important to submit the proposal before the deadline. Late applications are not usually entertained. The deadlines are very important.
The concerned expert panel reviews the proposal. If it proves to be credible& genuine, you will receive the letter of award for the grant. As the next step, you are entitled to accept or deny the grand. You could also negotiate for multiple awards. If the grant is received, then the project is carried out. The timely financial reports are filed & presented to the funding authorities for review. This is the process of receiving a grant in a nutshell.
Components in a grant writing
Grant writing includes different components. Grant proposal writing demands good research, effort & time. Grant writing comprises different elements. It should be simple & understandable. Let’s discuss below
Describing the applicant –
This section should include the personal information of the applicant. The name, address, experience, qualifications, name of organizations working with, etc are to be mentioned.
Statement of purpose –
This section is very crucial as it should contain a description of the purpose or need. The mission statement has to be elaborated too. The target market or groups are identified & described. It is essential to determine the efficiency of your service in meeting the need of the target group. In short, explain how will you create an impact?.
Next is being more specific on the service you provide. The features & specialties should be unique to your services. These points have to be included in the section. This gives the grantors an idea of the overall project proposal. Credibility & transparency has to be maintained.
It should be SMART, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-specific. Regarding this section, it is to be noted that, the objectives of your proposal should be very focused. It should be very specific & not vague.
You should have numbers to support, very precise to the core. Objectives should not be multiple, as it has specific requirements. It shouldn’t be broader also. But in rare cases, they demand broader objectives. It is recommended to strictly confine to your purpose & target population.
So the objectives are set, next, you have to explain elaborately the methods you use to achieve your objectives. The service has to be described in detail. The time scale you are planning for the service provision, it should be precise.
The location has to be chosen to implement the project with the physical address. How it is going to be implemented, as a single project or as step by step process. The planning has to be discussed in detail. The persons responsible for the planning, implementation & execution has to be introduced. Everything listed should have a clear justification. It is better to do very vast research on different methods & you can choose the perfect ones.
After choosing the best method/design, evaluation has to be done. Now you can use qualitative/quantitative methodologies to evaluate the outcomes. The goals achieved are measured by different parameters. So how it is measured has to be detailed. The time frame has to be included also.
Funding for future –
After the period of funding, it is necessary to mention the future project funding sources. To run the project successfully & continuously the funding is inevitable. So the plans you have made to supplement the project funding have to be elaborated. Funding is provided for a certain period. If the project is long term, other funding services have to be mentioned in the proposal.
Detailed financial plan –
This gives an overview of your estimated costs, expenses, material costs, service charges, etc. The finance should be distributed per the requirements. It should state the realistic numbers. The projected expenses, cash inflow as well as cash outflow should be provided. Budget planning plays a major role in project proposals.
It should provide details on managing the project, the corresponding staff involved to support you. If you are working as a team, the details of the members, the work designated to them are to be included in the proposal.
It should include a summary of the entire proposal in simple words. Objectives should be described in short.
In this part, you should mention the need for funds. In short, why you require funding?
Tips & tricks to win a grant
It is advisable to follow some wise tips to get your project accepted for a grant. Before making any application, contact the manager in charge of the grant. It is very important to get the most realistic information from the concerned authorities.
You may directly place your queries if you are new to a grant application. Because people or organizations from diverse sectors are usually seeking grants for various projects. Each time, the requirements vary & also it depends upon your project objectives. It is recommended to take advice from the manager to avoid any errors in submitting the proposal.
Good research & homework –
The more you research, the more you are close to success. Collect & gather as much as information possible to present a very unique proposal. Research should be done from trusted sources. It should contain updated information.
Selection of funders –
Finding a perfect funder is a tedious task. After finding the suitable funder, it is essential to convince them through setting objectives as well as financial planning in the proposal.
Think out of the box, being innovative –
Bring creative ideas & find suitable funding agencies. There are a lot of funders available. It is necessary to find the perfect funder for your project. This is the primary step. Your thought process determines the design, planning, implementation, etc. The time you allocate for each step. Try to do deep research to collect possible information for the methods to use, quantitative data/qualitative data, etc.
Stick to Guidelines –
The listed guidelines have to be carefully noted. The grantors will have certain parameters for their funding. The eligibility requirements, the type of projects they wish to fund, the funds for small or large projects, the proposal content requirements, deadlines, etc.
Create realistic goals –
You can discuss with others to get more insights & try to be more focused. Initially, it is difficult to create a specific goal, so when you share with people you get a diverse spectrum of thoughts. These ideas can be noted & added to your proposal components.
Precision in writing –
When writing the proposal, everything you put in the proposal should have a reason. You should have an answer to the questions raised. It should mention the people involved, the duration, location, time allocation for each step, the budgeting part should have a detailed financial plan with projected figures. Each time make sure that the project aligns with the objectives as well as the proposed budget.
This is one of the major parts of grant writing. As funding is the key to any grants. So the financial plan should not be fancy. It should have realistic numbers showing the funds allocated at subsequent stages. You can take advice from experienced persons for clarifying any related doubts. The materials, resources, service fees, etc should be well studied from possible sources to produce a realistic figure.
Genuine feedback can bring a lot of changes to your existing proposal. Usually, the final drafts can be consulted with experienced personnel or grant managers in charge.
They can point out or identify any drawbacks & suggest potential changes to be made. There should be enough time to carry out the feedback sessions. It is better to complete the project proposal early so that you get a good time for changes resulting from the feedback.
Supporting resources –
It should be well organized & ready to present before the grant committee. During the process of review of your proposal, the panel may ask for materials supporting. It can be documents, other files, reports, etc.
Everything should be ready to be produced without any delay. Producing the necessary documentation in time adds value to your application. If there are any electronic documents ensure they are in readable formats. Some electronic formats may not be supported by the systems. It is good to communicate with them to know the exact formats.
Instructions & deadlines –
The instructions, as well as guidelines, are to be followed. The application should not be late in any case. It is very important to respect deadlines.
Important points in grant writing
- Name the grant proposal, professional names are best suited
- Make a template for the grant proposal for future use
- Each section should be addressed separately
- Contact the person in charge of grants for any inquires at any stage
- Have a good understanding of the requirements, instructions, guidelines from beginning to end.
- Avoid any sort of copy paste work in grant writing, it might affect the credibility & you may be denied the grant
- Guesswork should be avoided. This leads you in the wrong way
- Maintain honesty in your information in the proposal
Donts in grant writing
- False or misleading information
- Overambitious statements in the proposal
- Missing out information in the proposals
- Skipping the deadlines
- Submitting fake documents
- Avoid asking for more funds
Is Grant writing hard?
A successful grant proposal is not made in a single day. It requires a lot of hard work, research, information, experience, & precision. Most of the grant applications are denied due to improper proposals. The needs might be genuine, but the proposal may not be SMART.
The panel reviews many applications each day & they can easily identify the flaws. Each section in a proposal should have logical reasoning or a rationale. It should be very concise & to the point.
Creativity is mandatory in writing proposals. You should think of various innovative ways to get awarded. This makes you different from other applicants. Practical knowledge & common sense is essential to identify the apt people to support you.
We have elaborated on the format & the information to be included in various sections in writing a grant. There are a lot of tips & tricks to crack a grant. But everything has to be very well organized & clear. From the beginning to the end, the writing has to be consistent as well as in an orderly fashion. In short, know what you need & write accordingly. The success lies in the fact that how efficiently you present your proposal & align with the proposed funding.