The most effective organizations follow these essential nonprofit grant writing tips to secure mission-critical funds.
Nonprofit grant writing can be intimidating, especially if you’re a first-time applicant looking to boost board fundraising. On top of that, your organization will undoubtedly face stiff competition when applying for major grants, making the grant writing process critical for nonprofits.
Boost your board’s effectiveness by following the grant writing best practices outlined below to maximize your chances of receiving a grant.
5 Effective Tips for Fundraising and Grant Writing
Most nonprofits rely on fundraising campaigns annually to continue operations. Applying for grants boosts your fundraising campaigns to reinforce your mission. Learn how to write grants for nonprofits.
1. Review Grant Requirements in Detail
Each grant foundation has specific eligibility and application requirements. First, ensure you meet eligibility requirements before writing any grant proposal. After all, it’s useless to apply for grants you aren’t eligible for. Here is a real-life example.
To qualify for Cisco’s Product Grant Program, your overhead can’t exceed 25%. In this case, it’s useless to write Cisco a grant proposal if your nonprofit’s overhead exceeds this amount.
Dig deep into the funder’s grant requirements to determine if your nonprofit is an excellent match before sending your application. Is your nonprofit in a location the grant program covers? Does your organization’s mission align with the goals of the funder’s grant program? Do you meet the funder’s legal qualifications? Nearly all grant foundations have the requirements on their websites. Visit a funder’s website to confirm you’re the right fit.
In addition to eligibility requirements, organizations outline specific criteria for how to write a grant and what information to include. Read the instructions carefully.
2. Leverage the Expertise of a Grant Writing Consultant
Writing an effective grant proposal requires your board’s time, attention, and grant writing know-how. However, busy nonprofit boards may not have what it takes to organize and strategize the grant-writing process.
Such boards can leverage the skills of a reliable grant writing consultant to streamline the process. A consultant helps you source high-value grant opportunities and create persuasive proposals. The consultant guides you through the entire grant-writing process.
However, you only enjoy these benefits if you choose the right grant writing consultant. Consider the following when selecting a grant consultant.
- Writing skills: The consultant’s grant writing skills determine whether or not you win the funding. Your best option is a consultant who writes concisely and tells compelling stories about their clients. Ask the consultant for samples of their best work. Then, use these samples to evaluate whether a grant writing consultant suits your organization.
- Support offered: You need a consultant who does more than writing a grant proposal and handing it over to your team. The best grant writing consultant provides comprehensive support to run the entire process smoothly. Comprehensive support includes identifying high-quality grant opportunities, researching the funder, and compiling your organization’s information for the grant proposal.
- Specialization: Depending on your nonprofit’s goals and grant opportunities, you may need a consultant with additional specialization. For example, federal grants are quite different from local grants.
3. Use Simple Language
Your proposal determines whether or not you win a grant. You must not leave room for misinterpretations in your proposal. Funders won’t call you to ask for clarification. Ensure your proposal is concise, easy to understand, and compelling. Share your unique story in the fewest and the most straightforward words possible to keep your grant proposal engaging.
In other words, write your grant proposal in plain English without oversimplifying your message or patronizing the reader. Keep your sentences short with an average maximum length of 15 to 20 words. Just ensure you write with rhythm (mix short and long sentences). In addition, write in an active voice to make your proposal more punchy. For example, you should write “We helped 25,000 orphans in 2021 alone” instead of “25,000 orphans benefited from our organization in 2020 alone.” Writing in an active voice keeps your proposal concise and lively.
Lastly, use words that are appropriate for the reader. Don’t use acronyms or phrases that are internal to your organization.
4. Establish a Personal Relationship With the Grant Provider
Building a relationship with the grant foundation increases your chances of winning a grant. Unless you are a high-authority nonprofit, it’s almost impossible to win any grant without establishing a personal relationship with the funder.
That brings us to the big question: How do you establish a personal relationship with the grant provider?
- Provide personal, credible experiences in your proposal. When telling your nonprofit’s story, describe first-hand, authentic experiences so funders can clearly see how their grants make a difference through your organization.
- Make it easy to connect. Your online presence shows how your organization’s connected in today’s world. If grant providers see you’re connected to your community online, they get the impression that you’re equally connected when it comes to outreach.
5. Leverage Technology to Store Important Grant Documentation
OnBoard provides a reliable platform to store board documents so they’re easily accessible on demand by all board members for collaboration. The secure platform’s auto-save function ensures you won’t lose your hard work.
Achieve Nonprofit Grant Writing Mastery
Grant writing is a crucial task for nonprofits. You need to carefully plan the writing process, create realistic expectations, and leverage the best grant opportunities to boost your fundraising efforts. Streamline board governance and nonprofit functions, such as grant writing, with OnBoard.
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