How to write a government grant proposal properly? Grant applications must be considered as projects with a clear deliverable or goal to receive the funding requested. Projects must create measurable results to receive funding. A carefully crafted, organized, and packaged grant proposal is likely to be approved.
A Grant Proposal Is What, Then?
It is, in essence, a request for funding for either a for-profit or nonprofit project. At first look, grant proposals appear to help only the business or organization seeking funding. But that’s not quite correct.
It’s an investment in a positive development for grantees (a person or organization who provides you with funding). As a result, they may have a strong influence on topics relating to a company’s ethics, values, or culture.
Nonprofit organizations can apply for more than 100 different kinds of federal grants through the Department of Health & Human Services. One such program is Federal Grant A8201, which tends to focus on preventive actions like lowering youth tobacco use or educating people about healthy diets across America.
How to write a government grant proposal for single government program can take more than 200 hours. Any organization would need to spend a significant amount of time. The financial benefit may also be extremely large: Every year, the US government awards $3 billion in funding, and this budget cycle, it’s promising funding rates of over 50% that have never been seen before!
According to a statistic, 75% of those who applied for grants received them, and 94% of those who had three to five grant money got at least one! 98% of candidates had six or ten submissions prepared to get as well.
How to Write A Government Grant Proposal – Complete Guide
You need to get ready before you start. If we’re discussing how to start writing a grant proposal for a nonprofit, this document shouldn’t take up much of your overall fundraising strategy.
You must first establish your fundraising objectives, make an estimated cost, create a project timeline, and identify potential grant sources.
The method for “how to start writing a grant proposal for a small company” is almost identical. Before requesting a grant in the United States, a new company must register with a government grant program.
To save time, it’s possible to submit a brief grant letter before creating a lengthy grant proposal.
Write a thorough RFP response to this potential investor if your Grantee accepts your letter and requests an official grant proposal from you.
Also, you can use a valuable document management system to help you with this time-consuming task and save even more time. It can manage your quotes, agreements, and contracts, in addition, to grant proposals.
Step 1: Compose a compelling cover letter.
The ideal chance to grab the funder’s attention and open the door is in your cover letter. The letter has more leeway to be informal and to address the reader directly than the remaining portion of your grant application.
Your cover letter’s main goal should be to persuade the reader to read your proposal. Your letter should make you stand out as much as you can in the sea of grant proposals that they have probably received, which number in the tens or even hundreds.
Here are some guidelines for writing effective cover letters:
- Keep it simple: Maximum of three to four paragraphs. Get right to the point and communicate your intentions without wasting time with unnecessary details.
- Describe your needs: Mention your financial needs and the amount needed right away. Don’t be afraid to be blunt; the reader needs to know that you deserve this grant.
- Don’t just summarize what you said in the proposal here; that would be redundant. Feel free to deviate a little from the plan and add something valuable.
- Connect the dots: Draw a direct line from the funder’s mission and resources to your proposed project to demonstrate that you comprehend the funder.
- Don’t become overly sentimental when writing about your organization or mission.
- Deliver your statement in an informal formal way while maintaining attention to your points.
- Identify your rivals: Do not evaluate yourself for others. Without mentioning anyone else, simply state your own desired result and work to create a positive first impression.
A strong cover letter might begin like this:
Hello, Mr. Ben
With due respect, The Pet Care Clinic asks for a grant of $30,000 for the North California Health Center Project.
We understand the difficulties faced by pet parents in our service area because we are the largest private veterinary hospital. Given that area has the most pets per capita in the city, we are especially concerned about the poor service quality there.
By the end of 2022, we are committed to finding a solution to this problem by expanding our community and offering our knowledge to North California’s residents and animals. With the aid of the North California Health Center Project, we’ll be able to offer access…
Direct and to the point!
Step 2: Write a simple and direct executive summary first.
Each successful grant must begin with a simple and direct executive summary.
An executive summary also referred to as a proposal summary, is essentially a simplified version of the entire proposal. It provides an overview of your company, market niche, proposal, project objectives, and overall grant request. It should be straightforward, to the point, pragmatic, and factual with enough specifics and detail.
- Limit it to two pages maximum: You should only include the information necessary for the grantee to understand who you are and the purpose you need the funds for after reading this section alone.
- Add the following sources: Mention the amount of money you’re requesting and clearly explain your approach to spending the grant.
- introduce your business: Don’t be hesitant to share with the grantee information about your background, mission, and goals—even though you will talk in more specifics about this later.
- Directly address the funder: The cover letter is the only spot to do this. The writing of a grant application has started, so we need to become more professional.
- Give excessively: Keep the project description brief; there will be room for it later.
So, the following concerns will be addressed by a competent grant writer in the executive summary:
- What are your goals and background? How do you think and act?
- What is the name of your project and who will assist it?
- What issue are you resolving, and why is that important?
- What is your ultimate objective and how will you know when you’ve achieved it?
- Why should we give you the money? What competence do you have?
- How much funds do you need, and how do you intend to continue funding the project? Do you have access to additional funding?
Step 3: Describe your company.
You’ve now established the overall context for the proposal, so it’s time to introduce your company or organization. Give as much detail as you can be related to your organization’s infrastructure, mission, history, and experience.
In essence, you emphasize your expertise by including key staff biographies, your business record of success, corporate objectives, and philosophy. You must include things like client suggestions, letters of gratitude, customer and public feedback, and more in a grant application. Include information about all current business and indemnity insurance policies, licenses, and industry certifications (such as ISO or Quality Certifications).
You must demonstrate that your business or organization can meet all project requirements, both in terms of execution and in terms of upholding all legal, safety, and quality requirements.
To demonstrate your ability to honor your financial obligations to your employees and contractors, you might need to submit solvency statements.
- Be completely objective: It’s simple to begin bragging about yourself too much and attempt to persuade the grant reviewers that you’re the greatest of the best. Try to stay truthful and avoid getting into this trap.
- Give some background information: When and why was the business or organization founded? As naturally as you can, try to tie your mission to the grantmakers.
- Include too much information: All of your employees do not have to be listed by name. The executive director, for example, adds a biography. Alternatively, just state the total number of staff.
- Off-topic: The entire purpose of this section should be to demonstrate why your organization deserves the funding and no one else does. Don’t forget this fact and avoid writing excessive detail.
Step 4 is to formulate a clear problem statement.
The problem statement is one of the most crucial elements of the grant proposal format. This section—also referred to as the “needs statement” or “statement of need”—is where you describe the issue your community is facing and how you can address it.
You might need to conduct in-depth research on the background of the underlying issue, on earlier attempts at solving the issues that may have failed, and on why your proposed solution will be effective.
The problem statement in a successful grant proposal will highly depend on quantitative information and demonstrate how your organization achieves a need.
- Employ comparable data: Count on the outcomes of other communities who have already adopted your approach and experienced success.
- Emphasize urgency: Stress how important it is to begin this project right away rather than waiting.
- Concentrate on the main issue: Avoid getting distracted by other events that are causing the primary issue you’re trying to address.
- Write it about you: The community, not your organization, needs grant funding.
- Apply circular logic: The issue shouldn’t be stated as “The city lacks a youth center -> We can establish a youth center.” Why is a youth center needed in the city? That should be the main consideration when you are writing.
How to write a government grant proposal for problem statement:
The city of [your community] has the strongest [problem stat] per capita in the region of [your state], as reported in a 2017 study from [institution]. These outcomes were confirmed by a subsequent study conducted by [institution] in 2020, demonstrating the significance of [potential solution] in addressing these issues.
In the following fields and industries, there is a need for education and professional services. In response to this demand, [your organization] suggests a [your program] that will also, for the very first time, resolve the [problem].
Step 5: Outline your aims and purposes
Clearly stating your intentions and goals is a crucial step in the grant proposal procedure. Many proposals fail because they overlook or improperly manage this step, resulting in the complete waste of their efforts.
How to write a government grant proposal for this part is about writing the detailed outcome and the criteria of success to measure. The advantages that the grantee, community, federal govt, or client will experience as a result of their investment are crucially described in this section.
Goals and objectives should be distinct even though they sound similar. Goals and objectives should be treated separately even though they have similar sounds. Consider objectives as more focused, measurable statements of intention with a time frame as opposed to goals, which are more general statements of intention.
- Declare objectives as results: The main objective is something you want to accomplish rather than perform.
- Make sure your objectives are SMART: If your goals aren’t SMART, you won’t be able to monitor your progress. SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound).
- Describe how to associate the audience with goals and objectives: The improvement of your community demonstrated in a quantifiable way should always be the project’s ultimate goal.
- Be overly ambitious Make sure your goals are realistic and avoid getting ahead of yourself.
- Goals should never be confused with processes because they are always stated as measurable results with deadlines, not as processes.
Here is an illustration of well-written objectives and goals.
Goal: Enhance the literacy and general communication skills of kids from internal schools in the [community].
Objective: By the end of the 2023 school year, speaking and writing test scores for fifth-graders in the [community] should be at least 20% higher than they are now (on average, they are 55/100).
Observe how the objective is more precise and measurable while the goal is more idealistic and abstract.
Step 6: Methods and strategies for project design
It’s time to explain your strategy for achieving your goals after the funding organization or grantee is aware of them. List the new personnel, additional resources, transportation, and technical support you’ll need to complete the project and meet the specified success criteria.
A successful project management discipline and techniques will keep effective attention on activities, milestones, and outcomes with detailed requirements and individual tasks (project schedule).
- Connect with the objectives: Both the statement and the objectives you listed must be connected to your methods and strategies.
- Give examples: Find cases where these same techniques were effective for earlier projects if you can.
- Show that something is cost-effective: Ensure the grantmaker understands how logical, thorough, and economical your methods are.
- Make assumptions: Don’t assume that the reader is an expert on the subjects you are discussing.
- Be precise and expose your strategies as if you were speaking to a person who was completely new to your company or your ideas.
- Ignore your listeners; you need to prove that the strategies you selected are appropriate for the area.
Step 7. The assessment phase: monitoring success
Process evaluation is covered in this section. How will you monitor the success of your program?
The cost of the project’s evaluation phase is also in this section, along with information on who will conduct the evaluation, what specific skills or products will be required, and the timeframe for doing so.
Because all funders will be looking for evaluations, this is one of the most critical parts of writing a grant application. Whether we’re speaking about public institutions or private organizations, they all want to know whether the proposal they funded was successful.
Both entry and exit criteria, together with activities that are specifically focused within the evaluation’s scope, are essential and can be quite costly. Since this phase tends to go over budget, all actions that are outside the context of the evaluation must be clarified. Again, great attention to evaluation tasks and results will depend on reliable project management discipline and techniques.
- Gaining comments: Regardless of how you envision your evaluation procedure, it must incorporate some form of community feedback.
- Choose between internal and external evaluation: One of the key considerations here is whether you’ll conduct the evaluation in-house with your team or contract with a third party to carry it out on your behalf.
- Be ambiguous: The measurement techniques that will inform you and your funding agencies of the program’s performance must be specifically described. Nothing ambiguous about this.
- Ignore time limits: Success must be measured over time. Therefore, ensure that your evaluation methods are continuous.
To resume our earlier example of teaching children to read, here is how to write a government grant proposal for the part of project’s evaluation:
To assess how well the project is achieving its goals, the program facilitators will give students pretests and posttests. The ongoing assessments will be developed by a group of outside collaborators (child education specialists), and they will happen once a month for the period of the program.
To identify opportunities for improvement and to get feedback, we will request participating educators to write a qualitative assessment for each session.
Step 8: Sustainability and alternative funding sources
The idea of funding an unfocused, short-term project won’t sit well with your founders. They’ll be much more eager to reward a good potential project that can operate on a long-term basis and acknowledge a long-term victor. You must therefore demonstrate how you can achieve this.
The funding criteria for the total cost of ownership, which includes constant maintenance, regular operations, and technical assistance, are covered in this part of your grant application. You might need to explain the anticipated additional costs (if any) for at least five years.
Inflation, specialist training, extensive training, possible future growth, and decommissioning costs when the project or product achieves the end of its lifespan must all be considered in an accurate financial system.
- Have a solid plan: Because most grant reviewers are familiar with business plans, you must present a functional sustainability plan.
- How exactly will you earn profits so that the project can continue?
- Mention additional funding: This is the place to mention any plans you may have to receive additional government funding. Do not assume that this is not a sound long-term plan.
- Don’t forget anything: Don’t leave any room for anecdotal evidence or to fill in the blanks. Everything must be explained, and you must prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that your program can continue to function even after the ?rst funds have been depleted.
Step 9. Create a project budget.
Budgeting is undoubtedly one of the most significant grants proposal subjects. Now is the time to describe in detail how you will use the funds from an operational point of view. A sheet of services (service catalog) and products available can be used to precisely and concisely describe the services. Deliver a fully rational explanation for all costs.
The budgeting section is the actual food of your grant proposal, keep that in mind. Having a high quote or overcharging can result in losing the grant and even being accused of profit-making. Although you might win the contract by underquoting, failing to deliver on your commitments could damage your relationship with the grantee.
Many grantmakers understate their claims to “hook” the reader and persuade them to request more money later. Playing this dangerous game could harm the reputation of your business, community, or industry as a whole.
- Pay attention to the smallest details; absolutely everything must be handled. Don’t forget to include all expenses for personnel, supplies, advertising, or travel.
- Re-check: It’s simple to accidentally skip a zero or enter a decimal point, which will cause all numbers to be wrong. Be extremely careful!
- Just for the readers’ benefit, round off your sums. It will be more difficult to track numbers with many decimal points.
- Do it alone: Don’t be afraid to involve others and put together a team if you’re not too good with numbers so that you can work on this project together.
- Ignore indirect expenses: Many grant writers ignore indirect expenses like insurance, utilities, trash collection, etc. Be cautious as these can accumulate.
Here is a short example of a project budget in a grant proposal for a case study:
|Research Assistant||6 months||$600||$3,600||$3,600|
|Total grant request||
How to write a government grant proposal can be quite lengthy because it includes all the sections we mentioned, including the statement of the problem, cover letter, and summary of the project.
There isn’t a hard-and-fast guideline when we talk about grant proposals; the complexity of the topic they address and the amount of study they are based on will always determine how long they are.
How to write a government grant proposal should generally be close to 25 pages long, but different funding organizations may specify a different length in their “Rules” section, so be sure to read that section carefully.