Do you need help writing an effective grant proposal? If so, then you are in luck.
This blog post is designed to give you a general walk-through of what it's like to apply for grants via grant proposal writing. You get to review each section of the grant proposal separately and conveniently go through the application process.
If you follow this grant proposal template to the letter, we are confident that you’re already on your way to win a grant. As a matter of fact, we have accomplished this information by thoroughly going through the web and other resources available to us.
By using the suggested guidelines, you can create a grant proposal that can be used in any situation, whether your goal is to get funding for an education program or to start a new nonprofit organization from scratch.
What is a Grant?
A grant is not free money, but it insinuates the funds given by the government (either local, state, or federal) to a person or group of people without any expectation of repayment. It can also be asked from a private local and international business to support a public-serving purpose or an issue that impacts the future of kids, for example.
Besides these, there are many other reasons for which you can apply for grants.
Grant applications are, typically, to the point and address the objectives well. Their sole purpose is to explain why an organization or individual needs grant funding, what the funds will be used for, and how they plan to spend it.
What is a Grant Proposal Template?
A grant writing proposal template is a starting point. It helps you get organized before jumping into the process and save time by not having to reinvent the wheel each time when applying for a grant.
One thing that’s really important about templates, though, is being critical in choosing how to make them work best for different types of projects.
As a grant proposal writer, you should use a cover letter, statement of need, and plan of evaluation to answer questions that are most critical for your project. Grant writing has to be done carefully. It isn't easy for someone to fund unless they are sure of its results.
It’s crucial to note, though, that free templates available on the Internet won’t work in every situation - it depends on what you need or how much time you have. If you can find a grant-writing sample that closely mirrors the type of grant program you want to apply to, you can use that.
However, the grant writing template we have come up with in this article will surely lead you to write an effective proposal and luckily win a lot of funding. It describes each section of the grant writing proposal in a multi-tone and seamless manner.
What you wouldn't want to do is be among people who initially make their personalized plan from scratch and end up spending more funds than they need on professional help later down the line.
The Grant Writing Template with 8 Components to Win a Grant
Ordinarily, a grant proposal template saves time, energy, and resources to align your project goals with the business objectives of funding organizations.
So, what are the eight common parts when writing grant applications?
- Cover letter
- Executive summary
- Statement of need
- Goals and objectives
- Methods and strategies
- Plan of evaluation
- Budget information
- Organizational background
As a nonprofit, you might be looking for content to put in a grant proposal, but there is no one-size-fits-all type of solution. Familiarizing your team with its core sections and their purpose can simplify the whole grant writing process. Have your grant writing team know exactly where everything goes on the document keeping the template in front as an example.
A nonprofit is always looking for ways to make it easier on themselves when writing grant proposals; filling out forms may be tedious unless you have someone guiding through each step and how it should look at this point.
Let's take a look at the template of each section one by one.
1. Cover Letter
If you want to have your grant proposal heard, the person reading it must be wowed from the start. A great way of doing this is by introducing yourself creatively and memorably. To do so, imagine if an organization was hiring someone for their position - would they hire them based on how interesting or not their cover letter sounded?
Yes, they could. Therefore, take the time to compose your cover letter to make a good first impression. It also opens up chances for the program officer to read through the entire grant proposal.
Ingredients of a Cover Letter
- Your introduction (who you are, what you do?)
- Tell them what you are applying for and why you're qualified to do so. (Use a bulleted list if possible)
- Explain the purpose of your grant proposal, including how it will benefit the organization or any other details they need to know about the project. Again, use bullet points to focus on goals. For example, the cover letter template looks like this:
The main goal is: ..............................................................................................................
A secondary goal would be....................... .......................... (explain more below).
- Clearly mention the positive effects of your project on people
- Identify the problem and its relevant solution with the depth of passion you have
You can also add anything else that's relevant like some quotes from past work experience or even qualifications such as degrees which could make you an ideal candidate for them.
The central idea of a cover letter template in grant writing is to keep it brief yet explain all the above pointers. No wonder a proposal grant could be tricky.
One of the tips is to write it towards the end when you've written the entire grant application. It filters the headlines of the project by the time you complete it in your head; now, you are ready to write the cover letter in one continuous fashion.
2. Executive Summary
The next part of the grant proposal template is the executive summary. It is another vital element that shouldn't be missed in grant writing. Most often, it is what the grant-officers read first, then decide whether to move forward with reading the rest of it or not.
The executive summary in grant writing is concise, and tells everything about your project idea - the problem you're trying to solve and why, how this will affect stakeholders (including themselves), your plan for implementation, and a timeline to see measurable results.
Not only is the project summary brief like the cover letter, but it also has its own set of descriptive points in grant proposals. It should include:
- Your nonprofit’s vision and purpose of your project
- Your organization's strengths
- The problem you are trying to solve
- Why this particular organization is the best one for carrying out your idea
- The timeline and budget of the project
- How you'll calculate success across the given timeline
- Names of any other funding resources
The first sentence starts with introducing the reason behind the grant application, followed by supporting sentences with more specific information about what will be accomplished if funding is obtained.
This grant writing section should explain why it's important to take action and how it would benefit potential stakeholders (including themselves).
Lastly, an executive summary quickly describes your project and should be 4-6 paragraphs long. You can use bullets or an infographic to make the grant application appear less intimidating with large blocks of text, which makes it easier for readers who aren't interested in reading through all the information you have provided.
Before we dive deeper, if you're interested in getting feedback from grant writing experts on a grant cover letter that you write, then check out our grant writing certification course.
3. Statement of Need
Grant proposal writing is a process that requires an organized structure with clarity of why you deserve a grant. Project budgets are often limited, and the application process can be frustrating to complete on time without making mistakes that cost you valuable grant funds.
The outputs of the program should be compelling enough for a funder to invest. You have already given them an idea of your identity and plan in your cover letter and executive summary, so in this section, try to make sure that they are interested in what benefits this project will bring them.
What is the problem in your community that you are passionate about fixing?
If you can't answer this question in one simple sentence, then we recommend researching other organizations and programs to see if there's another project or program out there already addressing the cause.
The grant program officer won't believe you if your project doesn't seem like a good use of funds. Convince them that it will make the town or country more efficient and less wasteful by giving specific numbers about how much waste they'll be able to cut from their budget, etc.
Best Practices for Statement of Need
- Keep the statement to one page or less
- Provide specific details about what the proposed project will achieve and how it is needed in your community. Add numbers if possible so that there can be a clear understanding of how much success you're hoping for.
- Think creatively. If you have an inventive idea, then make sure to back it up with reasonable arguments to explain why you need the grant funds.
- Don't be afraid to give an emotional plea if it's warranted.
- Offer a timeline and make sure that your project will have data points at regular intervals so that progress can be recorded and followed as needed. The more detailed your grant writing is for this section, the better.
Remember, the clearer your problem statement is, the more likely it will be solved. If you don't make yourself clear about what needs to change and why people should care about this project, then there's not much of a point for anyone else to get involved either.
4. Goals and Objectives
This part is next on our grant proposal template; it can be a great way to outline what you're looking for, and how to get there. It also gives the reader a chance to see your detailed logic behind why this grant is worth their time, talents, or funds.
- Even if it's not required by the funder in question, stating some goals is better than stating nothing at all. Plus they'll make sure that you have an achievable plan of action before moving forward with writing the rest of your grant application.
- Don't make promises that you can't keep. If you don't know where next month's rent will come from because you've been spending every penny on tuition, then maybe skip mentioning those new shoes until further notice?
Putting your goals and objectives in your grant proposals means getting one step closer to securing a successful grant. The more confident the program officer feels about you, the better chance you have of getting that grant.
- Keep them short and sweet. While you want to show what your project is about, don't include every detail in the world. They're just going to get bored of reading and not give it a second thought.
- Stay concise with how much money you're asking for. Remember, this grant application will go through many sets of eyes before getting approved, so they'll see everything there is down here as well unless otherwise stated by you or someone from the program's administrative staff during an interview process beforehand; which most federal grants do require even if wasn’t mentioned upfront by them
- Include any collaborations in this section of your grant proposal with other entities such as universities or government branches within your area when possible because these are great partners for collaboration and more likely to help you get the grant approved
- If your project is related to an existing one, let them know that as well. Grant writing is more about stating the facts, issues, and resolutions.
5. Methods and Strategies
The methods and strategies section of your proposal writing should outline how you’ll execute the goals. It must be clear, well-organized, and accessible.
- Give them a brief but detailed answer to why this grant would help the organization or community you're working with, as well as how it'll make a difference for those who are most affected by whatever issue you're trying to solve through this grant
- Show that there is clearly something wrong - point out any statistics, numbers, or other facts, so they understand what's at stake if things stay the same (such as disease rates)
- Risk factors: Identify potential risks associated with getting grant funding from sources outside of these types of grants. It may be worth mentioning anything else not included on their list that is relevant to your situation
- What will funding from this grant writing accomplish? Be sure to talk about the specific impact of whatever you're trying for, and how it'll change things if you get funded.
If you’ve given the reader a reason to read on, and explained why your idea is worth considering, then it's time for implementation. You should now be ready with an actionable plan of attack that will excite anyone who has anything invested in this venture.
6. Plan of Evaluation
This is the phase where you make sure that your plan is measurable. You should have quantifiable goals and objectives set aside for the program across the period of implementation.
- Tell them how are you going to measure success for your project and how often (monthly, quarterly, or yearly)? How much data would it take before a change can be considered statistically significant?
- Who has signed off on everything so far? Who else needs to sign off on this step of the process/project? Who provides resources (time, money) after approval?
- Providing a date for evaluation should be the first thing on your to-do list. Letting them know when they can expect feedback is essential in establishing good relationships and maintaining respect with those who fund you, so it's important not to put this off.
7. Budget Information
In the budget section of your grant proposal, explain to the funding organization the following points.
- Breakdown of how much money is going to be spent in the upcoming weeks or months
- How will the budget change over time, based on what you anticipate happening with your project? What expenses are variable, and which ones should remain static so they can't affect the bottom line?
- Why would this be a successful endeavor in the long term if the budget was unlimited?
- What would make this a successful program if the budget is tight, but you still have some leeway to work with?
- How will the budget proposal change based on how well your fundraising efforts go, and what are the long-term goals for grant funding at that point (or when do you expect to be done)?
To make effective grant proposals, you must organize your budget from beginning to end. When grant program officers look at the financial stability of an organization, they will judge whether or not the project can be funded based on how well-organized and formatted everything seems.
8. Organizational Background
The last section of your grant writing tells the funders about your organization in a comprehensive manner. They should know why your organization came into existence in the first place, and what you hope to accomplish in the future.
This grant writing section shares a short history of your organization, as well as any potential obstacles that it has had to overcome to come to this point (i.e., changing location, leadership changes).
If any staff members have contributed significantly to the mission statement or success of your institution, make sure they're acknowledged here. You should also include information about how many people work at your company on a full-time and part-time basis.
Funders need to know more than just why you need money - they want an idea of how much money will be required over time. It may not seem like this matters in your writing, but it can make or break your application.
You did your research and found the best grant writing template. Now, it is time for implementation to create your own effective grant proposal.
Try to devote time to each grant writing section discussed above and make sure the final product looks cohesive enough.
By keeping the above points in mind in your proposal writing, you can source a lot of money for your project whether you are part of a non-profit or a scientist seeking a research grant.
Focus more on what you know and less on what you don't. It is where the funders would exactly know what they are getting into. No matter which proposal templates you choose to use as grant proposal examples, the writing of your proposal should be more relevant to their grant and mission.
Please don't feel overwhelmed at the thought of the writing process. As long as you follow these steps, stay confident that you will write an effective piece. The purpose here is to help you write a good grant proposal or grant applications that would persuade funders to fund you any amount of money you need.
In addition, you'll find many free proposal templates in PDF form over the Internet where you can check their format, read details, and create something of your own.
If you are new to grant writing and are looking to break-in, we recommend taking our Grant Writing Certification Course, where you will learn the fundamentals of being a grant writer, how to write proposals that win grants, and how to stand out as a grant writing candidate.
Josh is the founder of Technical Writer HQ and Squibler, a writing software. He had his first job in technical writing for a video editing software company in 2014. Since then, he has written several books on software documentation, personal branding, and computer hacking. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.