Writing a Grant Proposal can be Daunting

Robin Noah

Author: Robin Noah

Executive Coaches of Orange County


Whether you do it yourself or hire a grant writer you will find that there are some common aspects to all grant proposals. Even if you are expert at writing grants it is a good idea to keep some of the basics as a check list that you can refer to as you develop the documents.  There is a variety of approaches for this type of writing and a basic framework.  

First and most critical is that the writer understands the funder’s guidelines and specific instructions regarding the presentation of certain facts; especially if it is a conditional grant.  With a conditional grant it usually means that your organization needs to raise a specific amount of money before the grant is paid.  Many grant writers rely on their check list to ensure that the proposal includes all steps necessary to give the document the edge for success.  You need to achieve flawless quality

A good way to start is to develop a map /outline for the proposal and match it against the funders guidelines – then begin the writing of the proposal.  Use language appropriate to the grant.  Not every person reading the proposal will know the “jargon” you may have used to express a thought – including acronyms.  Jargon is irritating to readers and often seems pretentious.

Be concise and concentrate on your organization’s ability to meet the need stated in your mission statement. Give a brief history of your nonprofit and give a capsule of your programs. Make sure to directly connect what you currently do and what you want to accomplish with the funding that is requested.

Often your proposal is one of many competing for the same grant so present your ideas as clearly as possible. Stick to the main points, eliminate wordiness. A short and succinct proposal will be appreciated by the reader. Give it life!

Lastly, let someone else read your proposal – have them read it out loud so you can hear and appreciate the contents. Make last minute adjustments as necessary then send it off with good wishes.