How to Write a Grant Proposal

Getting funding for a project isn’t easy. Everyone who has capital has a thousand options on where to spend it, and it seems every project is equally deserving. How can you help yours stand out and win the funding when there are so many competitors? It boils down to having a great grant proposal. 

When you put together a document that not only isn’t missing any data but helps highlight the many benefits of your initiative, you’ll have a great chance at winning funding.

How do you write a great grant proposal? It’s a long process and every detail matters, but when you take it step-by-step you’ll be finished in no time. Here’s what you need to know.

Understand What a Grant Will Do

Usually a grant isn’t “free money,” to be used however you please. Instead, you’ll be given funds to solve a targeted problem for a limited amount of time. You may need to turn in specific deliverable results to receive full funding or to renew the grant.

As a result, the first step before you begin your proposal is to define what problem you’re trying to solve. Be sure to involve all of the stakeholders who have an interest in the grant and its outcome. Be very clear about what problem you’re aiming at, what funds you need, and how you will use them.

If you don’t show a tangible result that will come from the funding, you’ll be less likely to receive the grant.


Start With the Need Statement

As you look at how to write a grant proposal, you’ll notice that you need to turn in several documents, including a cover letter, executive summary, and more. However, you don’t write them in order. Often the first documents in your proposal summarize the rest of the information, so you need to finish the body of the grant proposal first.

The statement of need is the crux of your entire proposal, so start there. The purpose of the need statement is to convince the funder that you have a specific, measurable, and essential need for the grant money.

Remember that the grant funder won’t know nearly as much as you do about the problem, so don’t gloss over details or assume anything. Use your expertise to make the problem easy to understand. 

Explain why the issue is vital and what research you did to learn about possible solutions.

Goals and Objectives

After you have stated the need, you then explain what your organization plans to do about the problem. Share what you hope to accomplish and the specific results you expect to achieve. 

You’ll want your goals and objectives to be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Based. For instance, you don’t want to say, “Clean the local lake.” Instead, it should be, “Reduce the measured levels of bacteria in the local lake from X to Y in the next 12 months.” 

As you can see, the second statement tells the grant funder a lot more about what you’re trying to do and helps them get a good understanding of how you’ll use the grant funds.


Methods and Strategies

The next step in how to write a grant is to describe how you plan to achieve your goals. What technologies are you going to develop or use? What steps will you take, who will need to be involved, and how will everything be coordinated?

The methods and strategies section gives the grant funder confidence that you can carry out your aims and that if you had the funds, you’d achieve the objectives listed in the previous section.


Related: How to Write a Thesis Proposal



Finally, how will you evaluate the success of your efforts? For something like lake bacterium, you can explain the testing methods you will use. For other objectives, the measurement can be more challenging. 

For instance, in a business you might need to measure employee retention, morale, or career achievement to show that you’re meeting your goals. If you failed to make your objectives SMART, you’ll find out when you try to describe how you’ll measure your success.

Budget and Other Funding

The grant funder will want to know exactly how you’ll use the grant budget, and this portion of the grant proposal is where you share those details. You can also let the funder know if anyone else is on board with providing money for the project.

Many grant providers don’t want to be the only one you’re relying on to complete the project. Having other grants or source of funds available shows not only that you’re resourceful, but it lends credibility to your project as well.


Summaries and Other Documents

Finally, you’ll finish your grant proposal with several summary documents. You’ll need an executive summary that gives an at-a-glance overview of all the details of the proposal. You’ll also write a cover letter that introduces your project to the grant funder.

The cover letter is what the grant provider reads first, so take advantage of the opportunity to connect with them and help them genuinely care about the problem that you are solving.

Near the end of the proposal, give some information about your company, your history, and your mission. Help the funder understand that your organization is trustworthy and will follow through on the promises in the proposal.

You may also need to include a list of your board of directors, proof of tax-exempt status (if that is a requirement), and other company information. The required information should be listed in the grant announcement – don’t miss any of the details or you could be disqualified.


Share Documents Safely With Formrly

Most grant proposals are a collaborative effort, and it’s important to have a secure and easy-to-use system for sharing documents among your team members. Formrly makes it easy to send documents, request signatures, make comments, and much more.

When you create a professional grant proposal that shows your vision is aligned with the organization giving the grant, you’ll stand out from others competing for the funds. Formrly can help you collaborate and create final documents that wow the decision makers. Get started today and get the funds you need for your project.


Related: How to Send and Track a Secure PDF With Formrly