In recent years, local communities have received many opportunities to attract additional resources for their development. One of these opportunities is to grant funding for the implementation of certain socially useful ideas. We hope that most people who read this material have already had a chance to work with such a tool and feel its usefulness.
This guide will give some tips on properly drafting a grant proposal, which will be positively received by financial institutions. Moreover, if you construct a project correctly and logically, it will be easier for you to carry it out with donor funding even at its conceptualization stage. We will provide advice on preparing the main sections, which usually contain project applications. We will look at what information is useful to include in these sections and present it logically. You will also learn about the grant proposal template.
Various legal entities can apply for grant competitions. We advise you to analyze each entry in detail to understand which applicants are eligible. The most common application for all grant competitions is a public association. Most of the material's recommendations relate to exactly this organizational and legal form of a legal entity. The submission of applications from other persons may have its characteristics, in particular - in terms of the package of documents, it must additionally be sent to the competition.
Table Of Contents:
- What Is Grant Proposal?
- Essential Components of a Good Grant Proposal
- Before You Start Writing
- Writing Your Proposal
- Example of Effective Grant Proposal Template
What Is Grant Proposal?
A grant proposal is one of the sources for the development of your work. The concept of "grant" is understood as gratuitous assistance in monetary or another form, provided by citizens and legal entities to an enterprise, organization, institution, initiative group, or individual to implement the declared work in a particular field of activity.
As a rule, grants are provided on a competitive basis and on terms that determine the grantors. Funds or property are provided free of charge and without the return of donors. Thanks to grants, non-profit projects are supported, necessary for society or a specific territorial community, organization, or institution.
Grants can support activities that do not receive sufficient budget funding. In other words, grant financing can help solve many fundamental issues of developing territories, educational, medical, and sports facilities. There is usually not enough funds in local budgets.
Essential Components of a Good Grant Proposal
The effective grant must be:
- clear and concise - contain precise descriptions of the costs for which funding is needed. As well as a description of the work that will be performed by your organization;
- reliable - contain factual materials: tables, if necessary, diagrams, and other materials. Previous research may be needed to assess the needs, as well as the possible attitudes of people towards what your organization offers;
- necessary - both for your organization and for solving the problem that this project is aimed at. The long-term impact of the work can be an additional attractive factor;
- practical - the result of the work must bring significant public benefit;
- realistic - the proposed work must be feasible. It is necessary to assess the resources available, as well as the extent to which the planned activities respond to them;
- economic - to have a high result at a low cost.
Now that you know the grant writing details let's look at the main elements together.
When applying, the list of requested documents may require a resume of both the principal investigator and the research team members. Below, you will find some helpful resume writing guidelines:
- The summary should be in a clear structure, and the information should be easy to read.
- Write in the first person; do not use the words "applicant" or "we."
- Be sure to fill in all sections.
- Be sure to indicate which associations you are members of.
- List all your strengths, provide some facts. For example: "Due to the results of my research in the framework of my Ph.D. work, I was invited as a lecturer to a conference in the field of medicine."
- Show a good balance between quantity and quality. For example, you shouldn't list countless publications in unknown scientific journals to prove that your work is worth attention.
- Provide only up-to-date information within the framework of this work or specified resume requirements.
- It is unnecessary to describe the previous work experience in detail to indicate the position and duties performed.
Introduction to The Applicant
In this part, you need to represent the organization that needs a grand and proves that you can be trusted. Pay particular attention to the trust part. This means that you need to write only truthful information because it depends on whether you receive funding. A person who is tricked into getting money does not deserve a grant. Also, describe the history of the organization and introduce you to the leaders.
The Need/The Problem
No grant is complete without describing the problem. Typically, grant proposals have a problem statement section to highlight this information. The problem situation you discovered should reflect the state of affairs, does not satisfy your organization, in particular, and some part of the residents of the district or members of the united community.
If you set about solving a problem, you must clearly understand its nature, content, and other meaningful issues. After all, you are planning to offer one solution to the existing problem, and it must be effective. The existence of the problem can be confirmed by analytical and statistical data, photos, and videos.
If you arrange them properly, with the given examples that confirm the problem posed, your project will not look unfounded. The larger you describe the problem, the more coverage of people who suffer from this problem.
Please note that when posing a problem, it is essential not to be confused with solving the problem with the project activity. For example, you think that your community's problem is that there are bike paths within a specific route. However, the lack of a bike path itself is not a problem. The problem arises if a particular way is popular with cyclists, but it is not properly equipped.
The Objectives And Outcomes
The next step in the project is to define its purpose - you define the state of affairs that you would like to achieve by implementing your work. The goal of the project is a very concise but critical section. This section must be organically linked to all other sections, which is their generalization. It is equally essential that your project's purpose aligns with the donor's priorities as defined in the grants' call.
When comparing the problems you posed earlier and the project's goal, it is best to refer to a specific achievable goal, by this indicator, how the project's purpose was or was not achieved by you. The results of your work will be assessed.
Let's move on to the next section of the project application - the project results' description. At first glance, there is nothing complicated in determining the results of a project. However, already at the stage of work conceptualization, you should be aware of what changes should occur in society due to your project's implementation. The results of the project should prove that you have achieved your goal and completed the task of the work. These are the indicators by which you propose to evaluate your work.
Think in advance how you will cover such sections of the application:
- geography of the project;
- the main target groups to which the project is directed;
- the number and functions of employees involved in the project;
- writing of positive changes that will occur as a result of the implementation of the project upon its completion and in the long term;
- information about the organizations participating in the project financing.
We would especially like to dwell on such an important point as a phased plan for implementing the work. You need to consistently list the project's main activities with quantitative indicators and periods of their implementation.
For example, there is such a stage in your plan: the publication of a methodological manual. It can be reflected step by step - collecting materials, working in archives, photographing, creating a group of authors, presenting the manual, distributing system. Remember! A project is a phased action plan for which funding is requested. The work must be very well thought out.
The next section typical for project applications is the "Capacity" section. These are specific steps and solutions that you propose to solve a problem and achieve the project's goal.
It is also necessary to indicate you are professionals for the implementation of the work. Also, note whether the team will handle it precisely on time.
An assessment of your project is needed for two reasons. First, you should evaluate the degree of efficiency of the work as a whole to understand how far you have achieved the set goals. Second, an assessment can be conducted to obtain information about the progress of the work. This is necessary so that you can adjust the work directly during execution.
If you find it challenging to determine which criteria are best to evaluate your research proposal, review the Goals and Objectives again. They are probably not specific enough. There is a subjective and objective assessment.
Subjective evaluations usually tell us what people think about the program but rarely evaluate their work's specific results. One way to achieve a more objective and often more professional assessment is to ask an outside organization to assess you. Sometimes such an organization can propose an evaluation plan itself, which can be presented to the sponsor as part of your application. This will not only provide a more objective assessment but also increase the level of trust in you.
It is essential to build the evaluation plan into the application and prepare to evaluate the work from the start. It isn't easy to start evaluating a project when it is close to completion because, at that moment, some valuable data about the project's progress may already be missed.
The most important section of the project application is "Budget." To efficiently and competently fill the project's financial part, you must draw up a "Timetable," which will help us plan step by step both in implementing the work and the costs required at each stage.
What can a schedule reflect or include? The plan should show how the activities will be implemented, the logical sequence, and its interdependence. Having a timetable, you can start planning the costs of the work and make an estimate. When drawing up a project estimate, the resources required to complete the project should be allocated in a special tabular form according to cost categories, units of measure, the cost of each unit, and the total number of units required for the entire project.
When drawing up a budget, do not forget that you will need to draw up financial statements sooner or later. As a rule, reporting is provided both during the implementation of the work and after its completion. In this matter, a qualified plan for distributing finances by items of expenditure and time will be a good helper for you.
Before You Start Writing
There are many pitfalls in the grant application. Therefore, before writing an application, follow a few steps.
Identify Your Needs And Focus
Some applicants are convinced that their chances will increase if they are guided, by the interests and goals of the grantor, and only then by their own. Set a course for equal cooperation. Define your own goals and needs and try to align them with the interests of the foundation.
First, let's define the scope of the problem you want to solve. Ask yourself questions: what are the needs of society, social groups? Are these problems real? How can they be confirmed, proven? How will the decision affect society? It will take time to find answers to these questions.
You will need to meet with representatives of international organizations, ministries, visit the university library and the main statistical library of the capital, and the support center for the public, non-profit organizations. This is where you can find the information you need about the problems and needs of society.
Finding Prospective Grants And Funding Agencies
The most common source of additional resources for non-profit organizations and socially significant projects are charitable foundations, which, in turn, assist in the form of grants. We want to draw your attention to the most popular organization.
International Community The Awesome Foundation was founded in Boston in 2009. Its mission is to support socially significant projects in the field of culture. Every month, The Awesome Foundation donates a thousand dollars to the work that the foundation liked the most. Without any commitment from those who came up with the idea. To participate and win a grant, the applicant must apply to the website.
Before you apply to a foundation, you must understand and clearly define who you are, what you want to achieve, and for whom. Knowing who you are and what you want to accomplish, you can start exploring the foundations whose interests match yours. You can visit such sites as "Sources of information about funds" and in the section "Financial resources on the Internet" for those who use e-mail. At the indicated addresses, you can find various catalogs of funds.
Writing Your Proposal
There are several factors to consider when writing a proposal. Pay attention to two categories that you cannot do without.
Analysis of the target audience is required at all stages of the preparation of a grant application. Before launching, you need to study the niche and understand users' needs, and in the future, resort to web analytics tools to adjust the work. The target audience is people who are interested in your work. Therefore, before creating a work, make sure that your ideas are supported by many.
Audience analysis is carried out according to 4 basic principles:
- Geographic. Depending on the project's scale, the market is divided by countries, regions, cities, districts, and streets.
- Demographic. Age, gender, religion, family - based on these data, one can conclude the needs.
- Socio-economic. Education, income level, housing conditions.
- Psychographic. Includes social status, life principles, and lifestyle.
The Grant Commission will read and evaluate many different applications. Avoid rhetorical questions and difficult sentences. Keep your style fresh and your phrases simple and accessible. Always choose clarity and conciseness, be direct. Project proposals are usually short, so there is no extra room for a detailed story. No verbosity. Focus. This process of refining your proposal may take several rounds, so start early to meet the deadline.
Avoid being fuzzy. Your proposal should contain specific ideas and ways to achieve specific results. For example, write, "a group of people will benefit," rather indicate: "1000 young people will ride on bike paths." Be realistic. A successful bid is not about changing the whole world in one fell swoop. Rather, it is a work that must achieve its stated goals within a set time frame. In fact, not only will you achieve your goals, the donor, together with you, but you will also be able to evaluate the results according to clear steps and parameters.
Do not overload the application with statistics. "Paint" compelling portraits and gripping life stories. This will allow the donor to understand the level of your interaction with the local community. If the proposal allows, add specific examples to illustrate what problems you want to solve and who the people in your target group are.
Example of Effective Grant Proposal Template
Now that you have the instructions take a look at the grant proposal sample:
The name of the project, "Forest comfort."
The direction of work on the project - Environmental protection. Grant applicant - Public organization "Forester." The head of the organization, full name, contact phones. Project manager, full name, contact phones. The requested amount is $ 10,000. The total project budget is $ 15,000. Terms of project implementation - 01.20.21 - 05.20.21 The geography of the project is Montana, Wyoming, Idaho.
Brief content of the project: the project aims to strengthen the children's and volunteer Ecological Movement by stimulating the development and dissemination of a system of research, field, and nature conservation ecological and educational activities. Project goal: strengthening the volunteer, youth environmental movement, and active interaction of eco-teams. Problem: lack of coherent ecological, educational activities to form environmental thinking and children and adolescents' environmental culture.
Project objectives: to conduct an environmental competition to identify the best eco-group on the issues of activity in practical matters of helping nature, ecological culture, creative abilities of ecological design. The target audience of the project: teachers, students of higher and secondary educational institutions, working youth, high school students. Expected results of the project: closer relations will be established with education departments, schools, and eco-organizations of the region for further cooperation in implementing joint environmental, educational, and nature conservation measures.