January 18, 2013

12 Grantwriting Tips & Tricks

Yesterday, we hosted a grantwriting workshop to help the community learn how to develop an effective grant proposal. Here are a few highlights from Kendra Kempf, SCF’s program officer:


1. Honesty is always the best policy. Don’t risk your credibility by trying to “spin” parts of your application or proposal


2. Provide supporting research for the immediate & surrounding areas that will be impacted by your program or project. 


3. Get to the point. Flowery dialogue is not impressive. Clear, concise writing is key to a great grant proposal. 


4. Don’t recreate the wheel. Pull information from previous applications and organization descriptions to fit within the guidelines of the grant application.


5. Format the grant proposal to fit the grant requirements.


6. Please, follow directions. As simple as it sounds, many people miss opportunities because they did not follow the provided guidelines. Grant applications vary from organization to organization and even from grant to grant within an organization. Follow the directions for what information needs to be provided and how it needs to be submitted and you are one step closer to receiving a grant.


7. Just because you fit the criteria for turning in a grant application, it doesn’t mean you fit within the culture of the organization who is giving the grant. Grantmakers vary greatly and are looking to make the biggest impact with their dollars. 


8. Research the organization that provides the grant. Most websites and annual reports will provide information about previous grants awarded, the amounts granted, history of the organization and more.


9. Less can be best. Additional supporting documents can be critical to crediting your request for dollars. However, no more than two quality letters of support need to be attached for the Saginaw Community Foundation’s grant applications. Also, don’t attach organization newsletters, flyers or articles unless it is absolutely critical to the project discussed in your application.


10. Always look for FAQ pages to get quick, easy answers to questions. However, if the information available on the website doesn’t answer your questions, contact a human to get some clarity.


11. Don’t hastily submit anything less than your best. You want to leave a great first impression and help sell your idea to the grant committee.


12. Have a truthful friend read your application to see if it makes sense. Sometimes when we get so far into a project we forget that what we perceive as obvious is not so obvious to someone unfamiliar with the topic.


What have you learned about grantwriting? Do you have any tips, tricks or secrets to share?