No need to beg grant funders for your grant proposal to be approved

Ever feel like these guys? No need to beg, just do the right things.

by Janine Vanderburg

In my years at Joining Vision and Action, I’ve worked with numerous funders and served as a funder reviewing grant proposals so know exactly how to make sure grant funders approve your proposal.

Yes, grant funders do all of these in reviewing your proposals:

  • Check your website to see if the program description in your proposal matches your website. It’s never a good idea to stretch your program description to match a grant funder’s interest areas. This may be tempting, because money is on the line, but a better solution is to look for funders that are a strong match with your actual work instead.
  • Pay attention when you copied and pasted directly from another proposal. Worst case scenario is that you’ve copied and pasted Funder A’s name in a proposal to Funder B (AAACK!). Be careful to read through your proposal, or better yet, have someone else read it to get a second set of eyes.
  • Read the notes in your audit to check for red flags or audit notes explaining any red flags that might be elsewhere in your financial statement. Be sure you read them too and offer additional explanation in the cover to the financials if needed.
  • Use their hearts. Funders are moved by the compelling stories of those who have benefitted from your services. Statistics are important of course, but don’t forget to inject emotion into your proposals. Just don’t go overboard, balance is important.
  • Feel bad when they have to turn down good projects. There are always more high quality grant proposals than funding available in any given round, and grant funders usually have to turn down requests that they feel genuinely passionate about. Do ask politely for feedback if you are turned down, but don’t berate the funder if it doesn’t have time to provide feedback or if the organization discourages feedback. Being graceful and simply saying thank you is the best option. There is always the next round.

Are you ready to get off the grants treadmill and start earning some unrestricted income? Social Enterprise Basecamp will help you take a social enterprise concept to market in just 5 days. 

JVA can also help you submit your 2016 grant proposals. If they need a refresh, join us at Write a Grant in a Day©, where you’ll literally write a great first draft of your grant proposal.