Found a grant your nonprofit organization might qualify for? This guide will help you write a "master proposal."
A "master proposal" includes all the information you may need to apply for a grant. Every foundation will have different instructions. Make sure you follow them. A primary reason grant proposals are not accepted is because instructions were not followed.
Be discriminating about to whom you send a grant proposal. Having a master proposal ready will make it easier and faster to organize everything, but it should not be the only format an organization uses. Many foundations have moved to an online format that will ask specific questions about the goals and mission of your organization.
The first part of the narrative should explain why your organization/program is needed. Ask yourself these questions when writing this portion.
The use of reliable data in your need/narrative statement is imperative to a good argument. Use reliable sources for your data. These sites provide free and respected data:
A project description should be as detailed as possible. You can include:
Funders understand that plans may change, but expect the original proposal to remain consistent. Be committed to your original proposal.
Include performance measurement methodology in your project description. Also include how the program will sustain itself. Many funders require quarterly reports; use these as a period assessment guide. Before that, however, you need to decide what data you need to track. Write an evaluation plan for your proposal and use it as a guide from the beginning.
Obtaining relevant quantitative data for the evaluation can be difficult. For instance, if your organization is trying to "teach good home ownership skills," what methods of data collection will you use? Does it already exist elsewhere? Qualitative analysis may be useful in this situation. Design a survey with open-ended questions, for instance.
The following sites are useful for evaluation planning:
Funders want your organization to succeed long after their investment. Be sure the organization or program description demonstrates sustainable fiscal capacity and self-sufficiency. List other funding sources, if you have them. Funders are not competing with each other; they are comfortable collaborating with industry "friends" who back the same organizations.
Let funders know why you are uniquely qualified to carry out your actions. Items to include might be:
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