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How to Write a Successful Grant Proposal

Updated on April 3, 2011

You Need Funding

Anyone who has started a nonprofit or been affiliated with a nonprofit knows that funding is the key to the longevity of your nonprofit. While you may have a good idea on how to help people and give back to your community, you will need funding to implement many of your long-term ideas and create sustainability for your nonprofit.

Practice Makes Perfect

New nonprofits may have a hard time getting funding just simply because of their newness. Funders like to see experience, longevity, and a history of work before shelling out the big bucks. However, you still need to write as many proposals as possible to sharpen your grant proposal writing skills and get on the radar of these funders. So, these initial months are useful for the practice.

Simple Google searches for nonprofit funding opportunities related to your mission and interests should generate you a good list of proposals to write. There is no need for new nonprofits to pay for any special grant directories or paid search engines. Open funding opportunities and corporate opportunities maintain free listings on the Internet. “Invitation only” opportunities will eventually come with time, as your organization, work and mission gets out into a wider audience through your website and social networking sites.

Tips for a Fundable Grant Proposal

  • 1. Read the grant opportunity carefully to ensure that it is a fit for your organizational mission. Only apply for those opportunities that are a fit for your work.
  • 2. Use the language of the funding agency to illustrate that you understand the opportunity. If the grant states that funding is given to organizations and projects that have funds to leverage, than you have to state clearly how you have leveraged funds by using the word “leverage.” Make it clear that you are what the foundation is seeking.
  • 3. Make sure to answer all the questions but do so in a way that emphasizes your strengths. A grant proposal is a time to brag on your organization and your accomplishments.
  • 4. Be as specific as possible about your goals. Make sure to include measurable benchmarks that you can achieve.
  • 5. Distinguish your organization by including innovate and unique strategies that characterize your organization. Stand out on your strategies and methods. State how your methods bring about the best results. 
  • 6. Include articles, photos, and media with the proposal if provided the opportunity. Such a visual adds a personal touch to your work.
  • 7. Follow all directions on submission and double check that you have completed and included all required information. Pay attention and follow the deadlines.
  • 8. Do not give up. Keep writing. Keep submitting. Keep doing your good work.

These are the tips that I use that have worked for me over the last 13 years. I hope they may be helpful to you. Good luck.


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    • truthfornow profile imageAUTHOR

      Marie Hurt 

      8 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      Thanks so much hubpagers. I hope to be passing on more tips in the future. Thanks for reading and for commenting.

    • Chatkath profile image


      8 years ago from California

      Wow truthfornow, this must be divine intervention, so many people have told me to learn how to do this for several different things that I am involved in so this will really come in handy!

      Thanks! Bookmarked and rated up

    • J.S.Matthew profile image

      JS Matthew 

      8 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      This is very useful information. A friend of mine who works for a non-profit asked me if I would draft a proposal for him. Now I have some direction! Thanks.


    • truthfornow profile imageAUTHOR

      Marie Hurt 

      8 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      Thank you for your comments. I learned all this from trial and error, so I thought I would share with others.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      8 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      This is helpful information that I wish I'd known a few years back when I tried to write a grant funding request. I'm bookmarking this hub in case the need arises again. Thanks for these clear, detailed instructions.


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