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Arkansas State University

7 Tips to Improve Your Grant Writing

A successful grant writer is the treasure of any nonprofit organization. Grant funds fuel a nonprofit’s daily work and allow the organization to achieve its goals. The skills involved in nonprofit grant writing improve through careful work, which can assist your organization with finding more grant funding. The following seven tips can help you improve your nonprofit grant writing and increase your chances of receiving the grants you apply for.

1. Refine Your List of Targeted Grants

Is your organization looking to receive government grants, foundation grants or corporate giving? Perhaps the biggest step you can take toward successfully applying for grants is making sure that you are applying in the right places to begin with. Make sure that your list of targeted grants includes ones that your organization is highly qualified for, so that you are not wasting your time writing grant proposals that will not make the first round of cuts.

2. Learn Good Research Methods

Nonprofit grant writing involves extensive research in order to flesh out the details for each section of the proposal. If you do not already have solid research skills, take the time to learn better methods of conducting and compiling the necessary information for grant proposals. You will need to research the agency or foundation giving the grant, as well as the background of your organization’s own area of work.

3. Earn an MPA in Nonprofit Management

Earning an advanced degree such as an MPA in nonprofit management can boost your grant writing skills. An MPA in nonprofit management includes coursework in grant writing that teaches you each step of the process for writing a successful grant proposal. This grant writing course often involves practical experience in writing a proposal for an actual grant, along with valuable feedback from professors and peers.

4. Develop Your Organization’s Story

Your organization has a compelling story about what it is and why it is striving toward its objectives. If you can craft that story into a riveting grant proposal that stands out in a stack of dry, boring proposals, you have a greater chance of gaining the attention of your funding source and winning the grant. The beautiful thing about developing your story is that once you have written it, you can use it again and again in future grant proposals or other marketing materials.

5. Understand Your Budget

Agencies and foundations like to see that nonprofits have a strategic plan for use of the funding they receive. Nonprofit grant writing that includes a detailed, specific budget with realistic expectations has a greater chance of receiving funding. Take the time to develop a reasonable budget and to include as much detail as possible in your grant proposal.

6. Follow Instructions

It might seem like an obvious statement, but you must follow instructions when writing grant proposals. If you are applying for a relatively competitive grant, you need to take great care in including every necessary component of the grant proposal. Sometimes the person reading the proposals will weed out applicants based on seemingly trivial details, such as omitting the right cover page or exceeding designated word counts. You want to make sure your proposal makes the cut not only for content but also for adherence to instructions.

7. Leverage Unsuccessful Applications Into Successes

A “no” today does not have to mean a complete failure for your grant proposal. Take the time to figure out why your proposal did not succeed. If possible, reach out to the decision-makers and ask for feedback on what would have improved your chances for receiving funding. You can then use that information to apply for the same grant a second time or for a similar grant from a different source.

Learn more about the Arkansas State University online MPA program.


Nonprofit Hub: Finding Your Perfect Love: Grant Writing Tips for Nonprofit Organizations Nonprofit Fundraising: Twelve Quick Tips for Better Grant Writing

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