Nonprofit Grant Writing 101: Here’s How to Start | CharityHowTo


Nonprofit Grant Writing 101: So You Want to Write a Grant? Here’s How to Get Started! 

It’s one of the biggest ways to secure funding for your nonprofit projects. And no, we’re not talking about reaching out to donors. 

We’re talking about nonprofit grant writing in this article! 

If you’re looking to start writing nonprofit grant proposals, then get ready – we’re giving you the basics on how to get started. 

Class is in session! 


What Are Nonprofit Grants? 

A nonprofit grant is a financial contribution given to a nonprofit organization to help them with their mission or with smaller nonprofit projects within one, overall mission. 

Now, we know. That sounds a lot like reaching out to donors and asking for monetary contributions. 

But there is a difference! Nonprofit grants are usually given from large foundations, corporations, or even government agencies. They’re often large sums of money to help you with your nonprofit projects so you can make the desired difference your organization is striving for. 

And, here’s one of the big tickets! Your organization can’t secure nonprofit grants just by posting on social media or sending out a fundraising email

Your nonprofit needs to submit a nonprofit grant proposal to grantmakers to be considered as a recipient. 


What Is a Grant Proposal? 

A nonprofit grant proposal is the official request from your nonprofit to a grantmaker or a funder to partner together. 

Usually, the grant proposal is an appeal for funds to help your organization with whatever it is you need help with. That does depend on the type of nonprofit grant your organization is applying for! 

Think of a grant proposal as a persuasive, nonprofit resume that you submit to grantmakers. And rather than “getting hired,” your proposal helps your organization secure funding that can help your nonprofit make incredible progress in your mission! 


What Are the Different Types of Grants Your Nonprofit Can Apply For? 

Many corporations, organizations, foundations, and government agencies create grant funds based on specific causes. 

And there are all kinds of grants your nonprofit can apply for. Before you start applying to any and all grants, your nonprofit grant writing team needs to make sure everyone’s on the same page for the type of grant you need: 

The most common types of nonprofit grants are: 


1. Capital Support Grants: 

You may see these types of grants called “capital campaigns.” Just know they mean the same thing! 

These are the kinds of grants your nonprofit needs if the organization needs building construction, purchasing land, remodeling, or renovations. 


2. Operating Support:

There are plenty of day-to-day tasks and operations that make a nonprofit go ‘round. And a lot of the time, nonprofits rely on funding to make sure those things get done. 

That’s where operating support grants come into play! You can also find grants under “unrestricted funding.” Those kinds of grants can also go towards operational support. 


3. Program Development:

If your nonprofit has specific needs, then you may need to find a program development nonprofit grant. 

For example, if you need funding so you can finally upgrade your nonprofit CRM system, then you may want to look for technology grants

Or maybe your nonprofit works to provide education to children in developing nations. You might decide to search for a nonprofit grant that funds those types of programs! 


Nonprofit Grant Writing 101: The Anatomy of a Compelling Grant Proposal

Nonprofit grant writing has come down to a science. That’s because plenty of grant writers have written so many proposals that they know what (usually) works. 

Grantmakers and funders need enough information to make the best decision on which nonprofit should receive funding. 

More often than not, a nonprofit grant proposal will have these following components (oh, and you can use this as your grant proposal outline): 


1. Cover Letter: 

Think of your cover letter for a nonprofit grant proposal the same as you would a job resume. 

Your cover letter is often the first impression you give a grantmaker. So you need to give them just the gist of what your entire nonprofit grant proposal is all about. 

In your cover letter, be sure to address: 

  • Your nonprofit organization and its mission
  • A brief description of your organization’s plans 
  • How your funder’s requirements fit in with your plans
  • The positive difference your nonprofit will make with the funding

It sounds like a lot to include. But the key part of your cover letter is keeping it super brief and to the point. You’ll have time to go into detail within the main body of your nonprofit grant proposal! 


2. Executive Summary: 

Think of your executive summary as the nonprofit grant proposal’s highlight reel. You want the grantmakers to get a broad overview of everything that’s included in your grant proposal. 

But unlike your cover letter, this should be longer and give a little more detail. While your cover letter is the first handshake, your executive summary is the first conversation. 

Be sure to hit these three major points: 

  • How the nonprofit program is necessary or important to the cause
  • How your nonprofit has a track record and the experience (plus the plans!) to accomplish the program’s goals
  • How your plans are connected to the grantmaker’s interests and goals

And while you should plan on your executive summary hitting 4-6 paragraphs in length, always remember to break up large chunks of text with bullet points. That will keep your reader engaged! 


3. Statement of Need: 

Here’s where we start to get into details. With your cover letter and your executive summary, the grantmaker now has a sense of what your nonprofit does and what your intent is. 

But, it’s time to delve more into the need for funding. 

This is where you’ll discuss the problem your community or your cause is facing. And you’ll also talk about how your nonprofit program will help this problem. 

It’s important to know that, for your grantmakers, awarding a nonprofit a grant is an investment. And they want to know that their investment is going to be a good one. 

So you need to showcase that your nonprofit program has a problem to solve. In your statement of need, focus on: 

  • Clearly defining the problem your nonprofit program is addressing. If it’s confusing, the grantmakers won’t have trust in it. 
  • Showcasing the urgency of your nonprofit’s help. Don’t wander too deep into the pessimism weeds, but do share why your nonprofit needs to act sooner rather than later. 
  • Sharing a history of the problem. Give them some background on what’s been going on with your cause. 
  • Adding in statistics where possible. Numbers and data show you’ve done your research. And it makes the urgency more real. 


4. Goals and/or Objectives for the Grant:

The next order of business for nonprofit grant writing is to give the big picture goals. If your nonprofit receives the grant funding, what’s the objective of your organization? 

Use your statement of need to help you determine your goals. Is there a clear-cut solution to the problem at hand?  

Be realistic in your goal-setting, and give realistic timelines for achieving those outcomes. And use quantifiable goals when you can! 


5. Methods and Strategies:

This is where you’ll wade into deeper waters of how you’re going to achieve the goals and objectives you laid out before. 

Your methods and strategies section is the main part of your nonprofit grant writing journey. This is where you’ll need to offer the clearest picture with the most details, so be prepared for it to be the longest part of the entire proposal. 

As we mentioned earlier, for your grantmakers, a grant is an investment opportunity. And while everything before this section should sound wonderful, this is the part where it all comes together. And where the grantmakers determine whether or not the investment is worth the cost. 

So, to nail this part of your nonprofit grant proposal, use these tips: 

  • Don’t be afraid to use all kinds of explanation tools. That might mean adding in visual graphics, detailed explanations, and imagery where necessary. 
  • If there are multiple people involved, explain each of their roles. 
  • Explain any digital software, technology, tools, or platforms you’re going to use in your program. Tell them what it is and what it does to help the nonprofit reach its goals. 
  • Tell them how your nonprofit is going to keep all of your investors (grantmakers, funders, donors, stakeholders) involved and up-to-date on the process. 
  • Describe any potential setbacks or problems and how your nonprofit plans to address them. 

The whole purpose of this section is to inform them, not only of the plan, but to showcase that you have a plan! 


6. Evaluation Plan: 

We’ve always said that nonprofits need to run on data and analytics. And grantmakers agree! 

When it comes to how to write a grant proposal for a nonprofit, you can’t leave this section out. Because grantmakers need to know how you’re going to measure your success. 

Again, this ties into the fact that, for funders, a grant is an investment opportunity. And they want to make sure that their investment is worthwhile! 

So tell the readers:

  • What success looks like for the nonprofit program
  • How your team plans to evaluate and measure success as the program continues. Do you have weekly or monthly meetings to discuss? 
  • The quantifiable data your team will measure to indicate success

7. Budget Projections: 

The whole purpose is to receive funding for the program. And the program is reliant on the methods and strategies you’ve already indicated. 

So, for this portion of the grant proposal, you need to lay out a reasonable and sustainable budget projection for the program. 

That often includes things like: 

  • Travel costs
  • Personnel costs
  • Equipment and supplies cost
  • Overhead costs
  • Any fringe benefits for staff

These budget projections, especially when they’re laid out in an easy-to-read format, can help your grantmaker determine whether the funding is doable. 


8. Nonprofit Information:

The last part of the grant proposal outline is more about your nonprofit organization. You’ve briefly mentioned information about your nonprofit, but now’s the time to give more detail. 

In this section, be sure to include: 

  • The history of your nonprofit. Don’t go into too much detail. Keep it relatively short! 
  • A list of your nonprofit’s major programs and initiatives. Give details about how those went for your organization. Share your successes so they get an understanding of how you’ve managed programs and other grants in the past! 
  • Biographies of your nonprofit’s founders, leaders, and any staff who are involved with this program.


We know nonprofit grant writing can feel intimidating and overwhelming. But we’re here to help take the overwhelm out of the picture! 

If you’re ready for the next step, watch our free training on how to write a grant proposal for nonprofits below:



So You Want to Write a Grant? How to Get Started


Bring us today. I'm thrilled to be with you so that we can talk about grants and what it is that you'd like to accomplish with grants, what grants can do for you. I love, literally, all things grants. There's a little bit about me here in my background on the screen right now, so you can get a chance to understand just a tiny bit about me and why it is that I'm so passionate about what grant funding can do in communities.


Absolutely love it. So.


oh, there you go. Now, you can see me? Hi, I'm Diane.


And I have spent my entire career in the Grant Space, first as a grantmaker and then as a grant seeker.


Grants can do such amazing things, but there is no such thing as a free grant. Absolutely not. So today I want to make sure that we're covering some of the basics to help you think about where and how your organization could use grants to achieve your mission. And your vision is: Adriana said when we got started when there are so many people on the line. It's really hard to promise that I'll answer all of the questions you might bring to this session.


We are able to do that in our premium webinars, but a nice free one.


So many questions, right?


But, if I don't get to your question today, please feel free to reach out, whether it's on Twitter, or maybe it's LinkedIn, or even Instagram, whatever, wherever you are, wherever you want to ask questions, please do feel free to reach out. That one I can do at a slowly a slower pace over the next few hours, or even the next few days.


So, as we think about our time together today, small but mighty, so we're going to cover what grant funding can do for your organization, We'll make sure you understand what grant funding can't do for your organization. And I'll share some specific tips and suggestions on how to make the grant writing process successful for your organization. So let's begin with that.


The good, is what hands and grants do for your organization.


They're not free money. There's no such thing.


They all require work and effort on your part, and some form of accountability, but that being said, grant revenue can be amazing.


Or helping to launch a new program, something that, if not for the grant funding, you might not have had the opportunity to secure. So that absolutely is something that grants can do for you.


You can also say that grant funding, it can help you leverage other support.


So what I mean by that is that you might say, Well, I'm asking for a grant for $5000, but the program actually costs like $50,000, or even just like 15, it costs more than what you might be getting from a grantmaker.


But because this grantmaker gives me that grant, awards me the grant, now I can go to the Community Foundation, and they'll match it. Or now I can use that grant and leverage it for enchain volunteer dollars. Or now, I can ask individuals in my community to provide support because we have this grant.


So grant revenue can be the impetus, it can be what triggers these available dollars in terms of leverage from other areas of your community.


Grant revenue is often the tie that binds.


It is often the reason that many collaborative organizations, we'll come together for the first time and say, No, could we sit down?


There's a large federal grant application, or there's a state application, or there's this city application, or there's this big foundation grant.


But could we sit down and talk about what it would look like for us to work together, And could we collaboratively apply for this grant?


That's really common. It shouldn't be the only reason that you consider collaborating with someone. There should be other natural reasons why the organization is a good fit for you, your goal, and your mission.


But the grants for nonprofits can often be a trigger for why you might first sit down. And that's OK, that's a good thing.


But if that's what grants can do, we have to talk about what grants can not do: grants.


They are not quick revenue.


They are not going to fix like this, A budget deficit, they're not going to fix a need for payroll tomorrow, or next month, or even in 3 or 4 months.


Grants are slow money, Really slow money, like think six months and beyond SLO money.


I'm such a Debbie Downer. But I need to give you the reality check here for what grants can do the good and what grants can't do the reality check?


Grant revenue? I already said once, for sure. Maybe I even said it twice. Grants for nonprofits are not free money. There is no such thing.


Have you ever seen an ad pop up, like in a search engine about free money? No.


Nope, not true.


Grant funding requires accountability.


Different grantmakers have different levels of accountability.


But as a 501 C 3 organization with the IRS or other organizational status, you have an accountability to understand and to be able to report on what that funding looks like. Where did it go? How did you spend it?


There's no such thing as free grant money, where you can just do things, buy things.


No such thing.


Any of it requires that you track how you spend the money, what you do, what you accomplish, and the bigger the dollars, the bigger the funders, and The bigger the requirements, quite frankly.


Grant revenue is not a solo sport, then, you might say, But grant writing, that's one person typing out the application. Making a phone call to a grantmaker.


Yes, there are often solo activities included in grant-seeking activities, but you need the whole nonprofit organization in order to be competitive and sustainable.


Unless you are personally literally the person starting a non-profit, right now, there are other people in your nonprofit organization: Board members, finance staff, a program, and colleagues. There are other people working in your organization, whether paid or as a volunteer.


They will have to help with the grant applications. Not necessarily by sitting down and writing, but in terms of gathering information, developing funder relationships, and providing input on what do you include in the application.


We need those things, or our grant application will not be successful.


OK, so I've said a lot of things haven't.


I say a lot of things on a daily basis, and I give credit to all the coffee for all the things, but I just shared with you what grants can do and what I firmly believe grants help do.


Now, I know I said, I already set the stage. We can't get to all the questions, but that doesn't mean I don't want to interact with you. I do want to interact with you. So head to the questions box Please expand your goto Webinar control panel using the orange rectangle with the white arrow.


Head to the Questions box, and please type in, what is something that I just shared, either can do or can't do, that is new to you, or maybe surprising, a word, a phrase. Hit me up in that questions box of the things I just shared for what grants can do or can't do.


What was new information or something that surprised you?


I appreciate your candidate responses. It's completely optional, you don't have to do this, but it's really helpful for me to understand how you receive that information, and how did it hit you, before we move into the next section?




Not free money. I appreciate that candid response.


That is often surprising, which is why I like to say that many times during a session like this, not a quick, quick fix. You're right.


Slow, and I say it like that, to drive home.


Do you want a quick fix?


Though, talk to an individual donor who can give you a check today that you can put in your bank for payroll tomorrow. That's the reality. That's the real scenario here.


Grants take so much time to write, submit, and have a review, and to have been approved by a board before you will ever even get the award letter.


Let alone that check, you know what else I didn't say?


Many grants, not all, but many are reimbursement-based.


So you have to spend the money Before they'll consider giving you the funds that they have awarded you.


I know that one hurt many organizations to, you've really gotta think about, cash flow for grants, OK, what else, Yeah, it's money that takes maintenance, OK? Different levels of accountability are required.


Great, OK.


Ah, the fact that you can use grants for leveraging other funds, that's new information for some of you, that's fantastic, OK.


Glad to hear that. The message about solo writing, solo, work, hit, some of you too that was helpful.


OK, ah, I want to clarify something, that it is not, that it's a money question, can it be an ongoing source of revenue.


Grants can provide long-term financial support for organizations, but most grants deal with 12-month award periods, even if you get a multi-year grant, federal grant, state grant, or even foundation. If they say, you get a three-year grant, you get a five-year grant. That's nice because that's a really nice long period of time.


But almost every single time, 99.9% of the time, they're broken into 12 month award periods within the larger framework of the award.


So, when pieced together, like a puzzle, grant revenue can be amazing in the long term, for supporting programmatic growth.


But you're always thinking far ahead.


So, like slow six months out or more than you're thinking is usually 12 months or one-year chunks for what they're going to do.


So, just a little qualifier there for what I read in the questions box, OK? Yeah, and that is indeed a good reason to sometimes start those conversations with your collaborative partners. Wonderful. OK, I'm so grateful. Thank you, everyone, for contributing in the Questions box that was helpful to confirm understanding, drill home a little bit deeper on a few points.


So, let's think about what it takes to be successful at writing grants.


Maybe this will be what surprises you the most.


It is not only about the writing.


I'll say it again.


Being successful at writing grants is not only about the writing, OK, who's surprised by that one? Throw your hand up in the questions. Box five for yes and for now, did what I just say, surprise, you, did you practically fall out of your chair?


I hope not to stay safe, But when you look at this image on your screen, what in the world of writing is only one of the five things in this image.


OK, thank you for those of you candidly, who typed, Yes, that does let me know you didn't fall out of your chair, you're here at the keyboard. That's good. What you see on the screen is what we refer to as the grant life cycle.


These are grant writer best practices. That's really what this boils down to.


I have them here as five items and you look at this image, you read it, just like you would if you're watching a clock on the wall.


So start at the top of the clock, start at the 12 o'clock hour.


And what we see is readiness.


Readiness means, are you eligible?


Are you going to be competitive?


Do you have your board rostra ready? Do you have an organizational operating budget ready? Do you have a project or program budget if that's appropriate?


Those are the sort of things we're addressing in readiness.


It is so much more than, hey, the IRS approved me, and I have a 501 C 3 letter I can get grants now, right?




You've got to build your credit just like you can't get a car for the first time if you don't have a credit score or a co-signer. Same sort of idea.


You're not gonna get the 501 C 3 letter and then just right to grants. You've gotta focus on grant readiness.


Once you've got some in place, we get to move around clockwise to research which means we're going to find the funders that we think are the best fit for us.


That's right.


There are many, many, many thousands upon thousands of grantmakers That will not be a fit for us. We only want to find the ones that are a fit for who we are and what we want. Once we do that, we keep going around the circle, it's time to build relationships.


So outreach, asking questions, making connections, I don't mean that we're hanging out at Starbucks all the time having coffee with these people, but we are getting our questions answered confirming if we might be competitive or not.


All of that readiness, research, and relationships happen before we sit down to write.


Now, you might notice that writing is capitalized in an odd manner used to drive my daughters bonkers when they were younger.


Well, it's OK so that we can easily remember not only the grant life cycle but the five Rs.


Nice way for you to remember, am I following all of my best practices? So, just capitalize they are, in writing. It's the fourth thing, in the life cycle.


You're going to do all sorts of work before you sit down with a blank Google Doc, an open Word document, a sheet of paper, scratching out your ideas for your answers, whatever it is.


You don't get to that point until you do readiness research relationships, or what would happen You strongly risk being rejected you strongly risk, not getting the funding, you don't have that sort of time.


You need to do everything you can to get the funding.


So, we don't write until we do the first three elements.


And then, once it's submitted, there's one more item in the life cycle because you have done it all so well that you get the funding.


You celebrate and do a bit of a grand happy dance.


You don't have to use mine was just an example.


Then you work on reporting, managing the grant, keeping up the relationship with the grantmaker, and letting them know how you're using their money so that you can start all over again.


So, that is our life cycle.


The five Rs.


Either one works. They mean the same thing. Whichever is easiest for you to remember or to help your colleagues understand.


So, as we look at our differences ours are five Let's think about research. Let's dig deeper into what that means. How can we be successful in thinking about our research? Who do we want to secure funding from?


Hmm, hmm, hmm, I have lots of questions, don't I?


OK, here's my question for you. I want to know what your organization does? What are your priorities? What do you need money for?


So in the questions box, Should you be so willing, I would love to hear, what is your priority? What do you need grant funding for right now?


If I told you I was a foundation and you could apply, what would you want to apply for funding for? What do you need to apply for funding for it? Go ahead, let me know in the questions box.


You can tell me about a program area.


You can say, it's general operating support.


You can say it's capital funding, You need to buy a vehicle, what is it that you need?


Let me see, in the questions box.


Facilities planning, extra space to run in-person programs, therapeutic services, vision screening, scholarships, drought resilience, land conservation, and mine right below that.


Programming. General operating support, yep, that one's really, really common.


Promoting homeownership, food, and transportation, leadership programs for young people. ... for county libraries, guess I'm all in favor of ... mm, hmm. Yep. Work with some EMT groups. Were we like, it needs to be in the community scholarships. Again, OK, more general operating.


Hey, I see like Supply's type stuff, great.


As I thought, a really wide range of things that are your needs, your funding priorities.


These should be the filter that you use in looking for grant opportunities.


What I mean by this, is when you are thinking about the funding opportunities that will come across your desk, or that you'll find in Google, or that you'll find in a paid database, there are literally thousands upon thousands, That's too many.


You need to narrow down the results so that they are your priority, and also that the grantmaker is willing to fund where you do the work.


Let's just remember, you need to fund where you do the work.


So you want to be selfish.


Use your priorities that you typed in the questions box, as your filter, in whatever mechanism you use to look for opportunities.


If you typed in that you wanted to fund.


Let's see, for homelessness and Mental Health Services, Outreach.


Just to pick on one.


And you see that there's a program now available, but it's, it's not for either of those, but rather it's four.


Want to know what feels really different.


Let's say that it's for tutoring services, Job readiness, and return to workforce type things.


That's not what you type for your priority. Don't go create something to do this program over here.


When you already have a specific need or priority, I don't know if that's like, the point is, when you have a priority, make it your focus.


Sole focus, that's all I want to focus on funds for, that's what I want to spend time applying for. Don't get distracted by all this stuff over here.


There will always be plenty of stuff.


Creating and reacting to other opportunities is really dangerous and not sustainable for your organization.


It will lead to a lot of stress around grants.


Now when we think about where we're finding grants, well, we've got a lot of options. Are we going to use a free service, or are we going to use a paid database?


Or we may be going to use both, what is the right answer? If I like to say, you're finding a needle in a haystack, might be because I live in a very rural part of far, far upstate New York, that that one makes me laugh.


His stacks and hay bales are huge. The idea of finding a needle does, as an analogy, really bring home for me? Who is the perfect funder to fund?


So let's say that's Google, amazing.


You can actually use your search terms in Google and do a pretty nice job.


If you are a member of a professional association, you might have access to some tools for free.


For example, if you are a member of the Grant Professionals Association, that's grant professionals dot org, you get access to Grant station, a paid tool, or free.


Maybe you're not a member of a professional association, yet, that's pay, no worries.


You can go to Candide dot org, Search for the Funding Information Network, type in your zip Code, and it will tell you where is the closest location where you can access that database at no charge.


That costs, like $2000 a year, trust, me, like, $2000 to use it from your desk.


If you go to a Funding Information Network site.


So there are some very creative ways that you can access different tools to search for grants so that what you're looking for what you find are these seven points.


Whether you're looking for a government or foundation, you want to find these seven points with each and every grantmaker so that when you're comparing apples to apples when you consider, who might I apply for.


Here's a clue, you can't apply for them all.


You don't have that kind of time.


You need weekends, You need to sleep.


You need a sustainable pace, you need to whittle them down to only those where you will be the most competitive. So using these seven points can help you do that.


So here are a few really important tips related to research.


This time was spent researching grantmakers and opportunities. This is your homework.


This is setting the stage for strong relationship development.


Don't skimp on your homework.


You're right. No one's going to check and be like a math teacher in middle school. Did you do your homework? Can't give you full credit. That's not going to happen. So you have to be your own accountable. But if you don't do your research homework, there are two negative things that can happen.


one, if you talk to a grantmaker, they will know that you did not do your homework about them, and that relationship will not be starting off on a good foot effect. It might be pretty negative from there on out, and you might lose an opportunity.




if you don't do your homework, you might choose to move forward on an application process, or an opportunity where you really aren't eligible or you really aren't competitive.


You might spend your time writing and polishing and submitting an application that on the surface looks fantastic, but in reality, is never even read, is just straight to the no pile.


That one worries me almost more than the relationship concern, because your time is so valuable, don't spend it writing things where you will be competitive, That's why you need to spend some time on research.


Lastly, if you see whether it's in Google or grant station, or Foundation Directory, wherever you are, if you see a grantmaker that says, we do not accept unsolicited grant proposals, does anyone know what that means?


It's like getting invited to a wedding.


If you don't have an invitation to the wedding, you're not going. you're not expected to be there. No one's going to be expecting you to walk in the door.


OK, I know, like, wedding crashers, the movie, all the things, Nope, If you do not have an invitation from a grantmaker that says that unsolicited applications are not accepted, you're not invited to the party. You don't get to apply. They will not read your application. They will not make a grant to you.


Don't spend your time on it.


Close the record. Close the website. Move on. You have plenty of other things to do.


Does anyone have any questions about the unsolicited grants not accepted analogy or weddings?


And why we don't spend our time on those, go ahead. let me know if you do in the questions box, because often, that's a spot where we get some questions.


What it does, though, is it sets the stage for us to move into relationships.


Christina Goldstar, thank you so much for the setup.


So if you're not supposed to apply because they won't read it, how do you get invited? That is the million-dollar question, Christina.


You get invited by finding a relationship connection point by trying to have someone somewhere that can have a connection to that grantmaker.


So, let's do a little experiment here. I would like for you to pretend it is the end of your business day.


Don't leave yet because I don't wanna get in trouble with any supervisors or colleagues, but we'll just pretend it's the end of the day. And whether you're working from home, or you're commuting back from the office, you go to your mailbox.


So you're in your own personal space, in your own community, you open your mailbox, and in it maybe a newspaper, or a magazine, a bill, or two, maybe a political, something, or not.


There is an envelope with your name on it, from a local non-profit that you have never attended an event for, given to, or had any interaction with, but they have asked you for $250, what do you do?


Go ahead, let me know in the questions box. What do you do?


Do you recycle or trash it? Do you open your checkbook?


Do you open up your PayPal or Venmo app and send them the $250?


Do you give them $25? What do you do?


Trash it.


Recycle it, throw it away, mmm-hmm.




Oh, Sheryl says, Research the non-profit, that is interesting, but that was one person out of all of you.


If you were to submit an unsolicited request to a grantmaker, they're going to follow your own actions.


I don't know what it is. They didn't invite it. Gone. Occasionally, only one might take time to research it.


But, you know why? Someone's really more likely to read it?


If they take the time to open it and they see, like, the board list or they see who signed it, And they realize that someone, they know oh, whoa. I know that person from the rotary that person from school, I know that person from my religious services, wherever.


Now they might actually read it.


Well, that's still pretty passive to send them a letter.


If you can find a point of connection LinkedIn to LinkedIn people, or just who do we know in the community, circulator list among your board, when we can find those people Somewhere in our world of connections, we're identifying a list of people in research who's on their board, who's on their staff.


If our board and staff can help us find them, where do we know these folks?


All of a sudden, we might get a warm introduction by e-mail.


Dear, so and so, I'm really pleased to introduce you today to someone, and so the executive director of this non-profit, that I serve on the board for, things like that.


Or, you might now pick up the phone.


Dear Grantmaker, I believe that our board member, mister Smith talked to you at the rotary meeting last week about our organization.


I was calling to follow up and tell you a little bit more about our program and see if maybe we had an opportunity to submit a grant proposal. Right.


We're warmed up.


We, all of a sudden, might have the opportunity to get an invitation at this stage. Are we going to be, like, sitting down and having that coffee with them?


But we're making introductions or slowly warming the grantmaker up. We're finding people who they know and already trust who might help us get that invitation.


Now if we're thinking about our grantmaker relationship, we have to remember that all grantmakers are unique and different.


And just like if you were contemplating dating someone, they're unique, they're different, your unique, your different, everyone has a different approach.


So that means what works with one grantmaker, how you write an e-mail, or how you might phone them.


It's not going to be exactly the right feel for the next grantmaker.


So you're constantly trying to learn about the preferences of each grantmaker.


That's why we're talking about relationships.


Think about this stage like you would major donors.


What is it that you learn about their preferences? How do you keep track of their preferences? We want to respect the grantmaker as an organization, yes, but we're thinking about who are the people at that organization that we're trying to talk to.


All right, that does it. We get to talk about writing.


Here I told you this section was about how to be successful at writing, but we couldn't do it without first talking about research and relationships.


Now, when we think about writing, OK. This is where we get teaser words.


It's not really creative writing, though, now, actually, it's not at all.


In fact, one, actually, he started with us as an intern, now he's one of our junior consultants on my team, but his degree as an undergraduate was in creative writing. And he got into grants because he wanted to use his writing for good.


And he is, and he's learned so much.


But Ayden will be the first one to tell you, that on a day-to-day basis, grants are not an exercise in creative writing.


Are more an exercise in persuasive writing in helping a grantmaker understand, What's your need?


What are you going to do with their funding? And, how are you going to know that it was impactful, that it was successful?


That's really what it's about.


So, whether you're writing a very tiny proposal or a really large federal proposal, the three things on the screen are things you will find in competitive grants.


What is the Statement of need? What is the need in the community we're working to address?


Are our goals and objectives clear? Are they smart? Well Defined Smart in a minute.


And how do we measure success?


So if we think about the need, go back to your priority that you typed into the questions box earlier.


How do you prove to a grantmaker that that is a need in your community?


That's way too much for you to type in the question box today. No pressure on that input.


in her head how do you prove that need?


Do you have HUD data?


Do you have Census data? You have a local needs assessment from a United Way, do you have focus group summaries from your own organization? What do you have?


This should be different for each of you, and more than that, which pieces of information you share with each grantmaker is probably also different.


This is customizable for each grantmaker based on what type of story they care about the most.


The second thing we want to see in terms of what helps make our application successful, we need to know about our smart goals and objectives.


On the last well, two slides ago, I said, I'll tell you what smart means. Here it is, right here.




You want objectives that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.


By writing objectives in this format, you are helping to answer a lot of the very basic journalistic questions that a grantmaker or a reviewer would wonder about your work. I'm curious. Show of hands in the questions box. Why for yes and for no, how many of you have seen this framework smart before?


No judgment. either way. Just curious.


So, when we look at smart, specific, great, as many details as you can fit in the sentence: Measurable.


What is it that's going to indicate your success, not enough to just put a percent sign somewhere within the Sentence?


Attainable: Is it possible with the resources we have available?


Relevant, How does it connect? when I look up at the larger programmatic goal?


For goals like our umbrella, how does this objective connect to that goal?


And time-bound, six months, once, over the course of a year, When's it happening?


Smart objectives.


For those of you that said no, it takes time to learn them. It's not necessarily your natural way of writing.


I say that here, because it's actually something we not only practice in, like grant writing 101 and basic classes all the way up through intermediate grant writing for nonprofit classes, because, well, it takes practice. It's tricky.


OK, and then our third thing to include is a measurement plan. So what does success look like? Now this one, I'm actually very curious to hear.


You told me what your need was your priority for where you needed funding.


If you got the grant you're hoping for, what would success look like? What would your impact be?


I would like to hear a summary, a phrase, or a few words in the facts of the question. Should you be so willing, tell me, what does success look like?


This is a really good exercise for you because what you put here should be the takeaway for a grantmaker when they read your proposal.


If you tell me that, Well, they're going to support our general operating work, so are our lights, our honor, our doors are open? No, that's not it.


The success, in that case, is how many hot meals you serve, how many students you serve, through the tutoring program, or the knowledge gained, and awareness, that is created in your community, about an issue.


That is what general operating success looks like.


Let's see, Ah, OK. Facilities. Get updated grip building, therefore improved services to the public. Yes, I like it.


OK, serving clients on their road to self-sufficiency love it.


Um, seniors are able to access in-person programming.


So that All right So we want to add a little bit more on that one. So that what? Love it.


OK, those are great, There are so many, like, just quickly reading through all the things you shared.


Those are great, but it's a good exercise for you and for your colleagues, if we get this 10 grand, What is the impact? What is success?


What is our so that? What, what does the funder care about?


That way, when you go back to read what you've written, you can check Does that message come through loud and clear, Dear Grantmaker, if you award us this $10000?


Here is the impact we will create, that's what you want to make sure they understand as they read your proposal.


A few other things, I could talk about grants literally all day, but none of us have all day today.


When you see an application, there will be a wide range of requirements, character, counts, word counts, you name it, different requirements, Always follow the grantmakers, format and instructions.


Always don't disrespect their process. It's a sure note.


Similarly, what works in one application is really, rarely, almost never, an exact, perfect answer for the next funder.


Rarely, hardly ever.


Don't copy and paste, Don't do it. Funders can see copy-paste from a mile away.


I stay with authority. Remember I was a funder. Don't do it.


The answer might be nearly identical, but do yourself a favor. Make your brain go through the exercise of saying, Is this that I am typing?


The perfect answer for this question.


It will save you a lot of rejection as a result.


So we're customizing for each and every grantmaker specifically answering their questions.


So how do we make sure that each of our proposals as competitive as possible, right button, picking up what I'm putting down?


OK, each application is unique and different, and it's not only the requirements are different, it's that the people reading them and making the decisions are also different.


So think about who's your audience? What do we know? Is it a board? Is it a community panel? Is it a family?


Is it a foundation corporation? who is it that's reviewing you? How are they judging you? How are they scoring you?


You want your reviewers to advocate for you, you want them to catch your enthusiasm, to believe in your capacity and your expertise.


Each of the people reading those proposals is different.


Now, as I mentioned, I can talk about grants all day, but I wanted to make sure you knew about some of my favorite resources.


They're not all books. You can tell behind me. I love books, but there are some great resources.


In addition, of course, I've biased our charity, how-to Premium webinars, and the free Downloads there.


I designed the courses, I designed the resources, they're what my team actually uses every day, some kinda biased, but there are awesome books and other resources and so that's why I listed a few of them for you there.


What I want to do is a huge thank you for being here and being so engaged with me in the questions box. We've got some amazing webinars coming up. I'd love to see you there.


When we go to Premium webinars, a little bit longer.


Lots of downloads and resources in the CharityHowTo library.


And I don't leave the room until your questions are all answered.


So, a lot of great, great information. And I'd love to give you 15% off that with the code you see on the screen.


Now, as I mentioned, there were some questions I could get to. And I've been integrating some questions I've seen in the questions box as we go.


I'm happy to answer a handful of questions, or whatever you've got for me, over social media, after the fact, reach out where you're comfortable. LinkedIn messages, Twitter DM, um, they're absolutely happy to answer.


But, you have been fantastic, and I'm so glad to see that we had some big, tight moments related to what grants can and can't do early on. Please share those with your colleagues, your supervisors, and your board. They need to understand grants just like you do, for what they can and can't do for your organization.


So, I've got time.


Oh, no. I don't know yet. We're actually at the time.


I'm going to stick around for another two minutes.


If there's an immediate question that someone wants to have in the questions box, I'll grab one out of those that didn't get answered so far today, but remember, I'm here during premium webinars. Don't go anywhere.


So I'd love to see you join us for one of our upcoming sessions. We've got a wide range of things from research, to some intermediate classes even coming up, so please do feel free to join us for those and take advantage of this discount code.


So, OK, one final question that popped up here in the questions box, let's get that one answered, for sure. It's a great one.


So, how many grants can a grant professional or should a grant professional write in a year? Like, if you're getting started, you're going to love this answer.


It depends. It depends on your strategy, Depending on your organizational size.


If you are focusing on the Grants Life cycle, the number of grants will focus on building that and building it and making it higher and higher.


Focus on the quality of the few that you choose to write for.


Even big, big organizations when they start to write for federal grants like 1 or 2 a year, no more.


Slowly they take a ton of time.


We're building with foundation grants. Let's try one a month.


Let's try one a quarter. Let's figure it out what it feels right for your organization so it really depends but doesn't open the floodgates and just start writing and writing and writing.


Take your time so that you are thoughtfully approaching each one. Customizing for each vendor.


Get the success under your belt and I promise it will grow.


Wonderful question. Thank you for asking, and thank you all of you for joining us for today's session. So, you want to write a grant.


Some tips and tricks to help you get started were great to be with you. Please be sure to reach out over social media if you've got more questions. And I look forward to seeing you, hopefully, in a future CharityHowTo webinar.


Well, thank you again, and thanks, everyone, for attending today's webinar. Once you log out, you will receive a survey on the presentation. We really appreciate it if you could complete it and provide your thoughts on today's webinar. And, thanks again, everyone, and have a great rest of your day!

Topics: Grants for Nonprofits