Funders want the details nailed down

October 13, 2015       The NonProfit Times      

A grant proposal that includes a passionate, uplifting articulation of your organization’s vision for the program can inspire funders to support your request. But that inspiration won’t last long unless the proposal also describes the nuts and bolts of the approach–the specific activities and timelines you’ll use to produce the desired outcomes.

“A highly developed vision for your program is great,” said Holly Thompson, contributing editor for The Grantsmanship Center, in Los Angeles, Calif. “But when it comes to grant proposals, the vision is the starting point for planning. Without a well-conceived, detailed plan of operation, your proposal is unlikely to be funded.”

Some grant seekers, finding themselves in a deadline bind, skip the details to get the proposal out the door. Some think it’s okay to wait until the grant is awarded to figure out the nitty-gritty of how they’ll get the job done. “But very few funders will award a grant without specific information on the who, what, where, when, and how of the program,” warned Thompson. “Success lies in the details. A vague description of methods won’t cut it.”

Thompson advised grant seekers to formulate an actionable roadmap that answers the following questions.

What’s the overall methodology and the rationale for the approach?

Who will run the program?

Who and how many will participate? Who and how many will benefit?

What specific activities will take place–when, how often, where?

What other organizations will collaborate in implementation? How?

A well-crafted, persuasive grant proposal does more than just uplift the reader. It demonstrates practical thinking and operational know-how, giving the funder confidence that the prospective grantee has what it takes to execute the program, produce results, and deliver a return on the grant maker’s investment. ©2015 The Grantsmanship Center. All Rights Reserved.

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