How Many and How Much?

May 8, 2017       THE NONPROFIT TIMES      

“Grant proposals that are heavy on specifics are the most competitive. Funders don’t want a general idea of what their money will support,” said Barbara Floersch, executive director of The Grantsmanship Center in Los Angeles, Cailf. “They want a detailed explanation of what the proposed program will look like and what it will accomplish.”

How many people will the program assist? “You’d be surprised at the number of grant proposals that fail to clearly identify the number of people who will participate in or benefit from a proposed program,” said Floersch. It’s one of the most fundamental questions, yet this critical number is often buried deep in the proposal, or left unanswered.

How much service will be delivered? It’s not enough to state that your organization will provide tutoring, or meals, or emergency shelter. “Funders need to know how much you plan to deliver,” said Floersch. “How many hours of tutoring over what period of time? How many meals? How many nights of emergency shelter?”

How much change will your work produce? To assess the potential for impact, funders need details on the results you expect a program to produce. When discussing outcomes, be sure to define the degree of change you expect to achieve. “Do you anticipate that the tutoring program will increase reading scores by 10 percent or by 25 percent over a six-month period?,” Floersch asked rhetorically. Simply proposing an increase in reading scores is not enough. Be specific.

Quantify, quantify, quantify. Tell the funder how many miles you expect staff to drive during the year to meet with beneficiaries; how many flyers will be printed and distributed; how many people you expect to attend the awards banquet; how many computer education classes will be offered over what time frame. And be sure that the quantity of activity detailed in the proposal narrative is consistent with the budget. “The budget of a proposal translates the quantity of activity into dollars,” said Floersch. “It’s essential that the program narrative and the budget line up.”

“Generalizations sap confidence, and make it appear as though you haven’t thought things through,” said Floersch. Specific numbers tell readers that you’ve done your homework, and know what you can deliver and what you can accomplish. © Copyright 2017 The Grantsmanship Center.