Make Attachments To Grant Proposals Count

January 16, 2018       The NonProfit Times      

Funder guidelines usually restrict the number or type of documents grantseekers can attach to a proposal. Some restrict the number of pages, and others only allow required items such as a letter documenting 501(c)3 status, a list of board members, the most recent audit, etc. “But when no restrictions apply, that’s not a free pass,” said Barbara Floersch, executive director of The Grantsmanship Center in Los Angeles, Calif. “You’ve got to be careful. It’s easy to make mistakes that can siphon power from the application package and undermine your argument for support.”

    When funders don’t restrict what you can include, Floersch suggests using these guidelines to ensure that your attachments will enhance the likelihood of a grant award.

  • Attachments should deepen readers’ understanding of the problem your organization will confront, further justify the program plan, build confidence in your ability to get the job done, or enhance the narrative in some other specific way.
  • Even when not required, some attachments should be included. Letters of commitment from partner organizations that will contribute time or resources are a necessity. A roster of the board of directors and a copy of the IRS letter of determination are considered standard documentation. Depending on the program staffing plan, job descriptions and resumes may also be essential.
  • Don’t view attachments as part of the narrative. Critical points and arguments must be laid out logically in the actual proposal.
  • Dated material makes readers think you have nothing better to show. Attaching a five-year-old news report on unemployment undercuts your argument for a job skills training program to address current needs. A ten-year-old commendation of excellence weakens your organization’s claim to be a cutting-edge leader in its field.
  • Control yourself. If you have ten great news reports, use only the best one. If you have five current awards, attach the most relevant one as an example.

    Carefully curate the final attachment package. “Every attachment should have a purpose and add to the power of your request,” said Floersch. “Well-considered and presented attachments are part of your overall proposal strategy. Don’t let them become an afterthought.” © Copyright 2017 The Grantsmanship Center.