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Use data to strengthen proposals

by The NonProfit Times - July 15, 2014

“Telling grantmakers that your organization provides comprehensive and effective services won’t leave much of an impression. Vague, self-aggrandizing statements consume space without delivering value,” said Barbara Floersch, executive director of The Grantsmanship Center in Los Angeles, Calif.

To strengthen grant proposals and build credibility, provide specific information and demonstrate impact. “Be specific about what your organization does and what it has accomplished,” said Floersch, “and use data to prove it.” Here are three ways to use data in the section of the grant proposal that introduces the applicant organization:

  • Organizational basics. Use data to define the size and scope of the organization: annual budget; number of staff; number of cities, counties, or states served; number of board members and percentage who contribute money; etc.
  • Activities. Use data to quantify: services delivered annually within each major area of activity; duration of activities; cost effectiveness; growth in demand for services, etc.
  • Impact. Use data from service evaluations or ongoing recordkeeping to show: positive changes in conditions, situations, or behaviors produced by the organization’s work; number and percentage of participants who are satisfied with services and activities; appreciation of those who benefit; etc.

Grant proposals that are highly specific and that thoroughly integrate data into all sections are more informative and more convincing. They are also much more likely to be funded.

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