Hammering Out the Case for Grant Support

It’s the golden rule of grantseeking — follow guidelines to the letter. But to win more grants and generate substantive impact, Barbara Floersch of The Grantsmanship Center in Los Angeles, Calif., urges you to step back, assess the problem you’re concerned about, and hammer out a case for support before responding to funder instructions. 

“Funders ask for information in different ways, use various terms, and emphasize different issues. It’s a labyrinth,” said Floersch, the organization’s chief of training and curriculum. “Crafting a clear message first, and then figuring out how to deliver it within each funder’s constraints is the best approach.”

Before you contact a funder for clarification or respond to guidelines, nail down these four essential elements of your argument:

* Problem or Need: Put together a concise, well-documented description of the situation that’s driving your organization to submit the proposal. Be sure you’ve got the facts and figures to show what the situation looks like in your service area, how it’s effecting the community, and what’s causing it.

* Outcomes: Decide what change you’ll be able to produce within a specific time frame. Quantify the results you expect the grant dollars to produce.

* Methods: Develop a detailed overview of the activities you’ll implement to ameliorate the problem or meet the need. Include specifics about the target population, collaborators, staffing, volunteers, facilities, supplies, and other details of how the program will operate.

* Budget: Develop a working budget. As you refine the information for various applications, the budget will likely evolve. So be sure you have a clear idea of what programming will cost before you consider responding to application guidelines..

Once you have the bones of your argument in place, you can respond nimbly to the application guidelines of various funders. “You can boil the information down for an online form or tell the full story in twenty pages,” said Floersch. “And either way, your argument will stay intact.” © Copyright 2019 The Grantsmanship Center.