In Winning Grants, Numbers Count
nonprofit management tips

Grant proposals that deliver quantified information are much more likely to result in grant awards than those that only include generalities. To ensure that the proposal is delivering specifics, be sure to address two primary questions,” said Barbara Floersch, executive director of The Grantsmanship Center in Los Angeles, Calif. Those are: “How much and how many?”

  • When describing your organization: Tell the reader how many individuals each of its programs serves and how much service each program delivers. For example, a program may deliver 1,380 hours of tutoring, which is provided by 10 volunteers, and which assists 20 children each academic year.
  • Explain the impact of programs by quantifying positive outcomes with hard numbers. Provide data to show the extent to which reading scores increased, truancy decreased, or involvement with the justice system decreased.
  • When explaining the problem: You’ll address with the requested funds, quantify the situation. How many individuals are effected by the problem? Provide data to demonstrate how they are effected and the severity of the problem compared with other areas of the state or country.
  • It’s especially critical to quantify the outcomes you expect the grant-funded program to produce. For example, don’t just tell the reader you expect to see an increase in reading scores. Specify how many children will increase their scores and by what degree those scores will improve because of your organization’s work.
  • When describing the methods: you’ll use to tackle a problem, be precise. For example, don’t just state that you’ll provide training to the high school faculty. Tell the reader how many training sessions will take place (within what time frame), how many faculty members will participate in each training, and how many total faculty members will be trained.
  • When it comes to budgets: Readers want a clear, solid understanding of the numbers. They want to know what the program will cost in terms of requested grants funds, cash from other sources, and in-kind resources. Be sure the line-item budget is detailed. When describing personnel costs, for example, don’t just provide one lump figure. Indicate each staff position that will be part of the program, the percentage of time each will spend on the program, the pay rate for each, and the total cost to the program. Whether in the line-item budget or the budget narrative, show how you calculated each cost or in-kind value.

“Nailing the numbers in a grant proposal ups your competitiveness,” said Floersch. “It’s a sure-fire way to increase credibility and improve clarity.” © Copyright 2016, The Grantsmanship Center