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Grant-Writing. A non-profit’s guide to preparing grant proposals. Choosing a Funder.

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  1. Grant-Writing A non-profit’s guide to preparing grant proposals

  2. Choosing a Funder The first step in grant-writing is to choose a supporting organization. The key to this process is to make sure that the funding organization’s mission is consistent with that of the applicant and that the proposed program identifies with the funder’s objectives. Some resources for finding potential funders include: • Individual foundation websites • Philanthropy publications • Friends’ and donors’ contacts • OFBCI Funding Opportunities monthly e-newsletter (http://www.in.gov/ofbci/2382.htm) • www.grants.gov Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives

  3. Researching the Funder It is extremely important to research the funding interests of the organization before applying for funds. It can be especially helpful to get a copy of the organization’s annual report and mission. The applying organization should familiarize itself with the funder’s entire application process, including their timetable, guidelines, instructions, and all grant requirements. At the beginning of the writing process, it is very important to pay close attention to all directions given by the funder. Upon submitting the final grant proposal, it is wise to include a cover letter which serves as a link between the proposal and the funder’s interests. This letter should not be long, but rather a short, one- to two-paragraph summary of the proposal. Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives

  4. Writing Process The following are the basic steps for the writing process of a grant proposal. • Carefully read all instructions. • Brainstorm ideas. • Gather all materials: background information, documentation, research, current facts and statistics about the population, etc. • Contact the funder: ask any questions, review deadlines and expectations, and notify them of the pending proposal. • Create an outline of the proposal, followed by a first draft. • Edit the draft for content. Ask: Is everything included? Does the proposal address the funder’s stated concerns? Changes should then be incorporated into a second draft. • Proofread the second draft, and have others proofread it as well. • Complete a final draft. Double-check that format is consistent with the funder’s instructions and that all questions have been answered. Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives

  5. Basic Components Case for Support The main purpose of the case for support is to demonstrate the following two objectives: • How the program addresses a community need in a unique manner using appropriate logic and outcomes. • What the impact of the funds will be on the program and community. The case for support consists of the following basic criteria: • The organization’s mission and vision. • The values and principles that guide the organization’s work. • A connection with the interests of the donors. • A conveyed sense of urgency. • An emotionally motivating, yet concrete and logical argument. Continued… Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives

  6. Basic Components Case for Support, continued Also included in the case for support will be program background details, particularly the community needs the program addresses (including statistics, trends, and needs already met). This should provide a context for the programs and services the organization provides. Information should include the number of people served, how the money helps, positive trends in the community, and the impact the programs and services have had on the community. If applying for a new program, a need should be identified and a solution presented for the need, based on logic and feasibility. For more information on program development, please see the OFBCI resource on this topic. Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives

  7. Basic Components Budget Narrative The first place a funder looks after the cover sheet and executive summary is the budget narrative. The following are the basic steps for completing a budget narrative: • Review the program goals and objectives. • Estimate the resources needed to obtain these goals. • Determine other necessary costs. • Explain any budget controls in place.. Depending on the individual funder’s instructions, the budget narrative may also include an overview of additional support (fundraising, community support, etc). Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives

  8. Basic Components Organizational Information This short section should consist of a list of the organization’s active leadership. This includes the organizational chart, board of directors, and volunteers. Attachments If allowable, attachments should be kept to a minimum, including only those most necessary to support the proposal. They may include testimonials, charts, design plans, etc. Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives

  9. The Follow-Up The follow-up is a very important, yet often overlooked, part of the grant proposal. It is wise to make sure that the application was received and to check on the status of a pending application. It is also a good idea to request feedback on an application, whether or not it was approved. This evaluation can help immensely to improve on the organization’s next grant proposal. Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives

  10. Final Recommendations • Follow all instructions! • Proofread, proofread, proofread! Pay special attention to spelling, grammar, and fluidity. • Find an appropriate length: don’t be too long-winded or too brief. • Make sure that the format of the proposal (including all attachments) is appropriate for reproduction. • Electronic format: All elements should be compatible with the organization’s computer programs. • Paper format: all components should be legible when printed in black and white ink. • Don’t write one sweeping proposal for mass distribution among funders! Every proposal should be written specifically to a funder and should apply directly to the organization’s request for proposals. • Only apply to a funding organization if the applying program is consistent with the stated funding interests. Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives

  11. Final Note This is only a general guideline to grant-writing, and for that reason, not all suggestions may be applicable for every proposal or funder. Keep in mind that each different funding organization has different individual requirements. Pay attention to all guidelines and instructions and follow them closely. Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives

  12. Additional Resources • Council on Foundations (www.cof.org) • Foundations Online (www.foundations.org) • The Foundation Center (www.fdncenter.org) • GrantSmart (www.grantsmart.org) • The Grantsmanship Center (www.tgci.com) • GrantStation (www.grantstation.com) • GuideStar (www.guidestar.org) Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives

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