Writing grants is one of the most popular fundraising techniques for nonprofit organizations.
With hundreds of foundations out there offering millions of dollars to fund a variety of programs, it’s easy to understand why Fundraising staff and volunteers want to write proposals to seek funding through grantwriting.
Unfortunately, there are lots of ways to make mistakes and lessen your chances of receiving a grant. Here are the top four mistakes commonly made by grant writers.
- Not having a ‘hand-in-glove’ fit. Before you even begin to write, make sure your funding request will be a good fit for the foundation. Each foundation has its own areas of interest, and you want to be sure that your proposal will be accepted. Otherwise, it’s a waste of time. So take the time to thoroughly research a foundation before you submit a proposal. Call and talk to the Administrator before you submit a proposal to find out if your project or program is a fit. It will save you time and effort, and increase your overall success rate in securing grant funds.
- Not following directions. Follow a foundation’s request submission instructions! If the foundation requests that you submit your request in a particular format, then do it. This is not the time to get creative. Some foundations use this as a criteria to eliminate proposals and you don’t want to lose your chance at getting funded simply because you ignored their directions.
- Not writing clearly. Compose your grant proposal carefully. Be clear and concise – don’t ramble. Don’t use jargon or words that grant reviewers won’t understand. Spell out acronyms. Don’t be vague about the objectives of your program or project. One good way to check your writing is to ask someone who is unfamiliar with your organization to review your proposal for you before you submit it. They can usually give you some good feedback on how understandable your writing is.
- Problems with budget numbers. Make sure the numbers in your budget make sense and that they are consistent with your narrative. Double-check your math and be certain that the totals are accurate.
Avoid these 4 mistakes and you’ll be well on your way to getting more grants!