Applications for Grants

Just looking at a grant application is a daunting task for some.  The preliminary questions are enough to make some just stop, and go no further.  These initial questions are generally organizational in nature.  They provide insight into the organization or business, and encompass such information as mission and goals, brief description of the current programs, activities, or initiatives, strengths, accomplishments, relationships with other organizations or businesses having similar enterprises, governance (i.e., directors or trustees), staff, employees, volunteers, etc. And, of course, additional information needed depending upon the particular funder involved.

Beyond these preliminary questions are ones that need detailed answers.  They include the purpose for the grant application, evaluation and outcome strategies, and the perennial budgetary information that includes not only a budget for the requested amount (proposal amount), but for an organizational or business budget (all inclusive).  If the entity requesting funds is a non-profit, it may need to provide a current audit report.  It definitely needs to provide its Letter of Determination from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Grant Applications require time and a willingness to provide concise and reasoned answers.  Furthermore, they require strong expository techniques, and a high-level command of grammar and spelling.  Think of it as a lawyer’s brief, although generally much shorter.

Thoroughly developing an Evaluation/Outcome Strategy that clearly states what the organization or business plans to accomplish in relation to the funding request is of paramount concern.  Often grant applications are rejected here – the evaluation and outcomes are either too vague or too grandiose.  Here are two things to remember:

  • Describe the criteria for success; and,
  • Explain what will occur as a result of the proposed activities – be clear and concise.  At this juncture, identify and describe both the short and long-term effects and/or benefits.

Finally, there are the budgetary matters.  Generally, the following is needed:

  1. The most recent financial statement from most recently completed year, showing actual expenses.  A balance sheet or statement of income and expenses is required.
  2. Organization’s budget for current year, including income and expenses.
  3. Project Budget, including income and expenses.
  4. A non-profit submitting a Grant Application will need to provide a list of corporations and foundations it is seeking additional funding support, with dollar amounts, indicating what sources are committed or pending.

While the above is representative of most information needed on applications for grants, some can be more comprehensive, some less.  Federal Grant Applications are singularly among the hardest to complete because they are so detailed requiring comprehensive narratives.  State, county and city grants tend toward the complicated because public monies are made available requiring an adherence to oversight and regulation.  Foundations that support non-profits may require less detail in some areas, but more in others.

The rule here:  Grant Applications differ because of the grantor.  Remember this and the organization or business is better prepared to write and submit a winning Grant Application to the appropriate entity.

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