10 Tips for Successful Grant Proposals

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Tired of spinning your wheels because youre not sure what foundations are really looking for? Learn to sell your work to funders with a well-crafted grant proposal! Well focus on their interests and how best to tell them your story. This webinar is ideal for new grantwriters and features important reminders for the more seasoned among us.


  • 1.10 Tips for Successful Grant Proposals Dalya Massachi Use Twitter Hashtag #npwebSpecial Thanks To Our Sponsors

2. Helping ordinary people raise extraordinary amounts for nonprofits is all we do, and we love it. A Proud Sponsor of NonprofitWebinars.com 3. Todays Speaker Dalya MassachiWriting for Community SuccessHosting: Sam Frank, Synthesis PartnershipAssisting with chat questions: April Hunt, Nonprofit Webinars 4. 10 TIPS FOR SUCCESSUL GRANT PROPO$AL$Presenter: Dalya F. Massachi 2011 Dalya F Massachi www.dfmassachi.net 4 5. Reprinted with permission from CompassPoint Nonprofit Services.2011 Dalya F Massachiwww.dfmassachi.net5 6. OUTLINEI. The life cycle of a grant proposalII.2P2R Planning System: 4 easy stepsIII. Powerful writing techniquesIV.Spot the weaknessesV. Bonus handouts (follow-up)2011 Dalya F Massachiwww.dfmassachi.net6 7. 1. KNOW THE LIFE CYCLE OF A GRANT PROPOSAL (6-12 months) You research foundationsYou begin relationships You submit an LOI or proposal 2011 Dalya F Massachi www.dfmassachi.net 7 8. Program Officer reviews your proposalYou answer any outstanding questions Program Officer advocates for youBoard votes on your proposal You rejoice OR learn why you lost 2011 Dalya F Massachi www.dfmassachi.net 8 9. 2011 Dalya F Massachiwww.dfmassachi.net 9 10. 2. USE THE 2P2R SYSTEM1. Understand your Good writing does Purposes. not come from fancy word processors or2. Define your expensive typewriters or special pencils or Priority info.hand-crafted quill pens. Good writing3. Know your comes from good Readers.thinking. Ann Loring4. Refine your messages.2011 Dalya F Massachiwww.dfmassachi.net 10 11. UNDERSTAND YOUR SPECIFIC WRITING PURPOSES. Inspire the funder with your unique ideas. Encourage the view of your organization as a solid investment. Explain your pressing issue. Show that you share goals and values. Instill trust in your ability to get the job done.2011 Dalya F Massachiwww.dfmassachi.net11 12. YOUR UNIQUENESS:So powerful that it cuts through inertia,gets noticed, and gets people talking aboutyou.Under-served clients, location, etc.Outstanding credentials or experienceExtensive collaborationsUnusual point of view or approach 2011 Dalya F Massachi www.dfmassachi.net 12 13. EXAMPLE: Beyond Breast CancerBeyond Breast Cancer is different fromother breast cancer organizations inthat we focus on quality of life. Weacknowledge the challenges andlimitations of living with breast cancer,and we believe that focusing onactivities that our clients are able toenjoy cultivates a higher quality of lifethan might otherwise be possible.2011 Dalya F Massachiwww.dfmassachi.net13 14. ASK YOURSELF:1) Whats inspiring and intriguing about your organization or program?2) What is the unique value it adds to the community?3) What makes your org a good investment- NOW?2011 Dalya F Massachiwww.dfmassachi.net 14 15. DEFINE YOURPRIORITY INFO Facts and figures Importance of the issue Results you envision Solution you propose Track record2011 Dalya F Massachiwww.dfmassachi.net 15 16. ASK YOURSELF:What does your work mean for the community:personally, economically, spiritually, emotionally,socially, etc.?How does your work serve, excite, entertain, oreducate your community?So what? How does your work lead to somethingbetter for the community?Whats in it for US?2011 Dalya F Massachiwww.dfmassachi.net16 17. EXAMPLE: HOMELESS SHELTERPROGRAMS: You offer homeless families a soupkitchen, warm beds, restrooms, child care, long-term job and housing servicesBENEFITS: (the difference you make so what?) Higher level of nutrition and stability Higher level of employment Fewer families living in cars or on streets Less desperation, often leading to crime, drug abuse, etc. The sense of being a community that cares for everyone Lower long-term financial cost to local area2011 Dalya F Massachiwww.dfmassachi.net17 18. KNOW YOUR READERS. 2011 Dalya F Massachi www.dfmassachi.net 18 19. PROGRAM OFFICERS:Foundation gatekeepersHave background, concern BUT may beunfamiliar with your particular slant/nicheAre time-pressedWant to be inspiredHave been around, frequently talk to othersAre people too, with hearts, minds, concerns2011 Dalya F Massachiwww.dfmassachi.net 19 20. WHAT INFORMATION IS OFMOST INTEREST TO THEM?True match with your goals and prioritiesProgram is a high priority for youHigh chance of success: realistic, specific planClear, measurable impact on a vital community need-- NOW2011 Dalya F Massachiwww.dfmassachi.net 20 21. Beneficiary involvement Strategic collaboration/role in the field Strong evaluation plan Replicable model Community support (and in-kind) Funded by other foundationsNote: Corporations are looking for how theirinvestment will benefit them. 2011 Dalya F Massachi www.dfmassachi.net21 22. HOW TO FIND OUT MORE?Read their publications, websites, grantguidelines.Research what they have previouslysupported.(Is there enough similarity with your project,yet uniqueness in your specific approach?)Call or email to clarify.2011 Dalya F Massachiwww.dfmassachi.net 22 23. REFINE YOUR MESSAGES.Match your READERS interests with your writing PRIORITIES.(This takes time!)2011 Dalya F Massachiwww.dfmassachi.net 23 24. POWERFULWRITING TECHNIQUES 2011 Dalya F Massachi www.dfmassachi.net 24 25. 3. FOCUS ON CLARITYThe most powerful factors in the world are clear ideas in the minds of energetic men [and women] of good will. J Arthur ThomsonYou know all about your program, butyour readers dont. Explain everything!Avoid vagueness; talk specifics.Use examples, quotes. 2011 Dalya F Massachi www.dfmassachi.net 25 26. 4. TELL STORIESTalk about how people havebenefited: results they have seenand importance.What are some characteristics of greatstories?A beginning, middle and endMemorable charactersInteresting setting (time and place)Compelling plot or conflict resolution 2011 Dalya F Massachi www.dfmassachi.net26 27. 5. TAKE CUES FROM THE FUNDER Remember to answer all of the funders questions with details. Use the funders language. Use headings and sub-headings with chunks accessible at a glance.2011 Dalya F Massachiwww.dfmassachi.net 27 28. 6. AVOID JARGON ANDUNEXPLAINED ACRONYMS Does the term mean the same thing to them as it does to you? If you must use technical terms or acronyms, explain them the first time. 2011 Dalya F Massachi www.dfmassachi.net 28 29. Reprinted with permission from CompassPoint Nonprofit Services.2011 Dalya F Massachi www.dfmassachi.net 29 30. 7. SHOW, DONT JUST TELL Convey striking details Use metaphors and analogies Show HOW your solution benefits folks Use word pictures: NOT affordable housing and good nutrition BUT safe roof and 3 solid meals a day Compare your topic to a more familiar one. 2011 Dalya F Massachi www.dfmassachi.net30 31. EXAMPLEThe Frameworks Institute used stats from U.S.Dept. of Eds 2005 study, Calories In, CaloriesOut: Food and Exercise in Public ElementarySchools, and crafted this message:Exercise is something that children needevery day. But half of all students attendschools that have reduced their phys ed classto just one or two days per week. Part-timefitness is no more effective than part-timereading or math instruction. 2011 Dalya F Massachi www.dfmassachi.net31 32. 8. MAKE YOUR PROPOSALPLEASING TO THE EYE. Use: white space legible font numbering bullets charts simple graphics (maps, diagrams, etc.)2011 Dalya F Massachiwww.dfmassachi.net32 33. 9. CULTIVATE CONCISENESS:LESS IS MOREI didnt have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead. Mark Twain Sentences: 14-20 words max. No freeloading words KISSS: Keep It Short, Simple, Skimmable Average LOI:1-3 pp.; full proposal: 7-10 pp. 2011 Dalya F Massachi www.dfmassachi.net 33 34. 10. PROOFREADCheck your documentfor grammar,punctuation, spelling,and other slip-ups.Always read your pieceout loud (even if itsonly to yourself). Mostpeople hear words asthey read them, so yourwords should roll offthe tongue. 2011 Dalya F Massachi www.dfmassachi.net 34 35. LET IDEAS GERMINATE."The beautiful part of writing is that you dont have toget it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon." Robert Cormier Wait at least 24 hours before starting to revise. Try keeping a notepad & pen on your nightstand. This invites creative ideas to visit you. 2011 Dalya F Massachi www.dfmassachi.net 35 36. EXERCISE SPOT THE WEAKNESSES:Can you identify the problemsin this piece? 2011 Dalya F Massachi www.dfmassachi.net 36 37. EXERCISE(SPOT THE WEAKNESSES)Dear Program Officer:We are pleased to submit this brief Letter ofIntent to the Over-the-Top Foundation. Wepropose the Get A Life Project, which willhave a negligible effect on housing conditionsfor low-income women and will probably donothing to change their economic status.2011 Dalya F Massachiwww.dfmassachi.net 37 38. EXERCISE(SPOT THE WEAKNESSES)We dont have an innovative bone in ourbodies, so were just doing the same oldproject that weve always done, and its notpart of any larger plan. In fact, we think thereare already many organizations doing thiswork in our town.2011 Dalya F Massachiwww.dfmassachi.net 38 39. EXERCISE(SPOT THE WEAKNESSES)Based on no community feedback orinvolvement, we believe that our Get A LifeProject will provide much-needed assistance.Its not clear how we will do this work, but weare sure that well come up with something.To be sure, we definitely will not beevaluating it.2011 Dalya F Massachiwww.dfmassachi.net 39 40. EXERCISE(SPOT THE WEAKNESSES)Our project does not address any of yourpriority areas, but we know you will make anexception because of our good intentions. Wewill have to indefinitely rely on yourfoundation to sustain our work. Otherwisewill have to close.Sincerely,Wanda Grant2011 Dalya F Massachiwww.dfmassachi.net 40 41. FINAL THOUGHT"Find a subject you care about and whichyou in your heart feel others should careabout. It is this genuine caring, not yourgames with language, which will be themost compelling and seductive element inyour style. Kurt Vonnegut 2011 Dalya F Massachi www.dfmassachi.net41 42. Your special discount:www.dfmassachi.net/event.html 2 BONUS HANDOUTS: 1) Proposal Checklist 2) Sample Cover Letter ~Both Available on the Same Website!~2011 Dalya F Massachi 42www.dfmassachi.net 43. Find the listings for our current season of webinars and register atNonprofitWebinars.com Chris DumasChris@NonprofitWebinars.com 707-812-1234 Special Thanks To Our Sponsors