What is grant? Usually, the response that I hear is “free money”! A quick Google search yields the definition “a sum of money given by an organization, especially a government, for a particular purpose”. While your organization will not be required to pay back grant money that has been awarded to you, there are definitely strings attached (that does not sound “free” to me). We will have to address those “strings” at a later time.

For now, let’s discuss a few tips to help you write an effective grant proposal. A grant proposal is often referred to as a Request for Proposal (RFP) or Request for Application (RFA). In the for-profit arena, this is very similar to responding to a Bid Request (Invitation to Bid/Invitation to Negotiate). In the RFP/RFA, the funding agency provides guidance related to the eligible activities that they will fund, what they would like to see in the proposal, and how to submit the application.

In order to increase your chances of winning a grant award, consider these helpful tips;

1. Read and re-read the RFP. Follow the guidelines set by the funding agency to the letter (page limits, formatting, budget restrictions, deadlines, submission requirements, etc.)

2. Research the funding agency. What have they funded in the past? Do they target a particular geographic area? How does your program support their mission? Can you meet their match requirements, if any?

3. Attend any live or online Application Workshops that they offer? If allowed, call the funding agency for more information, or to pitch your idea and gauge their interest.

4. Collaborate with local organizations that provide similar or complementary services. No one agency can do everything on its own. Funding agencies like to see organizations come together to reach more individuals and avoid duplication of services.

5. Do not wait until the last minute. Give yourself plenty of time to pull together a strong proposal. Answer all of the questions asked in the RFP. Have someone review your proposal prior to submitting it.

6. Follow Up. Whether your proposal receives a Yes or a Not Yet, contact the funding agency for feedback. This will allow you to continue perfecting your proposal for future funding opportunities.

Do you have a grant proposal that you would like us to review? Email us at info@belltowergroup.org or give us a call at (786)232-0771 or (888)778-5930.

Founded in 2009, BellTower Consulting Group has assisted nonprofit organizations and municipalities in securing grant funding for youth programs, social services, infrastructure, parks and recreation, arts programming and much more.


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