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Seven Things To Do Before Writing

by Michelle K. Carter

Training Handout

The seven steps listed below can be used as a guide to help you to get organized

Grant writing is more than just putting together pieces of information in accordance with funders' guidelines. It is a process that requires organization, especially in light of impending deadlines. With a limited staff and time constraints, organization is a necessity. In order for your time to be managed efficiently, a plan for organizing grant information should be in place before you begin to write.

1. Identify the Need/Problem:

Funders are looking for ways to eliminate need. That is, to close the "gap" between how things are and how things should be.

You should prepare a statement that substantiates your need including statistical data that supports your need.

2. Collect Background Information:

You should have readily available documentation about your organization. This collection of information should include your organization's mission statement, a list of accomplishments, a list of previous funders and programs funded, the resumes of key staff members, and financial statements.

3. Develop a Grant Writing Team:

Identify all tasks for the grant writing process. Assess the skills of each staff member to determine who will be responsible for each task.

Who will conduct the research? Who will write? Who will compile the budget information? Who will type, make copies, etc.?

4. Research and Identify Funding Sources:

Many foundations have web sites on the Internet providing guidelines and application information. There are also printed directories that list thousands of foundations and a number of government agencies that provide grants.

As you identify potential funders, ask yourself the following questions: Does the funder's mission match our needs? Do we meet the funder's eligibility requirements? Is the possibility of funding good?

Create a profile for each potential funder.

5. Contact Potential Funders:

To obtain guidelines and applications, contact those funders whose missions match your needs. This initial contact is the first step for cultivating a relationship with the funder.

6. Contact Previous Grantees:

Prior grantees are generally listed on the funder's web site. This list is evidence of what a particular funder is interested in funding.

Contact at least three of these grantees. Ask them about their experience with the funder and why they think they were successful. Try to get a copy of one of the grants to use as a model.

7. Develop a Proposal Production Plan:

This plan should include:

  • a list of your goals and objectives;
  • an outline of the elements of the proposal and who is responsible for each;
  • an activity schedule detailing who will do what and when; and
  • scheduled meetings with the grant writing team.

Now, with guidelines and applications in hand, start writing!

If you represent a not-for-profit organization,
you are invited to write for further guidance.
It is best to write an email message with a specific question.

See also: Grants, Credit and Poverty Reduction.

If you copy text from this site, please acknowledge the author(s)
and link it back to cec.vcn.bc.ca/cmp/

© Copyright 1967, 1987, 2007 Phil Bartle
Web Design by Lourdes Sada
Last update: 2012.06.28

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