The difference between loans and grants is that a grant is free money with a purpose; however, because you don’t have to pay these funds back, you have to do some great convincing that you really need the money. When writing grant proposals, you will generally have to present an intended goal, explain how you are going to achieve that goal, and show how the money will help you with this goal. Once you get the funding you need; you have to make sure to utilize the funds exactly how it was stated within your proposal.
1. Narrow in on your specific intentions when writing grant proposals. If you state, “For home repairs”, you might as well cancel this off your list as being approved. This can be a very competitive process, especially in an area that is for a popular request. You need to be able to explain in full detail the following: your objective, how you will fulfill your goal, how your project will be beneficial for you and to others, and what you expect from this project.
For example, “I would like to request funds for home improvements in order to provide for my disabled son. My son is in a wheelchair and will need a way to get in and out of our home. I have just received estimates for building a ramp and because of our financial situation, I am not able to pay for this on my own; this is why I am requesting assistance. Once the ramp has been attached to our home, it will be much easier for him [you can go into to explaining how he was able to enter and exit the home before and why a ramp will be better for him now; maybe he had an accident using his crutches, etc.]
2. What are the grants guidelines? This is where you will find how your proposal should be formatted, your submission closing date, details of their budget, and award criteria. Contact information should be available, which will include the name and phone number of the funder.
3. Contact the grantor and get to know them well. This will help tremendously with the decision-making process. Make an introduction, talk about your project intentions and goals, ask about the grantors prior successful grant proposals. Make this an opportunity to get to really know your grant provider.
4. Base your submission off the grantor’s guidelines and present it resume-style. Your proposal should have a cover letter. Utilize the funder’s guidelines to answer any questions or to fulfill any objectives they may have. Your proposal should be very formal. Make sure to proofread your submission and then have several others proofread your proposal as well.
5. Get a few letters of recommendation ready. Let your reference know the guidelines of this submission and give them the necessary forms and envelopes to ensure they have what they need before mailing your recommendation off to the grantor. Give them at least two weeks to get these out. After a week, you may need to remind your reference again in regards to the deadline.
6. When you are writing grant proposals, you never want to miss the deadline. Make sure to give yourself enough time to deliver this package. It may be smart to mail it out priority and to get a tracking number to keep track of your shipment.