Write better grants. Make more money.

How to know exactly what a grant funder is looking for

One of the easiest ways  to understand what a particular grant competition is looking for  is to read applications that have been funded in the past. Reading a previously funded grant is like reading a map – it gives you one way to get to your destination, but it certainly doesn’t give you the only way.  Thus, I never copy  from these applications – doing so would not only be unethical but would be inappropriate for the project I am proposing; each project should be constructed and implemented in a way that is unique to the applicant agency’s need.  However, I do read these applications to gain a better understanding of how to organize the proposal, which elements of my program to emphasize, what data might be compelling in the needs statements, and other general aspects of an application.

Here are three places you can find previously funded grant proposals:

1) The Funder:  Call and ask if they are willing to share successful applications from the past.  Most of them will be willing.

2)Freedom of Information Act Reading Room:  Because all federal and state grants are subject to the freedom of information act (and available to the public) the Department of Education has made it very easy for you to access more grants than you’d ever want to read.

FOIA Reading Room

3)School Grants: A great resource for all grant writers, this website also has several sample grants.  Consider subscribing to the monthly newsletter – I’ve been a subscriber for 4 years and find it to be one of the most valuable tools in my grant writing.

School Grants

About Katie

the editor of Find Funding. Her writing about grants & nonprofits has been published in Charity Channel's Grants & Foundation Review and NONPROFIT WORLD.

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