Thankfully, funders essentially are looking for similar information although at times the questions may be phrased differently.
Here are five questions funders will ask you on every grant application (and you better have a good well-thought-out answer):
#1: "Tell us about your organization."
They want to know your mission, your target audience, collaborations current and past projects, past grant wins, and to learn more about your leadership.
Out of the countless request they receive each year, why should they give to your organization? What makes your organization different?
#2: "What problem/issue/community need are you addressing?"
You may have heard of a needs-based statement. A needs-based statement is where you want to explain what your organization needs and why. Your need should be based on quantitative research and a documented community need. In some cases, this can be augmented by qualitative data. Sharing more about your target audience and geographic focus in this section is super important.
#3: "Tell us about your program/project."
Here is where you want to share or new program or expansion of an existing program. Your program/project needs to be realistic and impactful. Relevant details matter - demonstrate a well-thought-out executable plan with identified resources. Top-notch programs are those with the potential to replicate. Things to consider: staffing, supplies, collaborators, marketing outreach, and details on execution.
#4: "What expenses are associated with this project/program?"
They are essentially asking for your budget narrative. A budget narrative is a written description of your budget detailed by line item and usually created in an Excel spreadsheet or some other software. Many times funders will ask for your actual budget (spreadsheet) as a separate attachment. It is incredibly crucial to make sure that your budget narrative addresses each line in your budget and vice versa.
#5: "How will you measure impact?"
This question stumps most organizations and can be the difference between getting funded and not. Defining metrics of success, outputs, outcomes, and evaluations are the hallmark of this section. Metrics of success need to be S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound). If done right, they can help tell your story to support future funding opportunities. Sitting down and completing a logic model is helpful as well as engaging an external evaluator for help.
Want to learn more about output, outcomes, and evaluations? Let me know and we may include it in a future post.
Shavonn Richardson is Founder of Think and Ink Grant Consulting™ www.thinkandinkgrants.com. She is a grant writer, nonprofit consultant, speaker and an active member of the Grant Professionals Association.