Tips for Creating a Strong Grant Application

The Foundation reviews hundreds of grant applications each year. Creating a strong grant application takes thought, research, and most importantly time. These tips are intended to help and guide grant writers to building a better application.

1. Read and Follow Directions

  • Before you even type the first word, make sure you read through the grant criteria and requirements to determine if your request will fit.
  • Read all application instructions to understand the rules for submitting an application.
  • Be aware of the deadline dates, the range of the grant amount (if given), and any specifications for attachments.
  • Be sure to include all of the information that is asked for in the format requested.

2. Do your homework

  • Be able to explain why your proposed program is important and how it matches with the Foundation’s grant guidelines.
  • If others are doing similar work explain what makes your work unique.

3. Write in a simple, direct, and persuasive style

  • Make sure your ideas are organized and easy to understand.
  • Don’t use jargon or other special words that people outside of your field will not know.
  • Spell out abbreviations.
  • Do not assume that the funder knows anything about your mission or the proposed program. Provide a detailed explanation of the proposed program goals and demonstrate how you plan to accomplish those goals.

4. Submit an effective project budget

  • The budget section is the backbone of a grant application. While budgets may vary widely from one organization to the next, the goal of the project budget is to help Foundation staff understand the scope of the proposed program for which an organization is requesting funding. It is important to show exactly how the funds will be used and should include all revenue and expenses related to the proposed program. Please do not submit your organization’s operating budget as your project budget. Doing so will eliminate your grant application from consideration.
  • Cost estimates should be realistic.
  • Large expenses should include an explanation that details how amounts were derived.
  • Never use the word “Miscellaneous.”

Sample Project Budgets

Below are acceptable sample project budgets.

Project Budget # 1 (PDF)

Project Budget # 2 (PDF)