Creative Thinking = Good Grant Writing
There is no secret formula, no magic bullet, no golden rule to a successful grant proposal. There are, however, a number of tools and approaches the creative grant writer can utilize to greatly increase the odds of success.
What follows are best practices and proven methods in a foundation approach gleaned from experience and open and frank discussions with other professionals in the field.
For the purposes of this article, we will assume that you have already chosen the best program or angle for general support that your organization is seeking to fund. Your letter of inquiry is concise, chock-full of focused passion and has great statistics to back it up. It’s just waiting to be addressed and sent. You are ready to go.
You take out your list of foundations — that list so full of potential, so ripe with promise that you cannot wait to get started.
This list should include foundations relevant to your work gleaned not only from FoundationSearch.com or its equivalent, but also via:
- Word-of-mouth — use your network! Fellow professionals, fundraisers, grant writers and nonprofit people have lots of industry knowledge based on current and previous positions.
- Online searches — Google is your friend.
- Websites of organizations similar to yours that list their sponsors and supporters.
- Friends and family — they may not work for nonprofits, but they do read and hear things potentially relevant to what you are seeking.
- Newspapers, articles, blogs.
- Google Alerts that you have programmed with keywords relevant to your field.
Before typing the name of the first foundation into the space in your letter that currently says “X Foundation,” take a look at the additional information provided about the foundation.
Read through the board of trustees. Does a person in your organization or perhaps a supporter know someone on the board? Think widely here; use your social-media networks, contacts and people you’ve helped out in the past. You’d be surprised who went to school with whom or who dated whom way back when. Check out where the foundation is based. Is anyone in your network — personal or professional — from the same town? A connection can ease the process of getting your proposal reviewed and is worth looking into.