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How to Write a Grant Proposal

If your organization has come up with a great idea that needs money to get off the ground, you'll need a great proposal. Here's how to write one.


  • Step 1: Research the funder Identify institutions that have funded projects similar to yours. Make sure your project adheres closely to their goals and mission.
  • TIP: You may need to submit an initial inquiry letter or application form before sending a detailed proposal.
  • Step 2: Write a cover letter Write a one-page cover letter explaining what your organization does. Highlight a critical problem or need that your project seeks to address, and how a grant will help make that happen.
  • Step 3: Write the body of the proposal Break down your funding requests into categories, including your organization's staff, any extra personnel that might be necessary, and the methods and costs required for the project's execution. Include any statistics or reports that document a need that the project will meet.
  • TIP: Funding organizations often have specific instructions for how to write the proposal – be sure to follow them precisely!
  • Step 4: Write a budget Include an itemized, detailed budget for the amount each element will cost.
  • TIP: Don't automatically ask for the maximum grant amount. A request that's not a round number may come across as more honest and thorough.
  • Step 5: Show examples Add news reports or letters of recommendation about your organization's achievements with previous grants. If you don't have any, ask for letters from people you've worked with.
  • Step 6: Conclude In a couple of paragraphs, conclude by explaining what you'll be able to accomplish once you complete this project, outlining how you will follow up your proposal, and briefly repeating the importance of the work you'd like to accomplish.
  • TIP: Pay attention to the conclusion – it's the last impression you'll leave.
  • Step 7: Submit Send your proposal according to the instructions, and meet all deadlines. Be prepared to submit additional materials while your proposal is under review, and be patient . A decision can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months.
  • FACT: There are about 88,000 philanthropic foundations in the U.S. alone!

You Will Need

  • An idea for a project that needs funding
  • A computer with internet access

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