This is the third post of a five-part blog series by Jim Hegarty, P.E., Prein&Newhof’s Grants and Financing Specialist.
Once you have identified your project and found a prospective funding source, it is time to make your pitch! Usually, this means writing a grant or funding proposal. Every organization has its own proposal format and scoring system. Here are eight key items to include somewhere in your proposal:
- Succinctly summarize your proposal in one paragraph or less—it is your headline!
- Provide information on how you will manage the grant. Show them that you have managed similar grants before and that their money will be in good hands.
- Tailor how you describe your need/project/activity in a way that matches the scoring criteria and the funding program’s objectives.
- Outline your work plan and project cost. The more detail you have, the better.
- Identify your source(s) of “matching” money. You need “skin in the game” for most grants.
- Outline your plan to maintain any physical assets once the funding is gone.
- Explain future project phases, if applicable.
- Get your grant before you write the proposal!
Item #8 bears some explanation. Before you write any funding proposal, engage the funding organization in a discussion about your project/proposal. Invite them to meet with you. Get their advice and feedback. Moreover, since developing a funding application is time-consuming and expensive, ask them if your project is a good candidate for funding before you begin the application process.