How to find money for your project: PART 3 – Make Your Pitch!

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:

  1. Succinctly summarize your proposal in one paragraph or less—it is your headline!
  2. 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.
  3. Tailor how you describe your need/project/activity in a way that matches the scoring criteria and the funding program’s objectives.
  4. Outline your work plan and project cost. The more detail you have, the better.
  5. Identify your source(s) of “matching” money. You need “skin in the game” for most grants.
  6. Outline your plan to maintain any physical assets once the funding is gone.
  7. Explain future project phases, if applicable.
  8. 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.

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