Every Foundation is different and therefore every grant proposal you submit will be different, even if it is for the same program and requests the same dollar amount as the one before. Before you sit down to write a grant proposal, spend some time studying the prospective funder and their unique application process.
Go back to your research – to the Foundation’s website, or their Form 990, or other research collected – and review the mission of the foundation and their funding priorities. Be sure your organization and program still align with their focus. Look at their past giving histories – what types of organizations are they giving to? Learn their language – do they talk in buzzwords or in more formal jargon?
Understanding the application process is an important step in your preparation. Do they require a formal proposal or do they want a one – page summary of your request? Pay attention to deadline and submission requirements – is it a written application or on-line? Does the proposal need to be “post marked” by the deadline or “received by”? Do they want one copy or multiple copies?
Following a Foundation’s directions accurately and thoroughly is critical to a successful submission. Foundations are overwhelmed with funding requests – no matter how strong of a proposal you write, it may never have a chance if it fails to meet the requirements.