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The Journey of Grantwriting: Part 1

Grant Definitions

  • •*RFP-Request for Proposal/ RFQ-Request for Quote* - A legally prepared document issued by the bid-letting agency/business requesting a drafted proposal or quote for service or product from a qualified vendor.

  • •*Proposal*- Primarily a free flowing grant request. In addition, available to you will be the template tool/tools to assist in drafting your proposal. By contacting the funder and requesting their guidelines, this will assure you meet their criteria. You will encounter funders making PDF files available to the writer. You will intercept the forms by having the appropriate software to convert the documents to be useable. In addition you will know that you are following the funders’ exact criteria.

  • •*Grant*- This is a cash award given by the funder. This is a well structured written request asking for money from a foundation, government or a corporation.

  • •*Action Plan*- A well organized drafted list that moves you towards your goals and objectives (similar to a “To do” list). This document will indicate to you that you are moving forward in your project. Once you complete a task, check it off and add a new task in its place; this is an ongoing document. An action plan will be a necessary and a useful tool toward drafting your strategic plan.

  • •*Strategic Plan*-Two types of strategic plans:
    1. Simple Strategic Plan -This plan is designed to guide business operations for a short time span (i.e.-one year).
    2. Long Range Strategic Plan – This plan is intended to guide business operations for several years. Further, you can and should utilize your Simple Strategic Plan when building your Long Range Strategic Plan.

  • •*Steps for Drafting a Strategic Plan:
    Goals – Outcomes and measurable benchmarks
    Objectives – Specific and measurable (include a time frame)
    Allocation – The dollar amount you assign to each of your line items. The budget summary is the skeletal outline of how your project’s total cost is allocated to your line items. When your funder requests a budget summary, they only want to see a graphic table (your creation) or the form provided by the funder. This includes your main budget line items and the total amounts for every category. Do not input your budget narrative in the budget summary.

  • Announcement* – Both federal grants along with cooperative agreement announcements use two types of announcements:

    1) General – Words or phases that will appear in all funding announcements
    2) Program specific – Terms that are used in connection with a particular program

    REMEMBER: Understanding both types of these terms and using them correctly in the content of your application can increase your review criteria points and your chances of getting grant recommendations.

  • •*Application Checklist* -The funder usually will include an application checklist to be utilized to ensure all documents are included prior to submission.

  • •*Audit* – In regards to non-profit agencies, if you receive either federal or state funding you can expect an audit to be completed.

    REMEMBER: With your grant award, do not move monies around without written permission from your funder (state or federal). By doing so, you put both your board and administrative staff at risk of being prosecuted by either the state or the federal governments.

  • •*Bid Opportunities* – Same as Request for Proposal (RFP). Bid opportunities are located in your local newspaper under the legal section, usually located under the legal section of the local paper.

  • •*Budget Summary* – Your funder will want to know how the funding dollars will be spent during your project, known as the budget detail. All dollars spent should be described within your project design section of your application.

  • •*Budget* – The current organization’s operating fiscal budget total for the current fiscal year.

  • •*Budget Narrative* – The budget narrative follows the budget summary. This piece supports your budget summary graph and details each budget expense. You will want to check with the funder if both the budget summary and budget narrative are required in your proposal.

  • •*Budget Plan Accuracy* – If you are unsure of a budget figure (for example, if you are adding a new program position), collaborate and call other local non-profit agencies and inquire if they have the following position and, if so, the individual’s salary. Another avenue available to you is the internet to research the perspective position.

  • •*Cash Contribution-Letter of request for* – A well drafted letter requesting cash contributions can result in funding availability for the following: building fund, endowment funds, program needs and operating expenses.

  • •*Cash match* – A cash commitment in the form of a contribution toward your project expenses. In-kind contributions: In-kind contributions can come in many forms: personnel, office space, supplies, printing services and other needed items.

    REMEMBER: Funders are impressed by in-kind contributions so be sure to talk about these contributions throughout your proposal.

  • •*Collaborative partner* – Can be government, social or human services agencies at the local, state or regional levels that use their resources to assist your organization in delivering services funded by your grant. Approach collaborative partners if you need ongoing working relationships in order to carry out your grant funded activities.

    Collaborative partners assist in drafting and signing Memorandums of Understanding (MOU’S) or Memorandums of Agreement (MOA’s). Either of these documents are working agreements that indicate the scope of services that will be delivered by the partnering agency and by the grant applicant (a sample of this document has been enclosed in your binder). Funders may request you enclose these documents as attachments in your grant. Make sure you note them in your index or as an attachment.

  • •*Denial* – If your grant project was not funded you will have some critical steps to take in explaining why your project was not funded. Your first step will be to contact the funder and ask why your proposal was not funded. Frequently, funders will request you put this in writing as they will want record of your request. Second, when you learn where your weaknesses are, develop a plan to rewrite these sections in your narrative. Consider submitting your proposal to other funders. For most grants, funders will allow you to reapply in the next funding cycle (one year later in most cases). It is imperative to review your prior proposal submission, improving your sections on your proposal that had gray areas or raised questions from the panel review board.

  • •*Desktop resources* – When utilizing desk top resources The Foundation Center is the largest and best tool available. The Foundation has a large and extensive online catalog of funding publications. Refer to go to the marketplace to locate directories that you will refer and use often.

  • •*DUNS number* – A seven digit EIN (employer identification number). The number is assigned to your organization by the IRS. An EIN can also be referred as a taxpayer reporting number. You may register for a unique DUNS number at the Dunn & Bradstreet Web site,

  • •*E-grant Electronic Submission of Proposal* – An electronic grant submission web site available to grant seekers and grant makers is If you chose to investigate, begin by the Online Demonstrations link; you will have available to you a trail of the online application process. Another electronic grant submission web site is the web site. We will discuss this in greater detail when we review Web sites.

  • •*Federal Register* – This is the primary resource for locating information on grants. The web site address: This resource makes available to you approximately 900 grant programs that are offered by federal grant making agencies.

  • •*Geographic area served* -This is where you describe your project in the following order: city, county, state. Some funding is designated to specific states, and some funders even select individual counties within a state for funding a project.

  • •*Gloom and doom words* – This is where you want to “play up the bad stuff” to make your sentences more memorable to the reviewer (see third page of this article).

  • •*History of organization/major accomplishments* – Write about who founded your organization, when it was founded, its purpose, its mission and its location. You may add any additional information that you feel will give the reviewer a better understanding of your organization.

  • •*Logic Model* – The logic model the United Way of America drafted for their member agencies is a blueprint of the key elements of a proposed program. A logic model looks at inputs, activities, outputs, outcomes, and impacts.

  • •*Mission Statement* – Provide a short, simple summary of your organization’s mission statement. Foundations ask for this summary on the cover form of national and regional grant applications. Keep your summary to one short paragraph, no larger than five sentences.

  • •*Narrative (length)* – General guide, plan to draft one page for every five review points assigned to each narrative section. The Review Criteria will tell you how many review scoring points are assigned to each section of the narrative.

  • •*Needs statement* – The needs statement is the place not only to write about your own research findings on the target population but also to bring in facts and figures from regional and national research.

  • •*Objectives* – Refer back to slide number 11 for definition of both objective and goal.

  • •*Proofreading application* – Have a colleague proof and edit all your work. Select an individual that is not intimidated about making changes and editing your mistakes. Usually I have a third and sometimes a fourth individual proof my proposal. I also select an individual that knows nothing about the project. Begin this process early, approximately one week prior to the due date.

  • •*Reading guidelines* – READ ALL GUIDELINES. First, read to check due dates, number of awards, average size of grants and eligible applicants. Second, read to review technical requirements. This may mean the grant competition requires that you submit to the state agency for pre-approval prior to the final submission date. Third, read for narrative content requirements. These sections walk you through the narrative content requirements (on the third read I have a highlighter and post it notes available, and I am making mental reminders).

  • •*Signature* – Make sure all required signatures have been put into place. This is an area you will want to check and double check, as an unsigned area could warrant your proposal to be rejected.

  • •*Table of Contents* – Including a table of contents depends on the grant application guidelines. Again read guidelines closely. The table of contents should not include the abstract or executive summary as these sections always precede the table of contents. Only the main sections of the grant application are listed, appendixes are listed and numbered. Federal or state mandated forms are listed.

  • •*Thesaurus* – I have multiple desk references available including a dictionary and thesaurus. I believe you can utilize a thesaurus to your advantage when looking for a particular descriptive word when drafting your proposal.

  • •*Time to wait for response* – Federal grant: 3 to 6 months. State grant: up to 6 months. Foundation grant: expect to wait up to 12 months. Corporate grant: expect to wait up to 6 months. The clock starts ticking when the proposal is mailed.

  • W.K. Kellogg Foundation handbook describes how to conduct an evaluation. You may obtain this by going to

    Next: Tune your basic writing skills.