8 Things Funders Look for in a Grant Proposal

April 12, 2022
min read

Are you seeking to win grant funding to kickstart or scale your business or non-profit?

Are you tired of getting ‘rejection mails’ from funders?

We’ve got you covered.

Winning grant funds can be a game-changer for your organization. Grants help you kickstart your business, execute planned projects, and scale your organization. But, while the idea of winning them sounds exciting, the process is not. Grant writing is an arduous process and requires long hours of research, strategizing, and writing.

Most importantly, you MUST know the main things that funders look for in a grant proposal.

Here are the eight things that funders look for in a grant proposal:

1. Need Statement:

A need statement outlines the public need that the grant proposal seeks to address.  Your need statement must:

  • Link to the funder’s agenda. Funders have obvious objectives for how their money is spent.
  • Use data and trends: Support your claims about your problem with data and trends.
  • State the main problem clearly and succinctly.
  • Paint a picture: Use stories, case stories, and analogies to make your need statement vivid.
  • Show the urgency of the problem.

2. Strategic Alignment:

Your project must align with the funder’s priorities and goals to get funding. For instance, a funder invested in the educational space will fund your project if it's education-based. Hence, your project should align with the funding priorities and goals of the funding organization.

3. Project Goal:

Your project goal must be clear, focused, and complete. You need to clearly describe the proposed projects, activities, and strategies to achieve the desired results. Your approach should be justified. Note that funders have a lot of projects to review, so don’t make your project ambiguous.

4. Innovative Approach:

Your funder expects to see innovative approaches in your project.  Show how your project is unique from other community projects. Show how your project is an innovative concept with the potential to change the status quo in the target community.  

5. Project Budget:

Your budget should be realistic and justified. The requested amount should be within funding guidelines, with a declining amount each year, and may include matching funds.

6. Organizational History:

Funders need to know that they can trust your organization to help solve competently the community problem you are addressing. You need to show your history, leadership, and ability to implement projects.  They also need to know that you are a reliable and respected presence in your field. For instance, if your organization wants to implement a health project, the donor will assess if it has previous experience in handling health projects and at what level.

7. Financial Health:  

Financial statements should indicate that your organization has been financially solvent for five years with a healthy and balanced funding mix that is diversified. No funder wants to fund you beyond what you can handle.

8. Sustainability:

Your project should have specific and realistic plans for the long-term sustainability of the project. The funder doesn’t want the project to end after the grant cycle. So, you have to prove that you can handle the project beyond the funding cycle. Show how you intend to attract funding, income and support for your project after grant dollars finish.

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