This past week has been one for the books! I had the opportunity to complete my first GRANT APPLICATION! While it was not for a huge amount of money, if we receive this funding, it will make a difference in the lives of the youth we serve. That’s what it’s all about right? Well that and the fact that I could say that I successfully applied for a grant and obtained the requested funds.
I was, and still am, grateful that my supervisor trusted me enough to give me this opportunity. I felt like Frodo Baggins on his quest to burn the ring. However, unlike Mr. Baggins, I had the guidance of my supervisor during the entire process. She was able to show me previous grant applications for funds that the organization had been successful in obtaining, answered any and all of my questions, corrected at least 10 drafts, and basically was the G.O.A.T.
Now that I am out of the woods I thought I’d share some tips I think would be helpful for any first time grant writers.
- Read the directions THOROUGHLY
- I literally wrote a whole 1-page description on the wrong thing. Luckily I was still able to use it. DO NOT MAKE THIS MISTAKE!
- If your organization has applied for other grants, LOOK THEM OVER
- This will give you a feel for the wording and branding the organization is putting out there. This will also allow you to see what has worked and what hasn’t.
- BE SPECIFIC
- You must be specific about how your project or organization aligns with the objective of the grant. For instance, how does your project meet the goal of providing stable and affordable hosing for undeserved communities?
- NUMBERS MATTER
- The organization/foundation will want to see how the money will be used in detail and what the organization’s overall budget is. They do not want to give money to any organization that is not doing a good job of managing their funds.
- STAND OUT
- Make sure they know why this project or organization is doing something creative or unique compared to the other applicants. If you are providing the same services as other organizations explain how the organization is taking a different stance or having a different impact.
- IT TAKES A VILLAGE
- You will need to work with everyone in your organization. Make sure you are able to get updated facts and figures about the population your organization serves, the impact of the programs or services offered, and the needs of the community that you work in. This will help the organization understand who the organization is and why they should give you money. (I had to ask almost everyone in the building for data from their programs)
- Finally and most importantly for your mental health; just breathe. We are not perfect and the learning process is filled with mistakes. Do not worry about it. If you get knocked down 9 times, get up 10. (You can thank Cardi B for that one.)