Grant writing can be a confusing endeavor, especially for new nonprofits, or even established nonprofits that have simply never gone through the grant writing process. Let’s take a look at how grant writing works.
The grant writing process
First, a grant writer must identify funding opportunities through a process called grant prospect research. At Professional Grant Writers, this is a service we can provide. Some clients have already performed a search and know what grants they want to pursue.
First contact with a funder
Then, we often encourage clients to reach out to a foundation, with or without our guidance, so they can determine if the grant opportunity is a good fit. This helps clarify the funder’s priorities and answer any questions. Some foundations don’t publish contact information or ask that you not contact them, which we of course honor. This is an important step in how grant writing works.
Writing the grant
Sometimes, the next step in the grant writing process is submitting an LOI, or letter of inquiry. This is a pre-application that helps the funder determine whether they’d like to see a full application. Other grantmakers ask that you submit a full application right from the start. In either case, we work closely with key staff from the client organization to develop a competitive proposal that meets the funder’s guidelines. We ask our clients to do a thorough read-through before submission to make sure the application is accurate. This is another key part of how grant writing works.
Submission and follow up
After submission, the application goes through a review process that is unique to each funder. Sometimes you may hear a yes or no right away. Other times, the review process can take several months. In the case of a rejection, we encourage a follow-up email or phone call to learn more and perhaps open the door for improvement. You may be able to apply again in the future. This last piece is an overlooked aspect of how grant writing works. Reapplying after a rejection can increase your chances of success.
If your grant is awarded, you’ll get a check in the mail. There’s often a reporting requirement that allows the funder to track the status of the funds’ usage, usually at the six-month and one-year mark. It’s important to take these reports seriously, as they’re essentially miniature grant applications that will help set your organization up for renewal funding in the next cycle.
Now that you know how grant writing works, you’re ready to start applying! Learn more about our grant writing services here.