Grant writing is extremely competitive; even the best prepared organizations often fail. To increase your chances of success, here are four common grant writing mistakes to avoid.
Starting before you’re truly grant ready
Grant writing success depends on a well developed application from a well prepared organization. That means you should never start applying for grants before your organization is truly “grant ready.” Nonprofits and other organizations that do not have a robust fundraising plan outside of grant writing, for example, will struggle to win grants. There are lots of other considerations, too, when deciding if your organization is ready to apply and compete for grants.
Not aligning with the funder
All funders publish their priorities and interests when it comes to grant making. One of the biggest grant writing mistakes is to overlook certain details of these guidelines. It’s important to read a grantmaker’s guidelines, website, 990s, and any other published information carefully before applying. When in doubt, call the foundation to learn more about their priorities.
Writing weak goals and objectives
Goals and objectives are a critical part of any grant application. Therefore, you want to make sure you fully understand how to write this section, and write it well. Skimping on this section would be one of the biggest grant writing mistakes you can make. Here are some basics of goals and objectives to help you with this part of the grant application.
Failing to develop funder relationships
Developing strong funder relationships is a critical part of grant writing success. Long-term relationships mean long-term funding for your organization. This is especially true when it comes to foundation and corporate grant funding; less so for government grants. You have multiple opportunities to forge strong relationships with funders during the grant writing process. This includes calling the funder before you apply, keeping the funder informed of any changes at your organization, and following up if you do not receive the grant.
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