The grant writing world is wide and diverse. There are scores of funders, foundations, and groups seeking funding for all manner of activities. Here, we look at the four type of grants you’re likely to encounter. And we’ll give some basic application strategies for formulating the best proposals in each category.
With seed funding, a grantmaker is giving funds to start a new project or organization. This type of grant offers funding for a pilot project that doesn’t yet have outcomes testing its validity. And that’s a departure from all other types of grants, where applicants have to prove their idea works and thus deserves funding. In order to compete, the applicant should show their experience and success with other programs. Barring that, show your team’s strength. And touch on the magnitude of the problem you’re addressing, using research to tie your solution to that problem.
This type of grant focuses on simply continuing the work that your organization is already doing, at its current scale. Most foundation grant funding falls into this category. The funder is simply paying for existing line items in your program budget, so your organization can continue doing the established work. For this type of grant, you’ll want to show your past successes with the work. Prove that your work and your approach are succeeding. Even better, show how you plan to make improvements in efficiency, cost structure, staffing, etc.
This type of grant refers to a nonprofit’s efforts to reach a greater number of people with an existing, proven program. It can also refer to expanding the organization itself. With an expansion grant, you’ll want to show that your existing work is valuable and impactful. It’s been proven on a smaller scale, and is ready for expansion to a larger population. With these applications, you should show those successes and the strength of your evaluation methods. Show that you have laid the groundwork for expansion, whether that’s by bringing on new partners, hiring additional staff, finding new locations to do the work, etc.
With a replication grant, you’re attempting to take a proven program, solution, or intervention, and apply it elsewhere. Perhaps there is another location or population that needs the same approach. Usually, grantmakers use this term to refer to the work of one organization being replicated by another. Thus, it’s different from an expansion grant, which refers to the growth of a program within a single organization. Similar to the expansion grant, the application should show the strength of the program and evaluation methods, as well as your organization’s ability to take on the work.
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