FAQ: What is the key to a winning grant application?
Every proposal, no matter how modest, should reflect the Friends passion for the refuge. Give the reader goose bumps!
80 percent of your time is in planning the project; 20 percent in writing the grant proposal
Why are you seeking a grant?
- Discuss the need: a new educational program; more space; restore habitat; protect wildlife? Is your proposal innovative? Is it ambitious but realistic?
- Is a grant the most effective way to fund your project? Are there local businesses that might be interested in providing cash or inkind donations? Could a community fundraiser meet your needs?
- Are there organizations or agencies with whom to partner? Who does the problem affect—just the refuge, the whole community, a watershed? Why might other organizations/agencies want to partner with Friends?
- Do you have the skills within the organization or partnership to complete the project?
- What outcomes are you expecting —how will the Friends, the refuge, the community, other partners benefit?
There are four main sources of grants: federal (www.grants.gov), state, foundations and corporations. Be strategic in applying for grants. For each funding source, find out:
Funders are partners: be courteous, respect their time, know their interests, discuss opportunities, build relationships. If you dont win the grant, dont burn bridges. Ask about ways to make your next proposal more competitive. If you win, celebrate!