Looking at the five grants proposals was a really interesting experience because I always wondered what a grant proposal “looked like” but it’s a very diverse genre. I noticed that though they are all very different in style but that they all had quite a lot in common.
Distinguishing characteristics that the 5 grant proposals included:
- Mission of the organization
- Purpose of the organization
- Statistics to show why the existence of the organization is beneficial (Most, though not all, used resources to back up those statistics.)
- Information to increase their credibility (usually statistics of what they already accomplished, this includes, amount of people they have helped, awards they have received, amount of money they raised for their cause in the past, etc. They may also name organizations that support them, that are already credible such as, Publix or Bank of America)
- Challenges that they are facing or may face and strategies to overcome them.
- Why they need help from the foundations they are writing to.
- Amount of money needed to accomplish their goals
- What they plan on doing with their grants in detail.
- Projected date to accomplish their goals or make a change in their communities.
- Detailed plan of their end goals.
I found the biggest difference to be the structure. Two of the proposals (from Building Tomorrow and Southeast Community College) had a pre-prepared form with instructions from the foundations that they had to fill out, they seemed more like a “grant application”. While the other three seemed to be more “free” in what they wrote, two of them (Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine and Quest, Inc) seemed more organized and structured in their proposals because they had various headings and sections to organize their ideas and information, while the other one (Lexington Habitat For Humanity) seemed to intertwine their information and make it flow all together. Another small differences, was the type of statistics and resource used but a lot of it seemed to depend on what the goals of the organizations were. For example, Quest and Lakeland Volunteers had completely different goals, so naturally their information was varied.
I believe that what makes an effective grant proposal is having clear defined goals, it is critical that the funders know exactly what they are supporting and where their money and/or services are helping accomplished. It’s very important to clearly state your vision, short term goals, and long term goals, as well as dates. I also believe that it is extremely important to list resources when using statistics and having good credibility, it’s beneficial to have proof of what has been accomplished in the past, along with realistic goals, to prove that what you want can be accomplished.