Grant proposals stand out due to many reasons. But, if you are one of the grant applicants, you want your proposal to stand out in the right way. You do not want to be having a grant proposal that stands out because they are missing some attachments. However, one that has a unique way to present the project and still follows the rules the fund needs you to follow. How can you then stand out? What should you do to achieve this as you seek government grants? In this article are tips to help you stand out for the right reasons.
1. Do Your Research
As part of the research, get to know the foundation, and this is not just the summary of program interests, but more. Do thorough funders research of their materials? Including annual reports, websites, and other vital things, to see what programs they have funded before. Importantly, avoid just relying on their research database. Look for multiple sources, for instance, a foundation website, to ensure the information you are getting is the most recent.
2. Do Not Be a Stranger
Where possible, contact the foundation after you do your research. Have some specific questions you can ask them and any uncertainties you have in the criteria, focus area, and whether your organization is fit. As you do this, demonstrate you have done the research and that the inquiries you are asking are not readily available on other online materials or their website. Even better, try and develop a good relationship with the funders before you apply. Beyond a call, do not be a stranger and find connections to the foundation among your board or staff.
3. Make Your Work Easy to Follow
Make it easy for your reviewer to find their way through your document. As you write your proposal, make it easy for the reviewer to find it easy to follow your application. Avoid long paragraphs. Do not make your reviewer look for your mission statement. Use elements that are easy to skim. Clear headings and subheadings, numbered or bullet lists for things like objectives and goals. Choose an easy-to-read font size unless there are specifics from the foundation, and leave enough white space. Plus, do not forget to include visual aids such as photos or graphs if the proposal format allows.
4. Follow Instructions
Grantmakers are very specific about how they want to receive the proposal. This helps to review a big queue of applications to help them process each package quickly and verify its completeness. For this reason, ensure that you follow the instructions carefully to ensure your proposal does not face dismissal before they consider it. Double-check the word count, font size, staples, double-sided copies, and attachments to avoid and include. If what you attach does not make your proposal stand out in a good way, do not include them. Part of the directions is how to contact them, follow their preferred method of contact, whether it is email, phone call, or full proposal.
5. Remember to Follow Up
Follow-up starts when you get the grant. It is okay to celebrate, but do not put your grant agreement in a drawer after. Send a thank you letter and a signed grant agreement. However, the agreement you sign is different from the user agreements you use online. The grant agreements have vital instructions that you should review carefully for reporting guidelines, expectations, deadlines, among many others. Also, add reporting dates to your calendar, and give yourself and the program staff time to put a report together. As you create the report stand out again and create one with concrete details, clear metrics, and well-answered questions.
6. Make the First Impression
The first chance to stand out and get a funder’s attention is through the cover letter. Here you can reference any personal contact you had with them. Also, add a little touch to it, such as a quote that reflects the work you do. Or a photo of the program that is most recent. Adding such details is a great way to draw the funder in and ground the proposal from the start.