Avoid Common Mistakes when writing Grant Proposals
Funders do not make grants to organizations simply because their proposals are well-written.
They consider many criteria when evaluating an organization’s grant worthiness including the following:
o Financial stability
o Healthy financial practices
o A strong,
active board of directors
o A solid reputation
o Services that address a serious need
o Community support
o Well-qualified program and administrative staff
with other organizations
o Diversified sources of revenue
o A successful volunteer program
Nonetheless, the grant proposal is a reflection of the strength and viability of an
organization. Therefore, it should be well-written and easy to read. It should also provide factual and comprehensive
information about the organization and its programs. In addition, a proposal should clearly define what sets the organization
apart from its competitors.
No document can ever
be perfect, but to be effective a grant proposal must be as error free as possible. Listed below are mistakes that can
hurt a proposal’s chances of persuading a funder to award a grant to your organization.
o The proposal does not include enough details about the organization or the program.
o The problem that the proposal addresses is not significant, especially when compared to other social problems.
o The problem is not explained in enough detail.
o The proposal does not include enough documentation about
the problem (i.e., statistics and case studies).
o The proposal does not specifically state how the money will be
o There are no measurable program objectives.
o Program activities do not adequately address the
o Program evaluation is not sufficient.
o The proposal rambles and contains jargon.
proposal contains grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors.
o The information is not presented in a logical, well-thought
Writing a well-organized grant proposal can be a difficult
task, but it is not impossible. Compelling proposals are developed on the foundation of a well-managed, stable organization.
Good writing skills, knowledge of the grant proposal writing process, and a clear understanding of the potential funder’s
guidelines are also key ingredients for developing winning grant proposals.
Copyright © 2009 Katherine Williams
All rights reserved.