Nonprofit Grant Writing 101

nonprofit grant writing in a forest of compition

Getting your nonprofit grant writing to stand out in the crowd

When preparing for a grant submission, there are a variety of tasks that are needed to satisfy the application process. Organization information like audited financials, the 501c3 determination letter, lists of key staff and board members are all among the common requests. Successful nonprofit grant writing requires, along with all the required information, the ability to convey a set of values that will move your proposal into the accepted pile of applications.

Nonprofits are inspired by mission, committed to solving societal challenges, and most often staffed by staff passionate for the cause. The granting organization provides the fuel to make the goals possible. So it is essential that the grant writing convey the inspiration and passion effectively. Along with this emotional basis which should permeate your proposal, there are two key values that need to be stressed.


Authenticity in nonprofit grant writing requires the organization to be true to its personality, values, and spirit. The ability to convey an honest assessment of the organization’s strengths and weakness, scope of services, and impact is key to ensure that authenticity is evident in your proposal. Communicating candidly about foreseen challenges to successful outcomes also bolsters your authenticity.


Proposals are inviting the funder into a partnership that is based on a vision of a shared future. Being accurate regarding what is possible, and detailed regarding what is needed, is essential. Attempt to answer questions with your writing before they need to be asked.

Accuracy in big things and small, I can’t stress too much how important this is. While you might be able to effectively administer a million dollar program, make sure the budget contains no errors. No spelling mistakes, either!

In conclusion, as you prepare your next nonprofit grant proposal, remember that your submission may be the only window into your organization that the reviewer will ever have. Take the time needed to convey what make your nonprofit unique. Share why the community supports your work. And be confident that becoming a partner will serve the goals of the potential funder

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