The other day I finished my Grant Writing course at UCSD Extension. It is part of my certificate program on non-profit management. And it was an interesting class. I learned a lot about writing grants but the biggest thing I learned is that no two grants are the same. They are all different. So you may ask, ‘How do you have a class on grant writing?’

The answer seems to be fairly simple; you answer the questions asked.

Don’t get me wrong, the class wasn’t just that piece of advice. It was helpful and we each developed a master template based on the Grantsmanship Model with 8 sections:

  1. Summary
  2. Introduction to the non-profit (not the problem or solution)
  3. Explain the problem (not your solution to it)
  4. Explain the outcomes you are striving for (this is your solution goal)
  5. Explain the methods you will use to achieve the outcomes (this is how you plan to achieve the outcomes)
  6. How you will evaluate your success and know if you achieved your goal
  7. How the program will be supported in the future (after the grant money is gone)
  8. Budget (How you will spend the grant money)

When you have developed the template above, you can use that template to help you apply for the grants you are seeking. Grants seem to come in many flavors and foundations all seem to like communicating in their own way. Pay attention to the way they want to see things and dont try to force them to accept your format.

In the end, understand that the people reviewing your application are just people. Make your application easy to understand so they don’t have to search for the answers they need. Also, reach out to the foundations with questions, that often will help you in the application process.

Lastly, many grants require a LOI. Whether they call is a ‘Letter of Intent’, ‘Letter of Interest’, or ‘Letter of Inquiry’, it’s all the same. It’s a short brief of your proposal and usually serves to pre-qualify proposals. It’s a 2-3 page version of your proposal but should contain the items above. If you nail the LOI, it’s possible you may not even need to submit the whole proposal, so pay attention to it. At the very least, put your best work into it since that’s the thing that will open the door.

The class used Norton Kiritz’s book, “Grantsmanship: Program Planning & Proposal Writing” published by the Grantsmanship Center.

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