So you’re writing a two-page grant proposal template. The good news is – you only need to write a couple of pages. The bad news is that you’ll need to incorporate a huge amount of information in just two pages of prose.
And no, you can’t narrow the margins and make the font tiny! You’ll need to stick to those 1 inch margins, and keep your font at a comfortably readable size. In fact, the more readable your proposal is, the happier your reviewers will be. And happy reviewers are more likely to say “yes” than reviewers with eye strain.
Your funder may have provided you with very specific guidelines for filling your two pages, and you’ll want to answer all of these questions as fully as possible so reviewers know you’ve devised a solid, practical, and focused plan. Of course, you could answer many of the questions with just one sentence, but the more specific you can be, the more convincing your project will sound. Here’s how:
Part 1: The Ask
- Who is asking for the grant? Here’s where you put the name of your non-profit, or your name if you’re an individual seeking a grant.
- How much money do they want, over how much time? List the full amount you’re requesting, and the period of time over which the money will be spent.
Example: “The Do Good Organization seeks a grant of $2,500 from the Give Away Foundation for a two year family fitness and nutrition program entitled “Families Feeling Fine.”
Part 2: The Case for support
- Why do they want the money? This is your case for support. In as much space as you have available, explain why this project is important. Include any statistics, details, or other information you have available, but keep it very, very brief.
Example: “48% of families in the Do Good community suffer from obesity and related problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. When surveyed, 72% of families stated that lack of knowledge and experience with exercise and healthy cooking were major obstacles to weight control. The Families Feeling Fine program will teach family groups how to make exercise and healthy cooking a fun, fulfilling part of their daily lives.”
Part 3: Project Description
- How, exactly, will they handle the work? Where will these programs take place? How often will they run? What will the programs involve? Will there be follow-up?
- Who will handle the work involved in the described project (personnel)? Provides names, titles, and one-line bios for each person involved with the project.
- Are they qualified to do the work they’ve outlined? If you’re starting up a health and fitness program, you need someone with experience in that field. You may also need people with experience in reaching out to families, working with families, and so forth. Make it clear that the people who are working on the project have, as a group, the required skills and experience.
- How do we know that the money and the project will be well managed? Provide details about the people/person who will be managing the money and the project.
- How will they assess the success of their project? Some form of evaluation is important to most funders. A pre-post program survey, for example, may be a good choice. If at all possible, show how you will quantify the impact of the program.
- If our grant won’t cover the entire cost of the project, where will the remaining money come from? If you’re asking for $2,500 for a $5,000 project, mention that you’ll be seeking additional funds from specific sources.
- Will the impact of this project continue after our funding is gone? Many funders want to know that you don’t plan to come back them year after year to fund the same programs.
Example: “The Local Church has pledged to donate space, including a large parish hall and kitchen, for use by the Families Feeling Fine program. Each Saturday morning, up to ten families of 3 – 6 people will gather to learn about nutrition, take part in a fun fitness activity, learn to prepare a tasty, nutritious meal, and enjoy a meal together. As they leave, families will take away weekly packets with recipes, shopping tips, and exercise ideas to try out during the intervening week.
The FFF program will be managed by Joe Smith, Director of Programs at the Do Good Foundation, with support from Jane Jones, a nutritionist, and Bill Brown, a personal trainer. Several Do Good volunteers will also assist at each week’s program.
To assess the outcomes of the program, Mr. Smith will distribute a pre-program survey and repeat the survey at the end of the program. If successful, FFF participants will leave knowing at least three new recipes, three new fitness activities, and seven new, healthy ways to buy and/or prepare food. In addition, participants will feel empowered to lose weight and live healthier lives.
The project will cost an initial $5,000 for development of program materials, activities, and recipes. We are requesting $2,500 from your foundation, and we are seeking an additional $2,500 from other foundations. Once the program is underway and materials are in place, it will cost only $500 per session to run the program. We anticipate charging a nominal $5 per person for future programs, and seeking additional minimal funding from local community foundations and philanthropies.”
Take a look back at the proposal you’ve just read. It includes every detail requested, provides a solid case for support, explains just who will do what and why they’re qualified. And it does it all in just a few paragraphs.
The next time you’re preparing a short proposal, just pull out this template and use it. You’ll find that your ideas will fit nicely into the same sections. If you’re short on details, do a little research – but don’t skimp. Every specific bit of information adds another plus to your reviewer’s list!