Third and Fourth Sectors

The People Pages: Elements of a Grant Proposal

from The People Pages: Resources for Social Change (c) 2003 The Fruition Coalition

  1. Cover Letter – The cover letter should be one page long.  It introduces your organization and project to the foundation.  It should state the amount you are requesting and the specific purpose of the proposal.
  1. Introduction or Executive Summary – This is a brief summary of the entire proposal.  State the amount of funds requested.  Briefly describe the program that funds are being requested for and illustrate the impact that the program will have in your organization and in the community.
  1. Organizational Background – This section should express your organizational capacity and competency.  State your mission and provide an overview of programs and services.  Briefly outline your history and show how your organization has grown into its present status.  Foundation grants are an investment in the community and this section needs to demonstrate that your organization is capable of managing people, programs, and finances responsibly.
  1. Needs Assessment – Present the needs of your community and the people who will benefit from your program or service.  Use primary and/or secondary research to support these needs and always site sources of statistical data.  Use both quantitative and qualitative information.  Explain why these needs are significant locally and appeal to universally understood values.
  1. Action Plan/Methodology – Explain specifically how your program or service will fill community needs.  State program goals and delineate the actions that will be taken to achieve those goals.  Provide an implementation schedule.
  1. Evaluation – Describe how your organization will determine whether or not goals are achieved.  Explain the methods that will be used to measure each of the goals stated in the action plan/methodology session.  Discuss how the outcomes you measure will be used as a learning tool that helps your organization better plan and deliver programs.
  1. Conclusion – Summarize your funding request, your goals, and the impact that this project will have.  Describe how the program will be funded when this grant is completed.
  1. Appendices may include:
  • IRS determination letter
  • Charitable solicitation letter
  • Board list
  • Résumés of key staff
  • Program budget
  • Organizational budget
  • Financial statements and/or audit
  •  990 (Tax Return)
  •  Press clippings
  •  Publications (i.e. newsletter) only if requested

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