Getting the Grant 101 : The Essentials

The process of “getting a grant” or “writing a grant proposal” can sound mysterious, like an old family recipe with secret ingredients. For over 40 years The Grantsmanship Center has been helping people de-mystify this process and to understand that like a recipe, creating a compelling proposal simply requires common ingredients put together in a logical and understandable sequence using tried and true techniques.

First, let’s talk about what a grant is and is not. In most cases a grant is support that does not need to be repaid. Usually it is in the form of money, but it may be technical assistance or training. Grants are usually awarded after the submission of a written proposal. So, the “grant” is the funding or other assistance that is received as a result of a grant proposal (also referred to as an application). A grant is not the written document that we submit to a potential funding source!

Each funder sets its own eligibility criteria for grant applicants, and eligible applicants are typically nonprofit organizations or public agencies. Nonprofits are often required to be 501(c)(3) organizations under the IRS. Here’s a link to IRS information on nonprofits: http://www.irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits/Charitable-Organizations/Exemption-Requirements-Section-501%28c%29%283%29-Organizations. Grants to for-profit entities or to private individuals do exist; however, they are far less common.

Each funder will also have its own application process and the degree of detail required will vary. Here, we’ll talk about the basic recipe for a grant proposal, understanding that some funders may require extra or different information—special ingredients.

Let’s take a look at the basic ingredients required in a typical proposal, and how to include them.

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