Ask anyone that works with a non-profit organisation what the fundamental means are that allow a non-profit to continue operating, and they’ll likely tell you: the securing of funding from private foundations, public charities, governmental bodies and other donors. So important is this task, in fact, that a non-profit will sometimes hire someone whose sole responsibility is writing grant proposals. And although setting out to write your first proposal can be daunting, the encouraging news is that anyone can learn to write grant proposals, and that all successful writers today were once in your position. Here are several free resources that will be of use to first-time proposal writers.
This site is a good pace to start when you’re looking to get a grasp on the framework of a non-profit grant proposal. From the homepage you can click through to see an overview of a proposal’s components, along with full samples of a cover letter, a cover sheet, and the budget component of a proposal. Non-profit guides also offers free, downloadable samples of full proposals on the site. The greatest value of this resource is that it is tailored specifically to non-profit grant applicants, as opposed to other types of funding seekers.
For another collection of sample documents, try Candid Learning, where you’ll find a number of winning grant proposals for viewing. Also available are samples of cover letters, letters of inquiry, letter proposals, and proposal budgets–all from real examples that were successful in securing grant funding.
Or, if you’re interested in virtual training sessions and workshops, you can find special events led by training experts on Candid Learning’s site. Free virtual events and webinars offered include an introduction to finding grant funds that align with your organisation’s mission, and an introduction to proposal writing that is regularly held live.
SmartSheet is a project management platform designed to be used by companies to increase productivity. Though the platform itself costs an organisation money, the Smartsheet website offers several free resources. In the template gallery you’ll find a grant proposal template tailored specifically to non-profit organisations. As a planning tool, the template is great for organizing your initial ideas, taking notes, and visualising the overall outline of your grant proposal. The fillable sections on the worksheet include everything from the statement of the problem, the target population and your key staff, to an activity timeline, budget overview, and your plans for securing long-term sources of funding.
Grants Plus is a company that acts as an advisor for non-profits seeking grants; they aid clients in finding potential funders, will review a grant proposal before submission, and several additional services. Although the services themselves are not free, Grants Plus offers some online articles and guides for grant seekers. If you’re in the process of writing your first proposal, definitely take the time to read their article on the dos and don’ts of non-profit grant proposal writing. You might be surprised by some of the items on the list, and if you’re indeed guilty of some of the don’ts, it’s best to catch those errors early on in your project timeline.
Pair some of these free resources with some you may have already found, like online courses and certifications, webinars, and e-books, and you may find that writing your first non-profit grant proposal isn’t as daunting a task as you expected. And when you’ve grasped it and submitted a winning grant, be sure to add that valuable skill to your CV. In the search for jobs at non-profit organisations, it’ll help you all the more.