How to write a grant proposal

Government, Foundation, and Corporate grants are the lifeblood of nonprofit organizations that need funding to carry out their mission. This fact is more salient for small, community-based organizations that do not have the staff to craft winning grant proposals. In these instances, grant writing often falls in the lap of an inexperienced Executive Director. These Executives need guidance on how to write and send winning grant proposals.

This article will outline the steps needed to write grant proposals for government, corporate, and foundation grants to access funding for your nonprofit or community-based organization.

Finding Grants

Before we start the grant writing process, we first need to find donors that award grants to nonprofits that fall under your mission umbrella. Meaning, if your nonprofit provides social services, you can’t apply for grants allocated for community-based organizations that build homes for the homeless.

A quick Google search for grants using specific mission-focused keywords will yield lists of where to find eligible funding for your nonprofit. You can also opt for membership in the Foundation Directory Online (FDO).

The FDO is a good resource for finding complete information about grantmakers and grants they’ve before made. This feature makes it easier for you to fine-tune your search to find eligible awards for your organization. You can also search for federal grants on or state grants offered through your local Department of State.

Where should I apply for grants?

You can opt to apply for Federal, State or, local municipal grants. Grants from these sources tend to be in higher amounts and focused on a particular social or community issue.

You can also search for and apply for grants from Corporations (corporate giving). Most corporate websites have a page dedicated to charitable giving. Fill out their eligibility quiz to see if your nonprofit or organization is eligible for their grants. You can also search for corporate donors in FDO to see if your organization is eligible for their awards and how to apply.

The bottom line is this: the best approach is to write proposals to all sources that give funding to nonprofit organizations serving your target population or your mission.

Steps to writing your proposal

After doing your grantmaker research and armed with your list, the next step will be to read and adhere to the application requirements to increase your organization’s chances of winning grant money. You have to write a proposal describing a problem or barrier, and how with funding, your organization will be able to solve that problem.

What should be included in a grant proposal?

Now we are ready to compose our proposal. What should we include in it? This depends on the grantmaker. Some ask you to fill out a simple application form, but others need a full narrative detailing your organization’s interventions to solve a problem and how with funding, your organization can have a positive impact on affected communities.

The following components are important sections to include when writing your grant proposals.

Cover Page

The first page or cover page of your proposal is a formal introduction to your nonprofit organization. A cover page includes your organization’s name, address, logo, and other relevant information. The cover page also shows the title of the proposal as prepared by your organization.

Table of Contents (TOC)

The next page following your proposal’s cover page is the Table of Contents (TOC). The TOC shows a quick overview of the proposal’s sections like the summary, narrative, and any required attachments (budget, tax-exemption documents, etc.)


Following the table of contents is a summary of your proposal. This section summarizes the topic or problem and how your organization will work to solve it. This section can also include a brief synopsis of your program’s goals and objectives and how they align with the grant requirements and mission of the grantmaker.

Main Narrative

The main narrative is where you layout your grant proposal by first introducing a topic or problem. In the introduction, you explain the issue and cite credible sources that show the negative impact of the problem. You may also cite evidence that proves that your proposed intervention resolves the issue or barrier.

Following the introduction, you go into the main section of the narrative by describing your proposed services or programs and how they will solve the problem. In this section, you will need to be specific in your who, what, where, how, and when.

The following questions will help guide your narrative:

  • Who is your target population?
  • What are their needs?
  • How will your programs or services solve those needs?
  • What is the timeline needed to complete these programs?
  • How much funding is needed?
  • What is the number of people who will receive services as a result of the grant?

Once you answer all these questions in detail, you will be well on your way to writing an effective and award-worthy grant proposal.

Expected outcomes and evaluation

You will wrap up your proposal narrative by including a final section that describes all expected outcomes and program evaluation. In this part of the narrative, you outline all expected results of your program interventions and how you will check those results.

Make sure to be clear when discussing program evaluation because it might make a difference in your organization receiving a grant or not. Consider the following when crafting your program evaluation section:

  • What evaluation tools will you use?
  • What is your service model?
  • Which metrics will determine programmatic success?

Program Budget

The budget is a critical section of your grant proposal, so give it the requisite attention. Start by adding a budget narrative to explain all costs of the proposed program and how they relate to implementing all program activities.

After the budget narrative, it’s time to prepare a budget document that shows all line items and other expenses for your organization. Budget line items include but are not limited to the following:

  • Overhead expenses (fixed costs not related to labor or materials)
  • Staff salaries
  • Supplies/materials
  • Postage
  • Transportation

If the grantmaker has their own budget template, complete it accurately by following all budget requirements and showing all funding expenditures. Check out this article for some items to include in your budget.


Grantmakers often need a report of when and how you used their funds to fulfill grant obligations. These reports may be required every quarter, twice a year, or annually. Make sure to emphasize your intention to follow all reporting requirements.


Almost all grant proposals need to include attachments like a budget document, tax-exempt certificate, financial statements, and so on. You can also add your appendices that serve to strengthen your proposal (case studies showing the benefits of your program intervention) Re-check the requirements and add all requested attachments.

Putting it all together

The final step in writing a grant proposal for your nonprofit is to assemble your application package according to the grantmaker’s requirements. As mentioned, be sure to include a cover page, table of contents, summary, and proposal narrative. Add all required attachments and submit your package to the grantmaker by the stated application deadline.

As you write your proposal, keep in mind overarching everything the narrative should be easy to read. Write your proposal like you’re telling a story. It should have a beginning, a middle, and an end with your nonprofit as the protagonist or hero. Good luck!

Do you need help with applying for a grant? Contact me and let’s work together to write your successful grant proposal.

Professional Editing Services

Welcome to Editing by Dawn the home of professional editing services. So what exactly comes with editing services? Who would need professional editing services? What does an editor do anyway? Read on to find out more.

What does an editor do?

An editor is one of the final professionals that review documents such as book manuscripts, resumes, dissertations, or advertisement copy before final publication.

The editor will check and correct any errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, syntax, consistency, capitalization, and several other writing technicalities regarding accents, signs, numbers, and fonts. Essentially, editors serve to refine written material by carefully reviewing for inaccuracies and typographical flaws.

An editor may also work as a proofreader, but the professions are not necessarily interchangeable. Read this article to find out more about proofreading.

Why professional editing services?

There are many instances where editing services are essential. At Editing by Dawn, I cater to a specific subset of individuals who need my services including students, businesses, and individuals. Other editors may work exclusively with authors needing help with book manuscripts or scientists with medical articles.

Be it a novel, a medical paper, a grant proposal, a resume, or any other type of document, if it is to be published for public consumption, a final review by an editor is imperative. Taking the risk to rush to publication without working with an editor can lead to a lot of headaches and embarrassment as a result of sloppy copy.

When to seek out professional editing services

Websites like Grammarly can help writers begin the editing process. However, these sites cannot replace the expertise of a professional editor.

Let’s take a look at some instances where professional editing services become an invaluable tool for ultimate success.


Novelists and authors craft the stories that we love to read on our Kindle or in good old-fashioned paper books. However, before we get to enjoy those stories, they first have to go under the careful eye of a professional editor. Professional editing services for authors help with various aspects of fiction editing including word choice, plot development and, overall structure.

Working as a team, the editor and author work together to make sure that the material is consistent, flows effortlessly, and most importantly, is free of any typos or grammatical errors. The end result is a book or novel that immediately draws you into the story without being distracted by plot inconsistencies, typos, or grammatical errors.

Business Website

Every day more and more business websites are popping up on the internet and they are some of the top consumers of web content providers like copywriters and editors. The question is why?

It’s one thing to set up a business website, with products and contact information. However, websites need much more than this to attract and retain customers or clients. Businesses can enhance the marketing value of their websites by providing informative articles for visitors that can help them with the problem that brought them to the website in the first place. For example, a contractor’s website may offer blog posts about the materials used for various types of construction projects.

Many business owners may be great at sales but find writing marketing content for their website challenging. This is the point where they can seek out professional editing services by working with an editor. Businesses may write their own copy and use the editor to spruce up or improve their material before uploading it to their website.

College Student

Let’s face it, the American Educational System has failed our students and this is evident in the number of college students who are routinely placed in remedial courses whether they need it or not. Upon registration for college, students are assessed to see whether they can pursue college-level education or need further remedial ELA and Math education.

Even if they are able to pass these tests, some students struggle with collegiate writing standards. Additionally, many college students are ESL (English as a Second Language) who may experience difficulty crafting grammatically correct essays and other written classroom assignments.

Both cohorts of students greatly benefit from working with a professional editor or proofreader to help bring their writing skills to the next level and ensuring passing grades.

Everyday People

Yes, even everyday people can benefit from professional editing services. From a job-seeker needing to brush up their resume, or a non-profit Executive Director who needs help writing grant proposals, to an older person going back to college and needs help crafting an engaging personal statement.

Let’s take a closer look at an example of an everyday person who can work with an editor. We have Sandra a job-seeker who needs help with writing a winning cover letter. She has the requisite skills and experience but has difficulty translating this fact into her cover letter and/or resume.

By working with an editor Sandra can effectively tailor her skills to closely match the job description thereby boosting her chances of getting that first interview.

Job seekers represent a small fraction of consumers who rely on the services of editors. Editing is truly an essential universal service for businesses, students, and individuals.

How to find professional editing services

After completing the final edits for your document, it’s time for an editor to review and refine your work. Where do you start? Fortunately, there is an editor for every writer, whether a novelist, a student, a blogger, or a job-seeker, and it’s relatively easy to find professional editing services by doing a quick Google search.

You can also search freelancer sites like Upwork and Fivver to find an editor who offers the services you need. At Editing by Dawn, I provide both proofreading and editing services.

Do you need professional editing services?

Well, you’ve come to the right place! I specialize in providing professional copy editing services for clients from all walks of life.

I especially enjoy working with private clients, students, and entrepreneurs. Check out my testimonials page to see what my clients are saying about me and my services.

Start by filling out this form with details of your project and I’ll send you a free quote.