Do’s and Don’ts of Writing a Grant Proposal
I developed this tip sheet to use in my Grant Writing 101 workshop.
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Free grant writing video: Researching Grant Opportunities
Locating Grant Opportunities
Foundation Directory Online provides comprehensive and accurate information on U.S. grantmakers and their funding activities. Individuals and organizations may choose one of five subscription levels. If you live near one of the Foundation Center’s Funding Information Network members, you can access the Professional version and many other resources at no charge.Philanthropy News Digest, a publication of the Foundation Center, posts requests for proposals submitted by U.S. grantmakers. You can visit the site to view all postings or you can subscribe to a weekly e-mail update.
Grants.gov is the official web portal for finding and applying for federal grant opportunities. You don’t have to register with Grants.gov to find grant opportunities. However, once you are ready to apply for a grant, you will need to get registered. This process may take up to 4 weeks, so leave yourself plenty of time. A word about using the grants.gov search engine… it is not user-friendly. I get the best results when I already have the Funding Opportunity Number or the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance number. When I search by keyword, I often need to sort through a list of hundreds of grants, most of which are not relevant.
Data Resources for Grant Proposals
The U.S. Census Bureau website is a primary data source I use for developing the Need or Problem Statement of a grant proposal. Sometime when you’re not hurrying to meet a grant deadline, take a half hour to explore the wide range of data available in the American Fact Finder. The information is organized into four broad categories: Demographics, Social Characteristics, Housing, and Economic Characteristics. I also find the QuickFacts sheets to be helpful.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides several data sets regarding housing, income, workforce, crime, and more at its HUD USER website.
Melissa Data offers dozens of free look-ups that you may find helpful. You can also subscribe to avoid the cap on the number of items you’re allowed to access in a given day.
Kids Count is an annual initiative of the Annie E. Casey Foundation that provides state-level, county-level, and in some cases, community-level data about children’s well-being.
StateHealthFacts.org is a project of the Kaiser Family Foundation that provides free, up-to-date, and easy-to-use health data on all 50 states for more than 500 health topics.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides access to several data sets at the national, state, and community levels.
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