Chapter Excerpt


This book may be the first of its kind—a collaborative effort between an experienced grantwriter and an experienced grantmaker developed to provide views, tips, and information from both sides of the grantseeking experience.

From it, you will learn the difference between what we call reactive and proactive grantseeking; in the former case, responding to requests for proposals; in the latter, actively searching for matches between potential funders and nonprofit applicants. You'll learn who makes grants and how, where to find funding opportunities, and how to design and complete the grantwriting process through both of these approaches.

We show you the five core components of grant proposals: an abstract, statement of problem, project description, evaluation plan, and budget narrative, and you'll learn the intricacies of developing each one. In addition, we point out a dozen or more other components you may encounter in your grantseeking and provide samples and tips for developing your response.

Because we believe that all good writing is grounded in a deep understanding of one's audience, we share with you the funder's view throughout the book: What makes grants compelling to funders? What are their red flags and non-negotiable issues? How do they make decisions, and how do you develop professional relationships with funders?

We have included more than twenty samples demonstrating every form of writing a grantwriter may be asked to compose: grant proposals, preproposals, concept papers, letters of inquiry, interagency agreements, support letters, media releases, and progress reports. Two entire chapters are dedicated to annotated sample proposals, one illustrating diff erent types of grant requests and a second showcasing writing for different types of nonprofit organizations.

Finally, we share important lessons on what to do when you are funded and what to do when you are not. The closing chapter discusses grantwriting as a career. We leave it to you to choose your path: write grants as a concerned volunteer, as a consultant, as an executive director, as a fundraiser, or as a project manager. However you use what you've learned, you will be writing grants like a professional.

Grantwriting and Fundraising: Making the Distinction

People who write grants, especially if they are employees of a nonprofit organization, often have several job duties, including fundraising. While grantwriting and fundraising are complementary, they are very different processes, and they are about very different relationships. A grantwriter seeks grantmaking prospects that will be a good fit for an organization and the work it is doing. Successful grants become contractual work through which the grantee may build a relationship with the grantor. Similarly, a good grantwriter may gain respect from the grantor on the basis of his or her grantwriting expertise and the organization's performance on the contract. It is a "left brain," or business- type relationship.

A fundraiser seeks prospects who will become donors (these prospects could include grantmakers). A fundraiser often develops "right brain," or more informal, relationships with potential donors. At their best, fundraisers engage donors by helping them experience the power of philanthropy through the nonprofit organization and the work that it does. While data are not unimportant, building strong relationships with these donors is far less contractual and far more iterative than building relationships developed through a grant.

In this book, we have separated the roles of grantwriter and fundraiser to focus on the specific skills and expertise needed for writing successful grants. The amount of fundraising resources and classes dwarfs the resources for grantwriters, which is why we have chosen to focus on grantwriting here.

Excerpted from The Complete Book of Grant Writing: Learn to Write Grants Like a Professional by Nancy Smith, E. Gabriel Works
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