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How To Secure a Grant for a Nonprofit

Updated: Jul 20, 2022

Man looking at wall with drawings of money bags and question marks

Grants are one way a nonprofit can raise funds to support general operating expenses and program costs. Although they should never be considered a quick fix (click here to learn why grants are a marathon and not a sprint), grant funds can transform your nonprofit's programs. So, how do you get grants?

Research Potential Grant Partners

Once you know what you need money for and have built a strong case for support, start researching grant opportunities. You can find grant funders through basic online searches and paid grant databases. Learn more about the different types of online resources by clicking here.

Keep in mind: Research goes beyond simply reviewing information online. Take every opportunity to call or email a Grant Administrator (sometimes called a Program Officer). He or she can provide you with specific insights to help you understand the interests of the review committee and ways to draft your request to increase your likelihood of success. Building a relationship with a grantmaker can be as critical to your success as with a major donor.

Draft Your Grant Content

Once you've identified potential grant funders based on their funding priorities, geographic areas of support, and the timing of their awards, work to build content that meets their requirements and expectations. One way to save time is to create a grant narrative template that is easily customized based on each particular funder. Need help building a template? Click here.

Submit Your Application

Applying sounds like the easy part. But, each grant-maker has different expectations and requirements. Pay close attention to the supplemental information required and double (or triple) check to make sure you have everything they need. Give yourself plenty of time to gather data, signatures, or narrative content outside of what may be typically requested or what exists in your template. Consider the format when planning ahead of the deadline. An online application can be submitted instantaneously within minutes of a deadline, but a mailed application may need a few days' head start.

Follow Up

Once you have submitted your application, following up with the grant-maker could mean the difference between an award and a "Thanks, but no thanks" response. If you've given yourself enough time before the deadline, call the Grant Administrator and ask if he/she received the application and if you need to submit any additional information or copies. Once you receive a favorable response, always reconnect to gather feedback about the proposal. Could you have done anything differently that would have changed the outcome of the request? Would a future request be appropriate? If funded, thank them and ask how/if they would like to be included in your other donor stewardship efforts.

If managed well, grant writing can change the trajectory of your nonprofit and better equip your programs to have the most impact for your clients today and long into the future.


Need a professional grant writer to help your nonprofit take its fundraising strategy to the next level? Just Write Grants can be your nonprofit's virtual grant writer, providing high-quality proposals, research, and submissions based on more than a decade of experience and multiple millions of dollars of grant funds secured.

To learn more about Just Write Grants and our affordable grant writing subscriptions and get 30 minutes of free custom grant research, click here or call 1-866-7GRANTS to speak to a grant expert today.

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