How to Write Grants for Nonprofit Organizations

Regardless of size, it’s likely that your organization is dependent on certain funds—and it is quite likely that at least a portion of those funds are brought to you in the form of grants. As a result, the way that you approach these grants can either make or break your organization, making it essential that you learn how to write grants for nonprofit organizations.


Research is the first and most important step, as you should not waste your time applying for a grant that you do not know too much about or, worse, that you’re not qualified for. Your letter of interest should be brief but effective at delivering your organization’s information and your final proposal should communicate your organization’s concerns.

Follow the steps below to ensure your application for a nonprofit grant has a greater probability of success.

Make sure the grant is a perfect fit.

Research is the first and most important step, as you should not waste your time applying for a grant that you do not know too much about or, worse, that you’re not qualified for. Examine the qualifications, make sure that the organization qualifies, and ultimately determine whether the requirements (if any) are too stringent.

Embarking on a new venture can be daunting and is often comprised of uncertainty, so once you have made up your mind to apply for a grant, curate a list of grants that you have researched thoroughly. Be specific when writing these grants, tailoring each letter according to the specifications of each one.

Know your audience.

Grant proposals should focus on purpose and be suited to a particular audience. While you are researching whether the grant is a perfect fit, you should determine the audience to which you are writing to and address their needs. If you clearly define your audience, you’ll be able to tailor your proposal in a way that will resonate with reviewers.

Write a clear and concise letter of interest.

You might think of this as a cover letter of sorts. Though it is not always required, some grant applications might ask you to present your organization in a brief one- to two-page summary.

The primary objective of this letter is to introduce the organization, set forth its purpose, address the issues it is trying to target, and list certain projects (including budgets and approximate dates of accomplishment) that the organization is trying to achieve. Contact information should be included as well. If the letter is accepted, the next step in the process is to write an elaborate, more in-depth proposal.

Appeal to both logic and emotion.

A business plan and well-documented research are cornerstones to a proposal when determining how to write grants for nonprofit organizations. But don’t forget to appeal to their more emotional side by crafting a story around the proposal. Competition is fierce, so if you can engage reviewers in ways that cause them to form an emotional connection with your purpose, you are already one step ahead of many.

While writing, remind yourself that proofreading is crucial, that you must read and answer the application questions thoroughly, and that you are portraying the organization in its best (and transparent) light.

Learning how to write grants for nonprofit organizations is a great skill to have, because it allows you to take charge and generate valuable funding for your organization outside of fundraising. Once you’ve completed several grants, the grant-writing process becomes relatively easy, since you are relaying and defining your organization in a way that is relevant to the grant for which you are applying.

Written by Kelly Yaker

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