6 steps to writing better government grants

We have a guest article this month from our new strategic partner: SAE and Associates.

SAE & Associates is a consulting firm specializing in behavioral health programming, grant writing, evaluation, and health care access and literacy. Our mission is to expand, enhance and improve the service delivery capability of health and social service providers.  Since 2003, we have obtained more than $75 million in grant awards for our clients.

Here are 6 steps that can help you write a better grant. Have further questions? Visit the SAE website here or call us at 212 684-4480.

1. Plan your project before the funding announcement is made.  Research the grant options that are a potential fit and structure your groundwork to include participation by members of the target population. Many proposals require that you describe these planning efforts, including  participation by consumers.

2. Create a project team and ensure that every member reads the entire RFP.

An effective team will include a project lead who is skilled in written communication and whose expertise can guide program planning and presentation, content experts who can share ideas and tips regarding best practices and evidence-based approaches to the targeted problem, an evaluator with federal grant experience who is able to guide the development of clear and measurable goals and objectives, an expert who knows the targeted population and can advise regarding cultural sensitivity and competency, a finance advisor,  an editor, and an administrative support person.

3. Document the need for your project using federal, state, local, and organizational statistics and data. Pay special attention to the appendices and utilize all resources and websites that are referenced in the RFP. As you identify organizational data that would improve your proposal, develop a plan to begin gathering the information.

4. Respond thoroughly and clearly to every item in the RFP. Use headers, sub-headers, bolding, and italics to clearly indicate that all requested information is included in the order in which it is requested. Determine your use of the available pages according to the points allocated to each section.

5. Present your plan thoughtfully. Avoid general information about basic service delivery and ensure you’re your approach is grounded in evidence-based practices appropriate for your targeted population. Be certain that what you propose aligns with your organization’s mission. Highlight the ways clients served by the program will benefit from your existing services and available infrastructure. Carefully match your approach to the priorities identified by the funding source.

6. Cultivate meaningful partnerships before you need a letter of support

Solicit letters of support early in the grant writing process and provide a program overview and a customized template for each partnering provider.  Letters of support should reinforce the need identified and describe how the partnering agency will support the proposed program.



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