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[] Grant Writing: Tips and Tricks

Best practices for writing grant proposals to funding organizations
 By: Jeronimo Augusto |  Category: Education |  Posted: Wednesday 24th October 2018

With thousands of people starting nonprofit organizations and organizing community projects throughout Africa, there’s a high demand for funding. Funding grants from organizations, corporations, private donors or governments are a common way for nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and projects to get off the ground. Before you take a dive into the grant-writing world, you should understand the mechanisms of how grants and grant writing work, according to Jeronimo Augusto, program manager for international programs at Howard University, Office of the Provost. Augusto, who holds a master’s degree in health services administration, is responsible for grants monitoring and evaluation, including the MWF grant.

Augusto advises anyone seeking a grant to start by “thinking outside the box and within the rules.” He explains that organizations that issue grants are looking for projects with a fresh, innovative and/or creative approach to problem-solving. He continues that anyone seeking funding from a grant must fully understand the parameters set by an issuing organization/donors, including how the project will fit in with their organization’s mission.

Augusto states that writing a grant is not a simple task. It requires an organization or project manager to fully understand their own project, and the competition, so that they can best position themselves to be awarded the grant. Augusto advises that you think through the many aspects of the grant-writing process before diving in and that you ask yourself:

  • How will you use the grant? Is the grant money you’re looking for going to additional staffing for your organization? Or maybe it’s for materials and supplies (say, to build a well or solar panels)? However you plan on using this funding, be sure to provide enough detail to help the donor get a better idea of their potential investment in you and your organization.
  • How much funding do you need? Assessing the realistic cost of your project’s needs is critical when you’re applying for a grant. For example, if you’re planning to use grant money to buy a car to reach remote villages, you’ll also need to factor in the cost of maintenance and petrol, driver, hours, days, etc., etc.
  • Where should the funding come from? Think that applying to each grant opportunity you find will yield more money for your project? Think again. Augusto stresses researching each organization to see if their mission and vision align with the project you’re trying to fund. Research and understand the organization, what they do, and why they’re offering funding. Know your competition and the number of expected awards. Basically: DO YOUR HOMEWORK first.
  • What is your timeline? Know your timeline, deadline and start dates. Also, due to the cyclical nature of the grant process, applicants should understand how long the money they’re awarded will take to get to them and how long it will last before they can apply for a renewal. Include sustainability.
  • What is the impact going to be? How many people will this funding affect? Will your project help a class of 30 schoolgirls get involved in STEM, or a community of 300 get access to safe, clean drinking water? Know how to ask for what you actually need (not over, not under) and how to stay within the scope and budget of your project.
  • What are the expectations for monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of your grant? Grant applicants should be mindful of the follow-up work required should their project be awarded. To ensure that reports are accurate and transparent, some organizations may ask you to spend your money and then reimburse you based on reports. Understand all this before applying, making sure you are able to meet all the obligations set out in the RFP (request for proposal).

Read the original article on Yali State Gov.