Every single aspect of a grant proposal offers you an opportunity to gain or lose credibility. “I’ve reviewed thousands of grant proposals,” said Barbara Floersch, director of The Grantsmanship Center in Los Angeles, “and the credibility or believability of your organization and the project it is proposing is the most critical issue in winning funds.”
A credible grant proposal has the following characteristics, according to Floersch:
- The applicant organization presents a strong track record of accomplishment, shows genuine and vigorous community partnerships, and demonstrates administrative competence.
- The proposed project is clearly responsive to the needs of the organization’s constituents, and connected to the organization’s mission.
- The argument for grant funding is grounded in meaningful, relevant data — facts and figures rather than beliefs and assumptions. Facts and figures are enriched with compelling quotes from community members, experts, and clients. The organization and the project are clearly supported by the community.
- The program approach is based on best practices in the field and reflects a high level of topic-area expertise.
- The budget is reasonable and justifiable: not too high and not too low. It all adds up.
Don’t wait for a specific deadline. Begin collecting the more generic credibility documentation now. Convincing information about your organization, supporters, and partners is relevant to all grant proposals. Credible, logical, compelling — if these adjectives apply to your organization’s grant proposal, you are well on the way to a grant award.