August 2022

Grant writing involves a lot of work, from identifying potential donors and possibilities to crafting solid project budgets. A lot of potential exists for creativity, narrative, and integrating your nonprofit’s vision into your submissions.

Learn how to come up with grant application ideas and where to obtain inspiration in this post. With any luck, you’ll walk away with some ideas for your own grant bids that will be successful!

Good Grant Proposals Have These Qualities.

We must begin at the beginning. The first step in composing a strong grant proposal is to be familiar with the many elements that make up a grant proposal. Most charities are working hard, but they lack the ability to put their efforts into one cohesive proposition.

A grant application should include the following elements:

Your nonprofit’s history and mission statement

There must be a clear understanding of your non-past, profit’s present and future in your application. In addition, they should be aware of your most important initiatives and projects.

Inquire about the origins of the organization, such as: What alterations have been made throughout the course of the years? What’s the location of this thing? Do you know what demographic group this product is targeted at?

  1. The extent to which your nonprofit’s effect

The greatest proposals show how the project will affect others. It is common for donors to want to know how their money will be used if they provide it to a project.

It’s a good idea to add some background information about the service area. Affluent or impoverished? Is there a void it fills for the community? Each year, about how many people or animals do you assist?

The planned project’s objectives and a timetable

A well-written grant application contains clear project objectives as well as a timetable for how those objectives will be achieved. The pitch and request amount should be aligned with the time frame and the capabilities of your employees.

For program or organizational objectives, the term SMART might be helpful:

To be more precise,



the letter R stands for “realistic.”

The T stands for time-sensitive

  1. A comprehensive and precise budget sheet

Prospective donors want to see more than just a well-thought-out plan; they also want to see a detailed budget.

The finest budget sheets aren’t merely lists of expenses, as many people believe. They also take into account the money that comes in from other sources, such as grants or income. Budget reasons that are straightforward to grasp are an important part of every top-notch proposal.

Measuring devices

Increase your chances of success in the grants market by incorporating precise metrics in your request.

In order to get funding, you need to explain the issue you are trying to address, how you define success, and how you intend to assess your project’s results. (In the next sections, you’ll find additional information on how to perform program evaluations and collect data.)

How to Generate Ideas for a Grant Proposal in 7 Easy Steps

It’s difficult to know where to begin, especially if you’ve never applied for a grant before. “You don’t know what you don’t know” is a tired adage that applies here. Many leaders are aware of the fact that their non-profits need money, as do the majority of organizations, but they struggle to put a number on it.

Here are seven easy methods for coming up with grant application ideas.

Identify the nonprofit’s current needs.

To have a good idea of what the organization’s needs are, it’s a good idea to do an inventory of those requirements. Consider the following issues:

Do you have the money to continue a current program?

Do you have a time-limited source of funding? If that’s the case, how long will that money last?

What equipment, transportation, or technology do you lack to support your programs?

What is the capacity of your paid employees to accomplish the mission?

Recognize initiatives that need to be bolstered and expand.

Your organization may be considering ways to extend its programs so that they may reach a broader audience if it is meeting its existing requirements.

In light of this, here are some thoughts:

Do you have any successful programs that you could build on?

What programs do you have that have been shown to have higher needs than you can presently meet?

What kinds of resources might enable you to service a larger number of customers?

The “like to haves,” not only the “need to haves,” should be considered as well.

When imagining the future of your non-profit, imagine what it might be like. Put yourself in the shoes of the organization’s long-term visionary.

When NGOs are struggling to remain viable, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. Consider the future, but don’t shy away from being idealistic.

What questions do you need to ask yourself?

What would we do if we had $20k, $50k (or fill in the blank) extra in our bank account?

What could we accomplish if we had additional employees or another vehicle, van, or office (or anything else you require)?

What are we continually hoping for, but which always seems out of our reach?

How well-trained is the staff? Is it capable of doing its duties?

Keep in mind that not everything you come up with will be a good request right now, but taking a break to brainstorm ideas might help you find possible financing sources and develop a strategy to go after them. Once you’ve honed down on a certain topic, you may go on to the next stage of writing a grant submission.

Conduct a search for financing options that are in line with your organization’s purpose.

Identifying your nonprofit’s existing or prospective funding need is the first step in the process of finding and writing a convincing proposal.

It’s critical to first identify a financing requirement, then look for possible sources of money.

Nonprofits that are first starting out have a tendency to focus on “chasing funds” rather than figuring out what they really need and then looking for opportunities that suit that need. If a funder’s goal fits with yours, it might serve as a terrific springboard for your creative endeavors.

There are a plethora of search methods available to assist you in locating grant donors that share your goals. Among the many instruments at your disposal are the people you know in the nonprofit sector, the Internet, and newsletter subscriptions from well-known donors.

Inquire about 990s and other reports from funders.

The application questions and conditions of a prospective sponsor should be examined. To produce a great proposal, you’ll need to have a good grasp of what projects they’re likely to finance and the relevant data.

Check out some of the following sorts of data in the app:

Are they able to provide funding for both general operations and specific projects?

How much time and effort do they devote to various areas?

How long will the grant be valid if it is granted?

To get 990 reports from donors, you must subscribe to Instrumentl’s Plus package.

What is a 990 and how does it benefit me? Grantmaking foundations are required by law to file and submit 990s at the end of each year detailing the recipients of their grant funding. To get a sense of the projects and funding levels that have been granted in the past, you may use these reports as a guide.

Describe the benefits to your organization and the people you aid if a specific need is met.

An organization’s ability should be clearly shown in a grant submission, so the reviewer can perceive the value of the sought funds.

Make sure to choose a request amount that corresponds to the cost of the item you’re looking for. A vehicle like this might benefit the organization as a whole and its workers, therefore explain this to the reader. Reviewers like understanding how their work will be used.

The best proposals make it very obvious how the requested money would benefit the clients you service, even if only indirectly. If you’re a charity, explain how this vehicle will help your employees distribute more food, transport rescued animals, or visit faraway houses — whatever need it is addressing in your organization.

There are a number of reasons why funders will find this information useful.

If you’re stumped, look at other models for inspiration.

If you’re still stuck for inspiration, look around your neighborhood or workplace and ask yourself questions like these:

For the issue your organization is attempting to tackle, are there any proven examples of success?

Where else have such programs taken place?

Collaborative collaborations between non-profit organizations are common. Often, there are several organizations in the same city that are all trying to accomplish the same thing. You may have a greater influence and consequently a better proposal if you follow a common model.

Proposals encourage the development of new ideas and concepts. Try something new! This is your moment to show the world what you have to offer. You may have come up with a whole new concept or improved on an existing service delivery model. Don’t be hesitant to come up with a novel concept if you can back it up with solid reasoning!

Do you want improved grant-related tools?

Win additional funding for your non-profit by finding and submitting new grant proposals!

See why Instrumentl is trusted by tens of thousands of NGOs.

For a limited time, you may get a 14-day free trial.

What Resources Do You Recommend for Grant Proposal Inspiration?

In the majority of cases, organizations submit grant proposals in order to meet both their own financial needs and those of the surrounding community. Grant-seeking and grant-writing are largely a matter of survival for many people. Nonprofit programs must continue, and their office must remain operational.

However, this does not preclude you from using your imagination when putting together your grant proposal! The author’s enthusiasm for their work and the community they serve should shine through in a strong grant proposal.

Almost all nonprofits keep an eye on the needs of their local community. Keeping up with what’s going on in your industry and with your customers may often lead to new program ideas. Here are a few ideas to help you generate grant application ideas:

Consult the members of your team.

As a nonprofit executive, you have a responsibility to stay in touch with the people who work on your programs. Ask what can be done to improve the situation or how things might be done better. Always be open to suggestions and criticism.

When it comes to understanding a nonprofit’s operations and its donors, the people on the ground often don’t have as much of a connection to the grant writer’s computer screen as those in the office.

Perform or examine an assessment of a given program.

It’s really beneficial to have input from your program’s personnel. A more thorough examination of the program, which should be performed on a regular basis, may be quite illuminating.

In a program assessment, you’ll learn about the program’s quantifiable objectives and results. Check out Instrumentl’s program assessment page here for additional information on how to measure your programs.

Consult your customers.

Talking to your organization’s customers and hearing how your effort has benefited them is the best way to stay motivated. Get to know the folks you’re supposed to be helping.

Ask them on a frequent basis how your company is performing and what can be done to improve as part of program assessment. Listen to what they have to say and use it into your grant bids.

If you can collect some of their information, synthesize this qualitative and quantitative data, and use it in the narrative of the proposal, it would be much better. Customers’ input is critical since they often have the most creative ideas for new services. The North Carolina Center for Nonprofits has an excellent piece on how to collect valuable data.

Make a list of your accomplishments and shortcomings.

Those in positions of authority, like as CEOs and directors, should keep a running tally of their achievements and failures. Program assessments and yearly reports are rich sources of inspiration. When confronted with a difficult problem, do not hesitate! Perhaps a grant opportunity is inside.

You should celebrate your accomplishments when your organization has reached a mature stage where it may reflect on its goals for the future.

The more stable your organization is, the more likely you are to question how to improve it and why. Reflection and strategic planning may take place during this period.

Take a look at previous suggestions.

Take a look at previous grant bids for ideas if your non-profit has one.

Both the winners and losers may be found in the list. Determine if they had any notable accomplishments or obstacles that made them successful or unsuccessful. The grant tracking tool in Instrumentl is fantastic for storing notes and other information.

This article by Instrumentl on successful grant proposal examples is a great place to start if you’re new to grant writing at your organization or simply need a little extra motivation.

To summarize, these are the most important things to know about grant proposal ideas.

Spend some time and effort into the process, and you’ll be able to make a compelling case for your ideas in front of possible investors. Hopefully, you’ve gleaned some useful pointers on how to transform your concepts into well-written proposals from this discussion.

With a variety of approaches and concepts to choose from, a successful grant application will reflect your nonprofit’s goals, as well as those of the grant-giver and those of the community you serve.

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