Top 4 Grants Writing Mistakes

Published on 13th January 2020


Writing grants is one of the most popular fundraising techniques for nonprofit organizations. Unfortunately, there are lots of ways to make mistakes and lessen your chances of receiving a grant. Here are the top four mistakes commonly made by grant writers:

  1. Just not the right fit:

Before you begin to write, make sure that your funding request will be a good fit for the donor. Donors usually have an objective or causes that they are passionate about, you want to make sure that your proposal aligns with their interests in order to be funded. You should therefore take the time to thoroughly research a foundation, high worth individual or institutional donor before you submit a proposal. It helps if a relationship already exists to establish credibility or seek to make informal contact prior to submitting a proposal in order to get a feel for what they are interested in and what type of project they are likely to fund.

  1. Not following instructions:

Follow the donors’ submission instructions! If the donor requests that you submit your request in a particular format, time and date then do it. This is not the time to get creative. Some foundations use this as criteria to eliminate proposals and you don’t want to lose your chance at getting funded because you ignored their directions.

  1. Not writing clearly:

Compose your grant proposal carefully. Be clear and concise, donot ramble. Donot use jargon or words that the grant reviewers will not understand. Spell out acronyms. Donot be vague about the objectives of your program or project. One good way to review your proposal is to ask someone who is unfamiliar with your organization to review your proposal before you submit it. They can usually give you some good feedback. Alternatively, invest in a professional grant writer (see our article on Hiring a professional grant Manager) for more information.

  1. Problems with your budget:

Make sure the numbers in your budget are accurate, reasonable and are consistent with your narrative. Ensure that your Microsoft Excel formulas work, numbers add up and where possible, numbers are rounded to whole numbers.

Findev Consulting Limited is a UK based consultancy that provides grant management training to NGOs and civil society organisation. We have worked with numerous nonprofits across 3 continents, focusing on proposal development, strategic planning and project evaluation.

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