5 Tips For Grant Writing Success!

The following is a guest post by Miranda Ash who is a Grants Fundraiser for Music In Hospitals. Thank you for the tips Miranda!

As the economic downturn begins to bite charities and NGOs, the need to approach trusts and foundations for support is increasing. Grants fundraising takes persistence, determination, imagination and creativity! Here are my top five tips to writing successful grant proposals:


grant writing


1. Do your homework

These days most Grants research is conducted online and you can’t always be sure that the information is correct. Check several sources for the most up to date contact information. There are a number of online databases available e.g. Guidestar.org, or Trustfunding.org.uk in the UK, where you match your criteria against a list of funders. Whilst these databases don’t hold information for every trust or foundation, they offer a great place to start. The databases are usually paid subscription services and the costs are not always appropriate for smaller charities with limited funds. If this is the case, contact your local Community Foundation who will be happy to run a search for you.

All too often charities miss out on funds because the grant writer failed to read the funder guidelines carefully – so make sure you read and re-read guidelines to ascertain eligibility.

2. Pick up the phone

Take the plunge and pick up the phone! A huge part of grants fundraising is about nurturing relationships with your funders and this begins with making contact. A friendly conversation to establish whether or not your project is of interest begins the relationship and starts the application process off on the right foot. And, if you find out you’re not eligible then the phone call has saved you time! Be wary because some funders do not welcome phone calls and may prefer correspondence by post instead.

3. It’s all in the cover letter!

The cover letter is probably the most important part of the proposal as it’s the first bit of paper the funder will glance at when they open your envelope. The letter should introduce your charity, summarize your background, the project, how much funding you are requesting and provide compelling reasons for support. No more than one page.

4. Word crafting

Grants proposal documents come in all shapes and sizes, but following the ‘less is more’ principle means that you shouldn’t use more than 3 to 4 pages of printed text. Add a cover sheet which includes the project title and perhaps a photo or two illustrating your work. Make it look thoroughly professional!

The document should reiterate the charity background, beneficiaries of your work, monitoring and evaluation tools, research, details about how your charity is funded, specific project details (including a budget) and show your contingency plans. Use sub-headings and format the page appropriately. Include feedback quotes from recent projects as these will add credibility to your proposal.

Craft your words carefully. Much of your ability as a grants writer is about word crafting – painting a picture without waffle!

Above all, keep your proposal SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-based.

5. Check, check, and check again

Once you’ve finished writing, print the document and read it through several times checking grammar, spelling and content. It’s always helpful to ask another person to review the document as a fresh pair of eyes will often spot gremlins!

Whilst these tips are by no means exhaustive, they will help start you on the road to grants fundraising success. Happy writing!

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About Music in Hospitals
Music in Hospitals is a charity which was established in 1948 and our mission is to improve the quality of life for adults and children with all kinds of illness and disability through the joy and therapeutic benefits of professionally performed live music in hospitals, hospices, day care centres, special needs schools, nursing and residential homes throughout the UK. In 2008 we celebrated our 60th Anniversary.

All concerts are given by small groups of professional musicians who are selected by audition for their high standard of musicianship, communication skills and breadth of repertoire enabling them to relate to each member of the audience, whatever their age, illness or disability. Our musicians’ sensitive approach and wide repertoire enables them to respond to individual needs and to encourage audience participation, making everyone feel the music is especially for them.

Music in Hospitals has received the CLASSIC f M’s Red ƒ award in recognition for its outstanding contribution to music.

For further information, please contact
Miranda Ash
Grants Fundraiser
Tel. +44 (0)1932 260810

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  1. Posted by Strategies For Successful Grant Writing | Grant Writing Information 19th March, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    […] Five Tips For Grant Writing Success! | Fundraising […]



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