Thursday, May 22, 2008

#54: How to position your grant proposal financials

Yesterday I had lunch with a fellow free-lance grant writer, Jim Kopp. I don't often have the opportunity to talk face-to-face with other grant writers, so I enjoyed the camaraderie.

At one point in our conversation, Jim commented that he often has to explain to clients the importance of presenting a project proposal within the context of the organization's overall financial picture. Some clients resist sharing their financials with funders. They forget that information is available to the world on the organization's 990 form.

So, here's a tip from Jim. The funder can look at the agency's finances anyway. Your job, as a grant writer, is to make it easy for them to see how this project fits into the big picture.

This is so important. In fact, when the Foundation Center asked the question, "How do you usually read a grant request?" here's what some of the respondents had to say:

"I look at the budget. Over the years I've learned that narrative can be enriching, but the numbers are stark and straightforward. I want to see that the money is doing the job described in the proposal." Joel Orosz W.K. Kellogg Foundation

"I skip around the document in the following way: first the budget, to see if the request is appropriate and to see the agency's financials; then the project section, to see what they want to accomplish; then the board list." Lynn Pattillo The Pittulloch Foundation, Inc.

"I often look at the budget and then read the proposal backwards." Michael Gilligan The Henry Luce Foundation, Inc.

If you're new to preparing grant budgets, the Foundation Center offers this [free] basic tutorial.

Tutorials - Proposal Proposal Budgeting Basics: "This online course is designed to help with the basics of developing a project budget, and it is geared for those who have general knowledge of proposal development.

No comments: