Follow Every Single Requirement of a Grantor

I know, I know, reading the requirements put forth in a Request for Proposal (RFP) for grant funding is mundane at best. I have used such materials myself to combat insomnia. As painful as it might be, you need to read every requirement and follow them all. You might discover it is not even worth your while to apply. Similarly, you are likely to find specific language that directs you as to what programs and activities for which you can and cannot seek funding.

Year ago I looked over a grant proposal that was written by a professional grant writer. It seemed like a very strong proposal. I knew the proposal was unsuccessful, and I was puzzled as to why. Then I read the rejection letter and saw this key line “While your proposal was strong, as pointed out in our RFP we do not fund staff salaries.” Yep, this beautifully written, but rejected proposal requested 1/3 of funding for staff pay. It does not matter how brilliantly you write or build your case for funding, if you do not follow all the requirements, you will not get funding.

I have also sat on the other side of the fence on occasion to decide what proposal was worthy of funding. Our deadline was 5:00 p.m. on 1 June. Over a dozen grant writers called me after 5 p.m. that day to ask if they could please submit the proposal a day late, or at least a few hours late. You are almost never going to find a grantor who will extend a deadline for a grant proposal. Today, grant proposals flood most funder’s offices. To give you the ability to extend a deadline is giving you an unfair advantage. The last thing a foundation wants is for you to accuse them of unfair funding practices, supported by the knowledge that somebody else got an extension they denied to you.

Missing a deadline and applying for funds not covered by a foundation are just a couple of examples of mistakes commonly made by grant writers. It is not just worth your time to read every single line of the RFP, it is absolutely, positively essential.

More about Steve

I live in Bozeman, Montana with the love of my life. I needed only one date before proposing four days later. In October we will mark our 25th anniversary. Our 13-year-old son is a delight. Aside from our careers and our child, we have a dog, a cat and four horses to occupy our time. My career started as a volunteer with nonprofits, working up to Director positions over my 30+-year career. I learned the struggles faced by many nonprofits and have my philosophy on best methods for overcoming those challenges.