How to Write a Grant Proposal for a Nonprofit

Receiving grant money as a non-profit is a very competitive process. To even be considered for private, corporate or government funding, the grant must meet every requirement in their proposal. While grants come from a variety of institutions and sources, they all require similar information. Grant proposals also come in a variety of sizes. Whether you need to write a formal letter or a full-blown proposal, the following tips will help your non-profit receive funding.


Come up with a plan
Before even writing your grant proposal you should determine a plan of action for your organization. You should also be familiar with the information that needs to be included in the grant application. Some grants require a short 1-2 page letter of interest that acts as a mini-proposal and a way for funders to get an idea of which nonprofits are a good fit for their funding.   


Cover letter
The cover letter of a grant should be addressed to a particular person and state what your proposal is asking. You will also want to summarize what exactly your program does and how the additional money from the grant will help you meet goals and objectives. The cover letter is the last step in the grant writing process, but it is the most important because it sets up your grant proposal.


Your grant should be very well outlined and include full information on your program as well as what you are going to do with the funding. The more details you can give, the more likely it is that your proposal will be accepted and you will receive funding.


Additional materials
Depending on the funding you are applying for, the funders of the grant may request other materials to support your claim further. Funders will likely ask for the following information:

  • IRS letters that state your nonprofit is tax-exempt.
  • The budget for your current fiscal year as well as the budget for your next fiscal year if you are applying for funding at the end of a year.
  • A complete list of your board of directors and their affiliations.


It is crucial to double and triple check everything in your proposal. Funders will send specific guidelines, and anything that does not follow their instructions will be disqualified from consideration. If you have additional time, have a colleague go through the proposal and check for spelling mistakes, correct line spacing, and margins, the correct facts, and figures and verify that you answered all of the questions proposed by the funders. You should also only include what is asked for by the foundation.

Written by

Ross Sanner is the Founder and CEO of Think Growth Consulting LLC, a leading company that guides both nonprofit and for-profit businesses through smart, expansive investment and growth opportunities.