In a recent analysis of 12 grant writing processes used by grant writing experts, four primary steps and a checklist used by most grant writers emerged.


Here is a checklist of items for each step:

STEP 1 - Develop Your Idea

  • Develop your idea into a fundable proposal, first.
  • Assess the needs of your agency, population to be served and your community.
  • Make your idea more attractive to funders by focusing on what is original, timely, compelling, impactful, sustainable, and able to be replicated.
  • Tap into your passion.

STEP 2 - Research Funders

  • Identify keywords for funder research in commonly used categories, like field of interest, types of support, type of eligible recipient, geographic focus and special population terms.
  • Become familiar with the four primary types of funders: foundations, corporations, government agencies and individual donors.
  • Use both linear and non-linear approaches to finding and attracting funders.
  • Conduct a pre-proposal contact with a potential funder.
  • Get application forms and guidelines.
  • Make sure there is a strong "idea match" between your idea and the funder's.
  • Collect information about funders and how they evaluate proposals.

STEP 3 - Customize Your Proposal

  • Create a timeline for completing your proposal.
  • Apply an approach that has been proven successful. For example, develop partnerships and invite an investment of the funder.
  • Assemble support data you need as you go, such as your IRS determination letter and testimonials.
  • Use winning writing tips, such as defining all acronyms and including an activity time line.
  • Improve the appearance of your proposal using the font style used by funders in their publications whenever possible.
  • Write a first draft; then, conduct a mock review of your first draft and edit.
  • Submit your proposal ideally 10 working days before the deadline.

STEP 4 - Respond to the Funder's Decision

  • Thank each funder, no matter the result.
  • Ask for feedback to improve future proposals.
  • Re-apply, if your idea matches the funder's, using feedback from the funder.
  • Use a 3-submission approach, if necessary.
  • Congratulate yourself on a job well done.


Click here for a .pdf version of this checklist plus grant writing worksheets, sample proposals, sample budgets, and much more from 4Grants.Net.

Author's Bio: 

With a 93% grant success rate and $1.2 Billion in grant funding for over 3,000 students, the Grant Professor Phil Johncock is the “world’s greatest grant writer” according to Mark Victor Hansen, co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul. Check out the Grant Professor’s 3-day Grants Conference and How to Create a Grant Readiness 3-Ring Binder for U.S. Nonprofits, as well as Grant Professional Certification (GPC) Exam Prep course for experienced grant writers.