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Four Ways to Make Your Grant Appendix Shine

Document illuminated by overhead lightMay 2012

Whether you're an established organization familiar with the grant process or you are a new nonprofit venturing into the state or federal grant writing realm for the first time, chances are you're overwhelmed by the amount of information requested by the funder—and the herculean efforts it can take to gather everything by the deadline. Narratives and budgets are critical elements, but just as crucial in importance—and sometimes overlooked—is your proposal's appendix. "How in the world can I gather all of this information in such a short period of time?" you may ask. "What happens if I’m not able to obtain all the necessary components before the deadline?" There's one simple answer: your grant will not be selected for review, and all the sweat equity and sleepless nights you and your staff have invested in the project will be for naught. Following are four "Do's and Don'ts"—some basic, helpful tips to ensure your application is in A+ form—elements that will make or break your proposal.

What to Do (and Not to Do) to Create a Stellar Appendix

DO:Provide information specifically related to your organization and your project.
DON'T:Provide ambiguous, lengthy information not specifically related to your project.
WHY?Evaluators read thousands of pages during grant competitions. They spot "fluff" a mile away and won't read it.
DO:Provide statistics and information relevant to your organization and local community.
DON'T:Rely solely on national and statewide info/statistics.
WHY?Evaluators want to know what's happening in your community. They want verification that you're involved as an active participant—as part of the solution.
DO:Provide crisp, clean, scanned PDF documents.
DON'T:Provide documents that are crooked, blurry, or incomplete.
WHY?Your grant application is a reflection of your organization and the professionalism with which you will carry out your project.
DO:Obtain Letters of Support/MOU (Memoranda of Understanding) that are current, on letterhead, relevant to your project, and that explain the organization's involvement with your project (work to be performed, cash or in-kind contributions, etc.).
DON'T:Include letters that are old, not signed, not on letterhead, form letters, or letters that do not specifically address the project—or the organization's specific support and involvement in the project.
WHY?Think community; coalitions; partnerships; commitment; support. If you don't include strong, solid, and relevant evidence of support for this specific project, John Doe Nonprofit down the street will. If your applications are comparable—with the exception of your weak letters—John Doe's project will be funded above yours. It cannot be stressed enough how important these letters are to your proposal.

Sandy Rubini, Resource Associates
© 2012, Resource Associates

Sandy Rubini is the quality control specialist for Resource Associates, a firm with over 15 years of experience in grant writing and capacity building and more than 100 professional grant writers. For more information on Resource Associates' free and fee-based services, contact John Nawrocki at (505) 326-4245 or development@grantwriters.net.

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