Grant Writing Basics: Understand the Funder before Writing

Whether you are writing an email, blog post, or lengthy proposal, you need to consider the question, “Who is my audience?” In the grants world, your audience will usually be the agency awarding funds and the people reviewing your application.

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The process of learning about a grant-making agency is closely related to evaluating mission alignment, so this next installment of the Grant Writing Basics series assumes that (1) your organization’s mission aligns with that of the grant-making agency and that (2) you are actively preparing to write a grant application.

Why Is It Important to Understand Your Audience?

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Grant Writing Basics: How to Start Working on Future Funding Opportunities

As with many projects in life, it is best to begin your planning and writing as early as you can. When applying for federal grants, the OMB Uniform Guidance sets forth a 30 to 60 day range for federal funding opportunities to be open:

“(b) The Federal awarding agency must generally make all funding opportunities available for application for at least 60 calendar days. The Federal awarding agency may make a determination to have a less than 60 calendar day availability period but no funding opportunity should be available for less than 30 calendar days unless exigent circumstances require as determined by the Federal awarding agency head or delegate.” §200.203(b)

A reasonable follow-up question to this is what to do if you would like to begin working on a grant application more than two months in advance.

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Demystifying Funding Opportunity Announcements on Grants.gov—Grant Writing Basics

It is easy to be intimidated when you first encounter a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) on Grants.gov.

There are the four tabs of content. The technical language culled from industry and government programs. Application forms, some of which may require file attachments. And, of course, there is the shiver-inducing closing date.

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Grant Writing Basics: 3 Tips to Avoid Last Minute Problems

Applying for a federal grant can be a lot of work involving many moving parts. On top of strategizing, conducting meetings, and writing a compelling proposal, there are other little-but-necessary tasks on the path to successfully submitting your application that you should do well before the closing date.

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Here are 3 tips to avoid some of those last minute problems:

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Grant Writing Basics: Look for the Little Details

Planning and completing a grant application is a lot of work, so in the rush to meet the application deadline it can be easy to overlook little details. That is why it is important to identify all requirements listed in the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) near the beginning of the process (even if it does not seem like a big deal).

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Examples of “Little” Details (that are actually important)

These are specific examples of requirements for certain FOAs—these are NOT requirements for all grant applications.

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Grant Writing Basics: Ensure Mission Alignment before Applying

The mission of a public, private, or nonprofit sector organization is the ultimate driver of their actions. To translate often lofty and theoretical missions into specific actions, organizations set goals to direct their organization’s activities toward accomplishing the mission.

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When it comes to federal grants, no one works alone. Government grants involve at least two parties—the federal awarding agency and the award recipient. So, to promote the public good and to accomplish the goal of the grant program, it is critical that the award recipient and federal agency share the same mission and goals.

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Grant Writing Basics: Make Sure You Are Eligible before Writing

Welcome to the Grant Writing Basics series, in which we will provide you with tips and advice for writing grant applications on Grants.gov. Our goal is to provide the essential info—the basics to begin building (i.e., writing) on a solid foundation.

The first grant writing tip? Save yourself time by confirming you are eligible to apply for the grant before you begin strategizing or writing the application.

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This may seem, well, basic, but we want to avoid assumptions. If you (i.e., the organization you are applying on behalf of) do not meet the specific eligibility requirements, then you cannot receive the grant funds.

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