How To Write A Grant Application That Will Stand Out
As a woman business owner, you probably know what it feels like to need funding. Unexpected expenses and cash flow issues can put more strain on a budget that's already tight. Therefore, it’s critical women entrepreneurs know how to write a grant application that will stand out.
One way to get funding is to secure a grant. Business grants are popular because they're essentially free money. The funds can come from various sources including the federal government, individuals, public, and private organizations.
But winning a business grant is not easy. Competition is stiff and the gender bias towards women entrepreneurs doesn't make things any better. According to a study published in the Harvard Business Review, out of the $58 billion invested by venture capitalists, women entrepreneurs only got 2%.
So if you want to increase your chances of securing a grant, you must put in a lot of work, time and effort. And that starts with writing an application that will stand out.
And here at Pailor Community of women business owners, we want to help you do that. In this post, we share six tips that will help you write a compelling grant application. But first:
Do Your Homework
Even before writing a word, make sure you know and understand what you need to provide. The last thing you want is to write a compelling application that will not pass through the screening stage because it doesn't meet requirements.
Go through the instructions and requirements many times before writing. After that, study the organization's goals and what they're looking for in their application. This information will give you an edge.
Make Your Executive Summary Short And Engaging
The executive summary serves as the gateway or introduction to your business. It gives an overview of your business, why you need the grant, and how you intend to use the funds.
Although this may seem like a lot of information to provide, remember you only have a few paragraphs. So put your best foot forward. Make your summary short, engaging, and cut to the chase. Your aim here is to encourage the grant reviewers to keep
Write Imaginative And Captivating Problem Statement
The problem statement, or the needs statement, is the cornerstone of any business grant application. This is where you present the problem you're trying to solve and explain how the funds you seek will help you.
When writing your problem statement, you want to convey the scope of the problem and why your business is unique in addressing that problem.
Demonstrate that you've done your homework. Use simple language to lay out your argument, present your company's plans in detail, and use supporting data.
While at it, keep your reader in mind. Use simple terms since the reviewers may not have your technical or industry expertise.
Be Specific In Your Project Description
The project description section of a grant proposal usually covers these three areas: your business or project goals, how you plan to achieve these goals, and how your goals or project relates to those of the granting organization.
When writing your goals, make sure they're SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.) After that, explain how to intend to achieve them. Here, you want to show you know what you're doing by being as specific as possible.
Some important pieces of information to share in your description are:
● Estimated timelines
● Budget estimates
● How you've handled similar problems in the past and why you're well suited for this
● Number of people you intend to work with and their roles
● Resources you need
● Community members who will benefit
● Key performance metrics or indicators for monitoring
● How you plan to evaluate your venture or project
The overall outcome of this section is to create a clear picture of what you will do with the funds, how to monitor and assess your project, and its impact. It's extremely wise to tie or relate your goals with the overall goals of the organization or institution providing the funds.
Know Your Numbers When Creating Your Budget
You may have touched on your budget in your project description, but when writing the budget you want to provide the specifics. It should be detailed and realistic. Experts recommend keeping your numbers within the funding limits.
And before submitting your budget and application, review your numbers multiple times. A simple discrepancy could disqualify an entire application.
Practice Makes Perfect
When writing grant applications, you will get better with experience. If you're starting, get feedback from peers and other funders willing to take a look.
Business people who put together strong applications have been at it for years. They're constantly improving their models and learning. You too will get there soon. For more tips on grant applications, business grants for women, and more, join the Pailor community.