by Lisa Jo Rudy
This is part 3 in our series on grant writing.
A grant proposal is a document which requests a donation of money from a corporation, foundation, funding agency or individual.
Contrary to popular opinion, grant writing is NOT always a monumental or technical project. Nor does it necessarily require years of experience .A grant proposal may be long or short, complex or simple. It can contain charts and tables – or just a few paragraphs of compelling prose.
The biggest, most complex grant proposals are big federal proposals written to request multiple millions of dollars for technical projects. For example, Big University wants a $10 million grant to build and run a particle accelerator. Quite frankly, I’ve never written such a grant – it sounds overwhelmingly complex and difficult, and I know relatively little about particle accelerators. (pay – starting at the low thousands and going up into the tens of thousands – nice work if you can get or do it!)
The smallest, least complex proposals usually go to individuals or small local corporations. They may be as small as one page long, and they’re typically relatively informal. They’re also usually written for small amounts or in-kind gifts – “please donate party platters for our annual fundraising event,” or “please give us $500 to pay for the rental of a bus for a special outing for disabled residents.” (pay – $100 up to about $500 depending upon the size of the grant. No one will pay you $500 to write a grant for $500 – but they might pay you that much to write a grant for $5,000.)
It’s perfectly reasonable to cut your fundraising teeth on small grant writing projects for local non-profits, and it’s equally reasonable to charge a small amount of money to do so. In fact, if you can get out there and write three or four small proposals for, say, $50 apiece,
* you’ll have a nice set of “clips” to show off to other prospective
* you’ll have done a good thing for a non-profit you care about,
* you’ll have raised your profile locally as a fundraising writer
* you’ll have made a few hundred dollars
Not all bad!