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Calendar Valentine Fund In the News Events Auditions Cookbook

NFMA Grant Writing Workshop, May 24th, 2007

Basic function of the presentation:

Similar to our own "Check list of what to prep..." audition workshops, this focuses on what details you want to worry about and what ones not to worry about as much when you are trying to get very specific funding.

Before sending the proposal off, WORRY ABOUT:

  • Getting your financial info in at an early enough date that you can really put together a clear and accurate picture of what you'll need and why (this is difficult because many financial reports come in right before the grant deadline.)
  • The format and restrictions that funders demand in your grant proposal. You can ask the founders directly what formats they like for their proposals or look at the foundation's 990, contact people who have been awarded funding and check out the format they used in their proposal.
  • How the funding is going to nourish your CORE operating costs (personnel, project costs, etc)
  • If you are applying for a multi-year grant, you may need to include your company's financial history (in addition to your projection). Don't wing this. Get an auditor to go over the details and get an accountant who can articulate how your work has been and will be making money even if for the first few years of the project, there might appear to be an initial net loss.
  • What your sustainability plan is. Once the duration of the Grant runs out, who are you specifically hoping to get picked up by, financially, and how much money are you specifically going to need from each source?
  • Are you being realistic in your money needs or are you claiming to be able to do too much with too little (if the latter, you can seem like you don't know how to realistically manage money)? If you are not paying your staff competitive wages, you should probably explain specifically how that fits into your budget needs and how you are planning to make it work anyway.
  • Is the proposal easy to read and accessible to someone who doesn't work at your organisation (test it out on a neighbor or friend)?


  • Explaining every single detail of your financial plan (right down to coffee, cream and staples). You don't want to seem as if you are making filler or misdirecting the reader. Make your big cost needs clear. Make the connection between the big costs and the big project activities clear.

Notes taken by Matt Haynes