Although foundations differ widely in size, grant-making priorities, and available assets, most share similar concerns about the projects brought before them for funding. You can increase your chances of getting funded by anticipating these issues and preparing your proposal accordingly.

Before submitting any grant request, review your proposal through the eyes of a foundation officer by asking yourself the following questions:

  1. What is the significance of your project to your organization and to the community in general?
  2. Does the project have realistic goals and time frames?
  3. In what ways is your organization committed to the project?
  4. Does the project fall within the foundation’s interests and geographical area?
  5. Does the project duplicate existing programs or services?
  6. Who will oversee grant expenditures and what are their qualifications?
  7. What are the hoped-for outcomes of the project? Who are the beneficiaries? Are there any “ripple” effects?
  8. How does the project justify the cost?
  9. Can the project be used as a model for duplication elsewhere?
  10. What evidence is there that your organization can effectively complete the program?
  11. How would you characterize your agency’s management capabilities? What is the makeup of your board and other supporters?
  12. What happens to the project after the foundation’s funding ends?
  13. What other sources of funding are available to you?
  14. How can our funding provide leverage for other funders to participate?
  15. Can the project be segmented for partial funding?
  16. How would you describe the general reputation of your agency?
  17. What kind of track record does your agency have in terms of receiving foundation grants?
  18. How can the proposed project be considered a good investment for the foundation?

Reprinted with permission from the January/February 1993 issue of Contributions

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