The Standard Components of a Grant Application Explained

Once you have defined your project and identified potential funders, it’s finally time to start preparing your application. Every application is different, depending on the requirements of the funding agency; but there are some fairly standard components of capital funding applications.

The budget is the single most important element of any application. The budget is the financial expression of your project and shows funders exactly where their money will go. The budget usually consists of two components: budget form and budget narrative. The budget form must define every cost associated with the project. The budget narrative provides an explanation for items included on the budget form.

The narrative is the written description of your proposed project. The component parts often request the following information, though the headings may vary: project summary, project goals or objectives, project description, and performance measures. These sections are fairly self-explanatory, but be sure to remember that there is usually a word count associated with the narrative. Multiple rounds of editing are needed to ensure you include all the necessary information in the most concise manner possible.

Additional documentation in the form of organizational attachments will be required including mandatory federal forms, letters of support, and resolution. These documents are important to provide evidence of compliance and support. Technical attachments are required as well, which include documents such as a map of the project area, land use compatibility statement, permits, and environmental crosscutting requirements.

It is important to familiarize yourself with every requirement of a specific application before you get started so nothing is missed. While it may seem daunting, identifying and understanding each element early will help you make a plan that allows the application to be completed by the application deadline.

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You Never Know Until You Ask

Having trouble finding grant opportunities? Not sure if an application is worth the time and resources to complete? Confused about where to begin in general? We get it. The world of grants is overwhelming. Even experienced grant-writers struggle sometimes.

So how do you navigate this world? Put your questions to use and ask them. Whether you consult a program officer or a grant-writing consultant, there are people who have the skills and knowledge to assist you in the process.

Program officers can be particularly useful since every funding agency has a contact person, or program officer, that is responsible for managing the application process for a given opportunity. Create a list of questions, asking for their perspective on how well your project aligns with their priorities. In addition, ask them to give you suggestions, both general and specific, about things to include that will make your proposal stronger.

If you want to invest in a consultant, you then open the door to additional grant-seeking resources like paid subscription services and therefore be able to more efficiently and effectively identify funding opportunities. In addition to their resources, consultants can answer many if not all of the questions you have regarding the entire process. Make full use of this optional investment by engaging them as much as you can.

We regularly blast out more in-depth information regarding tips for your application, downloadable resources and grant alerts. Sign up for our email newsletter here.