Each year, millions of dollars are made available by governments and private companies throughout the world, allotting public health researchers, nonprofits, and community leaders the opportunity to fund their health projects. Also known as a “grant,” this money can cover the costs of projects across the spectrum, from scientific research to staffing. In order to secure these funding sources, however, it is imperative to write a compelling grant proposal, detailing how the money will achieve positive health outcomes and how you plan to spend it. First impressions matter, and you will often only get one chance to make your best case for this money. Therefore, having a partner, like Heluna Health to support you with grant writing may give you the advantage you need to win the grant.
The Components of a Winning Grant Proposal
Regardless of the funder you are approaching with your grant proposal (i.e., whether you are attempting to gain money from a foundation, corporation, or government agency), the same information should be present and laid out clearly and precisely. This information includes the following:
- Cover Letter
- Need for Funds
- Goals and Objectives
- Methods and Strategies
- Other Funding
- Organization Information
- Project Budget
- Extra Materials
While opinions vary, many believe that a cover letter is the most critical part of putting together a grant proposal or application. Remember, first impressions matter, and this cover letter will be your first introduction to the person(s) who can potentially fund your health project.
A successful cover letter should be addressed to a specific individual, briefly state what you are asking for, and summarize the entire project. Your primary goal is to get someone to care about your initiative and understand the value that your proposed project offers.
Following the cover letter, you will need to provide a summary of what your population health initiative aims to achieve. This summary should allow the person(s) reviewing your grant proposal to understand what you want and need quickly. Because the reader may be eager to get to the details of your proposal, your summary needs to only be a few short sentences—definitely no more than one page. The goal of the summary is to touch on your main points in the proposal, while simultaneously creating an appetite to learn more.
Need for Funds
This section of the proposal is vital, perhaps just as imperative as the cover letter. Here, you need to effectively state the impact you plan to make with the grant funding, as well as convince the funder that your mission is important and that his or her organization is the appropriate organization to provide funding. You should never assume that the person(s) reading your grant proposal is familiar with your project or initiative; educate them on the subject, but do so quickly and easily. Share what you know, but again, be precise.
Goals and Objectives
After having read the section that details your goals and objectives, the potential funder should have a clear understanding of what you and your organization plan to do for your project if funding is granted. Make sure to include information regarding what you intend to accomplish with the funding and the overall goal(s) of your project or initiative. You are more likely to gain funding assistance with a plan that is well laid out, particularly one that showcases realistic goals and objectives.
Methods and Strategies
Next, you will not only need to state your goals and objectives but show how you plan to achieve them. No organization wants to waste money on funding a project that does not have the potential to succeed or may not lead to positive health outcomes. The less risk there is for the funder, the more inclined he or she will be willing to grant money towards your project. Provide as much information as possible, and be specific, detailed, and thorough when explaining your approach on how you plan to achieve your goals and objectives. If you can show this approach via a model, graph, or chart, even better. Lastly, create a timeline that shows how and when your plan will unfold. A good strategy is key.
Not only do funders want to see a plan of action, but they also want verification that their funds achieved positive health outcomes. Therefore, you will need to show funders how you plan to track the success and progress of your project. For example, provide the type of records or data you plan to keep throughout this entire process, records or data that easily assess the accomplishments of your project.
Have you or do you plan on receiving funds from other sources? Depending on the specific foundation, corporation, or government agency you plan on targeting, it may be in your best interest to reach out to more than one funder. A majority of funders prefer causes to have multiple sources of grant money. Remember that whole “risk” aspect? Do not be afraid to mention other avenues you plan on pursuing for assistance, as well as what you plan to do with those funds if you were to receive them.
Finally, you will get the chance to tell the potential funder more about your organization. While it is not necessary to reveal all details of your project—from start to finish—you should explain within a few paragraphs why and how the funder can trust you to properly use their funds to support an initiative. Include a brief history of your organization or initiative, and ensure that your mission is clearly stated. It is essential to show that you are not only responsible but that you have the ability and passion to grow your project to the next level.
Simply put, how much will it cost to implement your project? Funders need to know this information to assess viability. For complete clarification, include a budget that visually breaks down all expected expenses and income. Do not forget to include personnel costs, direct project costs, and administrative expenses. Income should include all contributed income, such as donations and grant money from all sources. You can also contract with an organization to support your administrative and personnel functions at a specific indirect rate to include in your budget.
Again, the material(s) you include in your grant proposal can change depending on where or who you choose to apply for funds. Generally speaking; however, many funders will like to see the following information:
- An IRS letter that shows your organization is tax-exempt. You can also bypass this step and contract with a fiscal sponsor to act as your 501 (c) (3) organization to accept grants on your behalf.
- A list of every individual who serves as your board of directors, as well as their affiliations
- A current budget for your fiscal year
- The budget for your next fiscal year (if the new year is only a few months away)
Once you have all of these extra materials in order, you can add them to the information detailed above. Whether you plan to submit your proposal via mail or online, double check all documents for accuracy and errors. You want to convey that you are professional and worthy of the requested grant funds.
Writing a Grant Letter for Your Nonprofit
Though almost any organization can put together and send out a grant proposal, those individuals who are involved with nonprofit organizations, in particular, should pursue a grant program as a means for funding.
For starters, there are many funding opportunities available, meaning there is a lot of money out there that is up for grabs. Through foundations and corporate grants, more than $50 billion is awarded to various organizations and causes every single year.
Regardless of your status as a nonprofit organization, there is a large chance that a grant exists for your needs. In fact, many foundations only fund nonprofit organizations while others are open to funding individual researchers or public-private consortia. You may need to spend some time and effort on finding the right foundation and making a lasting connection with the funder(s).
It does not matter if your organization is new or old, or what health project you hope to get support for, almost any need can be funded. Further, grants exist for just about any type of project, including capital campaigns, operational costs, endowment funding, and more. If you are willing to put in the time and energy, you should have no problem finding a grant opportunity that supports your initiative.
Getting Help with Grant Writing
After reading the steps listed above, you may feel as if completing a grant proposal is easy or routine, yet, there is more to the process than meets the eye. Not to mention—again—that first impressions are everything. You only have one shot to stand out from other organizations hoping to secure the same funds as you, so it is imperative to make a winning case the initial time around.
Choosing to pursue grant writing assistance is a strategic move. You can connect with a program development organization, such as Heluna Health, that employs grant writers who have years of experience applying for grants, perhaps even the same grants you are now striving to receive.
By working with an organization like Heluna Health, there is the possibility that you could secure more money for your cause. Those who are familiar with specific aspects of population health can often use their knowledge to make a grant proposal more effective, which can result in you receiving more funds.
Heluna Heath has a variety of support services aimed to improve the health and well-being of communities. Some of those services include contracts and grants management, human resources support, accounting services, and program development support. Our organization has the capability and resources to reach a broad range of communities across health topic areas, ensuring more people get the help they need.
Seeking assistance is also a great way to save time. Think of the situation like this: if you have never written a grant proposal before, then you are going to have to do quite a bit or research to ensure that all of the documents you submit are accurate and compelling enough to grab the attention of the potential funder. However, if you acquire grant writing assistance, you can bypass this process and instead, learn from someone who has decades of experience in submitting grant proposals.
Do you have a dedicated staff person to draft your grant proposals? Chances are, the person(s) tasked with drafting the proposal already has other responsibilities. How dedicated do you think this employee will be to composing a well-written grant proposal if they have other responsibilities competing for their focus and attention? Though, if you work with someone whose sole focus is to assist with the grant proposal, you may increase your chances of submitting a winning proposal. You want and need this grant money for your organization or initiative, and the person drafting the proposal should not be multitasking. The proposal deserves to be a top priority.
Lastly, what better way to learn about grant writing than from someone with deep experience? While this incentive has been touched upon briefly, it is necessary to reiterate that the best way to obtain or strengthen grant writing skills, is to see the process unfold first-hand. Consider grant writing assistance as an investment: get help writing your current grant proposal so that you (or someone on your team) will be able to write future proposals.
Find the Best Grant Writing Assistance for You
If you do decide to hire someone for grant writing assistance, it is true that you may spend some time securing the best help for you and your needs. Depending on your initiative or project, it could be beneficial to find a grant writer who has direct experience with your specific health topic area.
When it comes to grant writing, consider the process as a business transaction. You are asking someone, most likely a stranger, for money—it is that simple. Therefore, a certain level of professionalism and decorum must be enforced when finalizing your grant proposal. When in doubt, leave it to the professionals.
To learn more about Heluna Health and its grant writing assistance options, contact our team today by calling 800-201-7320.