• Natalie Calhoun

What Does a Grant Maker Look For In a Proposal?



Grants are essential for most human services organizations when it comes to securing funding. Whether they account for a small portion of your funding or are your primary source, winning grants can be extremely difficult and highly competitive. Grant writing can take a lot of work and require many rewrites to produce a solid application. It can also take a lot of time, since often extensive research and data collection is necessary. Knowing what the grant provider wants and is looking for in your proposal is key to success in grant acquisition for your human services organization.

It can be difficult to know exactly what grant providers want, especially if you’re new to grant seeking. What makes it especially difficult is that grant writers all want different things. It won’t work to just create a single grant proposal and send it to all of the grant makers you’re interested in. Each grant submission requires its own process and format. You must follow their guidelines exactly, delivering the format they asked for. If you miss a key requirement, the funder might think you didn’t put enough care into the process.

It’s also very important to make sure your organization and your mission are a good match with what the funder is looking for. Look at their website to see what they are currently looking to fund, and if there are any areas stated that are preferred or areas that will most likely be denied. This will save you time by just focusing on the grant makers that align with your organization. After determining this alignment, make sure to expand on it in your grant proposal. Make it clear that you appreciate what it is the funder aims to accomplish and how you can contribute.

When developing your grant proposals, good writing is essential. Tell a story, making sure it’s clear and compelling. Your proposal shouldn’t be too difficult for the grant maker to read. The impact you intend to make with the funding should be clearly explained. Avoid the fancy jargon; just simply tell your story in a way that is easily understood. Remember that the funder might not have a deep knowledge of your field. Breaking up long paragraphs and sentences with headings and bullet points is a great way to visually indicate the most important points you want to get across.

To effectively tell your story, show that your organization’s work is important and needs funding to continue its good work. Tell the funders what you did with previous grant money and the impact it made. Back up your stories of success with quantifiable data to clearly demonstrate outcomes. The imPowr platform can help you pull the information you need and create easily understandable dashboards and reports. This data will help strengthen your stories and create a compelling case to grant makers.

Grants are an excellent and often essential source of funding, but can be very difficult to acquire. Visit our Nonprofit Resource Center for more tools and information about grant seeking and winning, such as our:

  • Grants Policy Template: Provides direction about if and how to pursue and fulfill requirements of available grants.

  • Grants How-To Guide: Visual guide on how to win grants for your human services organization.


Grant seeking can be a lengthy and difficult process. Make it easier and more organized with the imPowr platform. Get started here.

Continual Care Solutions, Inc.

140 Office Park Way

Pittsford, NY 14534

585-485-0011

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