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Tips for Successful Grant Proposals

At the Ohio Children’s Trust Fund, we’ve worked with numerous organizations seeking grants over the years. We understand that applying for a grant can be an experience filled with anxiety. You have an idea that you believe can do a lot of good in your community, but fulfilling that potential hinges on convincing someone else — someone like us — that your program is a wise investment.

In the interest of forming successful partnerships, we offer these tips for writing successful grant proposals.

General Tips for Writing Grant Proposals

  1. Do Your Homework

    Make sure that your proposal is the kind of proposal that the organization you’re applying to funds. It doesn’t make sense to apply to an agency that gives grants for programs for senior citizens when your proposal is one for an after school program for at-risk children, for example. You want to make sure that what you’re doing is a good match with the mission of the organization offering the funding.

    But beyond just making sure that you’re a good match on a broad level, pay attention to the details and make sure your proposal meets all criteria for funding.
  2. Define a Problem, Offer a Logical Solution

    Use facts, such as those from a local needs assessment, that identify the problem, and be clear as to how your program offers a solution. Make sure your proposal is clear in detailing what you would do with the money and the expected outcomes you believe your program will achieve. Again, make sure that your solution is one that fits the mission and the funding criteria of the organization offering the grant. For example, if the organization requires that your program be supported by research, make sure that your proposal cites research.
  3. Demonstrate Your Expertise

    In addition to telling a story about a need in your community, your grant proposal also tells a story about you. The story should be that you’re knowledgeable, credible, and capable. You’re more likely to receive funding if grant readers see someone who understands their community and the reasons why the solution they’re offering can have an impact.
  4. Include a Budget

    Before anyone gives you money, they’ll want to know that you can use it wisely. That means you’ll need to offer a detailed budget to account for how the money will be spent. If the grant requires cost-sharing or local matches, this should be easy to identify in the budget.
  5. Establish Community Buy-In

    Many proposals require partnerships with local community organizations. If these partners play a vital role in achieving program outcomes, it should be clear, through the submission of MOUs or Letters of Commitment, that these organizations have agreed to be partners at the time of grant submission.

Applying for Grants

Grant opportunities through the Ohio Children’s Trust Fund can have very specific requirements depending on the opportunity. Please make sure you read the complete information and understand the application criteria before submitting your proposal.

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the requirements and deadlines and the types of programs the Trust Fund prioritizes for funding, please submit your application using the forms provided. We look forward to seeing how your program could support our mission in Ohio.