Get a Yes to Your Grant Application


Four secrets to securing grants for your organization

In the world of non-profits, grants can be very helpful when fundraising. But preparing grant applications is a lot of work and there’s no guarantee that work will pay off. That’s why it’s important to ensure you’ve done everything possible to get the funder to give you a ‘Yes’.

Fortunately, there are some secrets we use to reduce the chance of wasting our time and show a potential funder why your project is one they can get behind.


  1. Establish a relationship.

As in everything, who you know—and who knows you—is important. It’s easier to say yes when a relationship has been established.  Having a relationship or link to a funder doesn’t mean you don’t have to put in the work to make a solid case for support, but it can help.

The other benefit of establishing a relationship is that you can talk to the grantmaker before putting time and effort into preparing the application!  This allows you to find out if your project is, or isn’t, a great fit for this particular grant.  If not, you know to focus your efforts elsewhere.


  1. Create an explicit statement of need.

Grantmakers know their field and know it well, but they don’t necessarily understand how the work your organization does fits in with what they are passionate about.

Present them with an explicit statement of need. How can they help your target audience?  Substantiate the need with data sources, quotes or testimonials so they don’t have to wonder where your information is coming from.


  1. Be SMART.

SMART goals allow you and the funder to measure how your project is coming along. These goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. SMART goals outline how much change can be expected, illustrate how they’ll be achieved, address the entire scope of the problem, and have a deadline.


  1. Show them the win.

Grantmakers need to see the impact of their ‘Yes’. What will success look like?

Your application will include lots of details, but strong applications give the funder a succinct, clear statement of the results of receiving the grant. Include a few powerful sentences, and pictures when possible, that will allow them to see what success looks like and discuss your application with others in a positive way.