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Grant Writer Tip 1

Match Your Project With The Grant Program Priorities and Eligibility Requirements

One of the most critical questions facing an applicant when deciding to seek funds from a potential grant-funding program is this:

Does my project meet the priority of this grant Request for Proposal or foundation?

Every grant program announcement or foundation identifies one or more priorities for funding. Some grant announcements precisely describe this focus:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, for example, recently announced the availability of a Community Food Project competitive grant program, which supports two major types of grants:

  • A one-time infusion of federal dollars to support the development of Community Food Projects, which must become self-sustaining.

  • Federal dollars for projects that provide Training and Technical Assistance on a nationwide or regional basis to entities interested in developing Community Food Projects.

If you were a non-profit organization wishing to seek funds under this program you would need to demonstrate several things in your proposal:

For the first priority:

  • You would need to propose establishing a Community-wide Food Program, capable of becoming self-sustaining after a one-year grant.

  • You would have to show how your Food Program precisely served your community residents and could become self-sufficient after one year of funding.

For the second priority:

  • You would need to convince the grant proposal readers that your current Food Program, most likely community-based, possesses the staff expertise and experiences for providing technical assistance to others interested in establishing their own community food programs.

  • You would need to demonstrate that your organization has the capacity to provide assistance on a regional or nationwide basis.

In addition to determining whether or not your project meets a grant making priority, you also need to carefully read the other priorities and essential requirements of the guidelines for submitting a grant.

Returning to the above illustration, the grant announcement lists the eligible applicants who may apply as follows:

  • Private institutions of higher education

  • Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)

  • Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education

  • Nonprofits that do not have a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education

If your organization does not satisfy one or more of these eligibility requirements, then you are restricted from applying for the grant.

The most important question to consider, then, when seeking grant funds, is whether or not your project meets the grant programís priority and whether or not you or your organization are eligible to apply.

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