Before contacting prospective grantmakers, you must first develop the master proposal that completely but succinctly presents your plan. According to the Foundation Center, to achieve this you must:
- Set your funding priorities
- Draft the master proposal
- Package the proposal
- Research potential funders
- Contact and cultivate potential funders
- Respond to the result
Set up your funding priorities
Compose your mission statement—A written summary of your agency's vision
Acquire nonprofit status—Don't forget to obtain your 501(c)(3) status from the IRS!
Set funding priorities—Start with a planning session.
Draft your master proposal
A rough draft will clarify your request. Bring together detailed information on your project and select your proposal writer. You will need to include the executive summary, statement of need, project description, budget, and organizational information.
Package the proposal
Once the master proposal is written, you will need to craft it to the specific funder's priorities. You will also need to provide a cover letter and an appendix, if necessary.
Research potential funders
At this point you will need to identify sources most likely to fund your proposal. See "Researching Grants" for more information.
Contact and cultivate potential funders
Speaking with a potential funder at the outset about your organization and proposal helps to identify interested funders and saves time.
Respond to the result
Following up is an important component in the grant writing process. Even if you are initially rejected, maintaining a relationship with the funder could help you improve your proposal to send to other funders, as well as open up dialog for future proposals.