Strategies for Effective Grant Writing for Nonprofit Organizations

Dave Mortach
3 min readMar 13, 2024


Grant writing is a crucial skill for nonprofit organizations seeking funding to support their missions and programs. However, writing successful grant proposals requires more than compelling storytelling; it demands strategic planning, meticulous research, and clear communication. In this blog post, we’ll explore essential strategies for nonprofit organizations to enhance their grant-writing efforts and increase their chances of securing funding.

Understand the Grantmaker’s Priorities

Before drafting a grant proposal, it’s essential to thoroughly research the grantmaker’s priorities, funding guidelines, and eligibility criteria. Tailor your proposal to align with the funder’s interests and demonstrate how your organization’s mission and programs meet their objectives. By understanding the grantmaker’s priorities, you can increase the relevance and competitiveness of your grant proposal.

Tell a Compelling Story

While grant proposals require factual information and data, storytelling plays a crucial role in capturing the grantmaker’s attention and conveying the impact of your organization’s work. Use compelling narratives, case studies, and testimonials to illustrate the significance of your programs and the difference they make in the lives of beneficiaries. Craft a compelling narrative highlighting the problem you’re addressing, your solution and the outcomes you aim to achieve.

Clearly Define Goals and Objectives

Clearly articulate your proposed project or program’s goals, objectives, and outcomes. Define measurable indicators of success and explain how you will evaluate the impact of your work. Grantmakers want to fund projects demonstrating tangible results and a clear pathway to achieving them. By providing a detailed plan for measuring and reporting outcomes, you build credibility and confidence in your organization’s ability to deliver results.

Showcase Organizational Capacity and Expertise

Grantmakers want to invest in organizations with the capacity to implement funded projects and achieve meaningful outcomes effectively. Highlight your organization’s track record, expertise, and capacity to deliver results. Provide information about your staff’s qualifications, partnerships, financial stability, and governance structure. Demonstrating solid organisational capacity increases your credibility and competitiveness as a grant applicant.

Be Specific About Budget and Financials

Grantmakers expect grant proposals to include a detailed budget that clearly outlines how funds will be used and how they align with the proposed activities and outcomes. Be specific about personnel costs, supplies, equipment, and overhead expenses. Ensure your budget is realistic, feasible, and aligned with the project’s scope. Additionally, provide information about your organization’s financial stability, including sources of revenue, expenses, and financial management practices.

Follow Application Instructions Carefully

Pay close attention to the grantmaker’s grant application instructions and guidelines. Follow formatting requirements, word limits, and submission deadlines meticulously. Submit all required documents and attachments, including letters of support, financial statements, and project budgets. Failure to comply with application instructions can result in your proposal being disqualified from consideration.

Cultivate Relationships with Funders

Building relationships with grantmakers can enhance your organization’s chances of securing funding in the long term. Attend grantmaker events, workshops, and networking opportunities to connect with potential funders and learn about their priorities and funding opportunities. Cultivate relationships with program officers and foundation staff through regular communication and engagement. Building trust and rapport with funders allows you to position your organization for future funding opportunities.


Effective grant writing requires strategic planning, clear communication, and a deep understanding of funders’ priorities. By following these strategies and best practices, nonprofit organizations can increase their competitiveness and secure funding to support their vital work in the community. Through compelling storytelling, clear goals, and strong organizational capacity, nonprofits can effectively convey their impact and attract support from grantmakers.