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In general, the cover letter is followed by the cover sheet, the narrative, budget, qualifications of your organization, conclusion and appendices, as follows:

  1. Cover Letter (Overview of funding request)
  2. Cover Sheet (Executive summary)
  3. Narrative:
    Needs Assessment
    Goals and Objectives
  4. Budget (Administrative & program costs)
  5. Qualifications (Applicant credibility)
  6. Conclusion (Summary)
  7. Appendices (Support materials)

In addition, grantmakers sometimes require a narrative of budget items, long-term funding sources, and an empirical analysis..

1) Cover Letter (one page)

Provide a clear, concise overview of the organization, purpose and reason for and amount of the funding request. Be sure to show how your proposal furthers the grantmaker's mission, goals and matches the funder's grant application guidelines. Cover Letters should be typed on letterhead. (See sample Cover Letter)
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2) Cover Sheet (1/2 page)

Also called an executive summary, this case statement and proposal summary is the most important component of your proposal. Summarize all of the key information and convince the grantmaker to consider your proposal for funding. Introduce your proposal, present a clear, concise summary of, and the visual framework for, the proposed project/program, and include: Applicant contact information, purpose of the funding request, need/problem, objectives, methods, total project cost, amount requested. (See sample Cover Sheet)
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3) Narrative (10-15 Pages)

a) Needs Assessment (Problem Statement) (3-4 Pages)

Objectively address specific situation, opportunity, problem, issue, need, and the community your proposal addresses. Support your statement with qualified third-party research/evidence to justify the need or problem. Clearly, concisely demonstrate that a relevant, compelling problem or need exists, and include the following:

  1. Description of target population.
  2. Definition of community problem to be addressed and service area need.

b) Program Goals and Objectives (1 - 2 pages)

Describe the outcome of the grant in measurable terms, in a succinct description of the proposed project outcome and accomplishments, including your overall goal(s); specific objectives or ways in which you will meet the goal(s). Program Goals and Objectives should include:

  1. Minimum of one goal for each problem or need in the problem or statement.
  2. Description of the benefiting population.
  3. Performance - the action which occurs within a specific time frame at an expected proficiency.
  4. Process - the method by which the action will occur.
  5. Product - the tangible results from the action's performance and process.

c) Methodology (4 + Pages)

Describe the process to be used to achieve the outcome and accomplishments, in a rational, direct, chronological description of the proposed project; actions that will accomplish your objectives; impact of your proposed activities, how they will benefit the community and who will carry out the activities; time frame for your project/program; long-term strategies for maintaining the on-going project/program. Methodology should include:

  1. Restatement of problems and objectives.
  2. Clear description and explanation of program/project scope and activities.
  3. Sequence of activities, staffing, clients and client selection.
  4. Time line of activities.

d) Evaluation (1 - 2 Pages)

Determine the plan for meeting performance and producing the program/project and justify how you will measure the effectiveness of your activities, who will be involved in evaluating and how they will be used; your measured criteria to produce a successful project/program; the expected outcome/achievement at the end of funding period. Evaluations should include:

  1. Plan for evaluating accomplishment of objectives.
  2. Plan for modifying process and methodology.
  3. Provide methods - criteria, data, instruments, analysis.
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4) Budget

Clearly delineate costs to be met by the funder and all other funding sources; outline both administrative and program costs.

For specific projects, include separate budgets for the general operating and the special project. Show income and expenses in columnar form (according to general accounting/bookkeeping principles).

Delineate personnel costs for salary and fringe benefit information, and other-than-personal-services (OTPS) expenses for facility operating (rent/mortgage, utilities, maintenance, taxes), and travel, postage, equipment costs, supplies, and insurance, etc.

List actual committed and pending sources of income only. Include fees for service, government funds, corporate/private grants, individual donations, etc.

Prepare a detailed budget consistent with the proposal narrative (See sample Budget):

  1. Include project costs to be incurred at the time of the program's implementation.
  2. Include no miscellaneous or contingency categories, include all items requested for funding, and all items to be paid by other sources, consultants.
  3. Detail fringe benefits separately from salaries, detail all OTPS costs.
  4. List separately all donated services, including volunteers, indirect costs where appropriate.
  5. Sufficiently justify performance of the tasks described in the narrative.
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5) Qualifications (1-2 pages)

Describe applicant, qualifications for funding and establish credibility. Demonstrate the means and methodology to solve the problem, or meet the need, within 12-15 months, and include the following:

  1. Organization identity and purpose, constituents and service area. Brief summary of organization history, mission and goals.
  2. Brief description of organization current programs, activities, service statistics, and strengths/accomplishments. Long-range goals and current programs/projects and activities.
  3. Evidence and support (including qualified third-party statistics) of accomplishments.
  4. Number of board members, full time paid staff, part-time paid staff, and volunteers. Evidence of Board involvement, activity and key staff members qualifications and administrative competence.
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6) Conclusion (1/2 page)

Present a brief, concise summary of your proposal that states your case, problem, solution and sources/uses of project/program funds.
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7) Appendices

Additional attachments are usually required at the funder's discretion. Typical appendices generally include:

  1. Verification of tax-exempt status (IRS determination letter).
  2. Certificate of Incorporation and By-Laws.
  3. Listing of officers and Board of Directors.
  4. Financial statements for last completed fiscal year (audited, preferred).
  5. Current general operating budget and special project budget (if applicable).
  6. List of clients served (if appropriate).
  7. List of other current funding sources and uses.
  8. Biographies of key personnel or resumes (only if requested).
  9. Support letters or endorsements (limited number).
  10. Commitment letters from project/program consultants or subcontractors (if applicable).
  11. Diagrams for equipment or schematics for building requests (if applicable).
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