If possible, have a conversation with a grant officer for the funder. They can help with suggestions on your proposal and whether you should even apply.

Keep it simple

Don’t write with a lot of ‘flowery’ prose and don’t use acronyms that the reader won’t understand. This shows respect for the readers’ time.

Learn how to tell your story in a concise and compelling way with a good mix of statistics, anecdotes, and client testimony.

Connect the dots for the reader. Make sure they understand why you are proposing this project, why it’s important, why it can make a difference, and why it should be funded.


Look for other collaborators for the project. Are there other groups that can provide services, make referrals, etc.? Working with others strengthens the proposal and makes it even more attractive to funders. Make sure you outline each organization’s roles and responsibilities clearly and even include written agreements if possible.


Prepare a complete and well thought out Project Budget. Don’t guess on the costs. Do your research.

Look for other possible funding as well, such as sponsorships, private donations, other local grants, and a commitment of funds from your own organization. Funders don’t usually like to fund a project entirely on their own. They normally like to see other community investment in the project.


Always have a plan B. Funders want to know what you will do if you don’t receive the full amount requested.

Always have a well thought out plan for sustainability of the project into the future. Even equipment has a life span. What will you do the next time or how will you maintain it? Funders want to know their investment will not be lost after the end date of the grant.

Follow instructions

Be sure to follow the instructions to the letter. It demonstrates a level of professionalism & respect for the funder’s process.



Blue River Community Foundation
54 W Broadway Street
Shelbyville, IN 46176

Questions about grant writing?
Contact Jennifer Jones, Program Officer.