NGOs: Here’s How to Create Successful Grant Applications

With increased competition for funding, NGOs need to ensure their grant applications are based on impact models to acquire the funding they seek.

There are an estimated 40,000 NGDOs (non-governmental development organizations) worldwide, delivering humanitarian and development support or actively engaged in advocacy or international rights-based work across borders. Funded predominantly by grants and donors, NGOs face increasing competition for financial aid, with limited funds available from government organizations and other donors.

What many NGOs may not realize is that we are on the cusp of more robust measurement requirements being enforced by funders, while government organizations are becoming more thorough in analyzing grant applications. For NGOs hoping to gain a competitive advantage when applying for funding, it’s important to use these new measurement requirements to your advantage.

Before you begin your grant writing process, ensure that your organization has a clearly defined logic model which outlines your impact strategy. The most commonly used methodology for creating social and environmental impact is the Theory of Change (TOC), which is used by companies, government sectors, philanthropy organizations, and not-for-profits, and can be done through workshops and planning sessions.

After outlining your impact model, you can use it to help guide the grant writing process. We’ve compiled a checklist to ensure your proposal meets all the requirements that many funders are now looking for.

Grant Writing Checklist

Start by creating (or refining) a logic model (theory of change or impact story) for the project outlined in the grant proposal:

  1. Outline your mission (impact goal).
  2. State the objectives (outcomes).
  3. Identify inputs, resources or barriers (risks) to meeting your objective (outcomes).
  4. State activities or interventions that you will undertake in order to bring about the desired change
  5. State outputs, which are the direct results of the group’s activities
  6. Using the components listed above, draft a visual representation of the logic model (theory of change or impact story).

After the impact model component of your proposal is complete, be sure to do the following:

  1. Create an evaluation plan for the project.
  2. Prepare a budget for the project.
  3. Describe how you’ll plan for project sustainability.

Grant applications can be daunting, especially with increased competition and more stringent requirements. Yet by following the advice and steps listed above, you can be sure that your application will get noticed, and that’s the first step in securing financial resources.

For more assistance with creating an impact or logic model, contact us. We can put you in touch with a consultant who is able to guide you through the process.

Written for Riddl by Jill Mersereau

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