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How to increase your grant funding

Grants are a wonderful source of income for nonprofits, but it can be overwhelming when you are faced with the task of writing an application for a particularly competitive grant. Recently, Church Mutual partnered with Angie Servi, EdD, of Northcentral Technical College in Wausau, Wisconsin, to offer a webinar titled “Make Your Grant Pop: How to Stand Out and Increase Grant Funding.”

According to Servi, there are three main strategies you should use when applying for grants:

  1. Balance your strengths with your needs. 
    Make sure the grant-giver knows you are deserving of this extra funding, but don’t go over the top in lauding your organization’s strengths. Remember, ultimately you want to convince them you need this money to be a more effective organization.

  2. Provide measurements to which you will hold your organization accountable. 
    Use the acronym SMART to determine whether your goals are appropriate: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, T Consider the following example of a not-SMART vs. SMART measurement:
    • Not SMART: We will improve our services to Spanish-speaking youth.
    • SMART: In the summer of 2023, we will offer a week-long, Spanish-only leadership development program for children ages 10-16 to build skills and confidence as a means of enacting positive change in our community. The program will serve 25 children.

  3. Show the funding entity you are working on sustaining whatever program or event the grant will fund. 
    The grant-giver wants to know you are doing your part to make your vision a reality. If you can relate how you have already formed a committee that is looking into sustainability, that can be a major selling point. Ideas for sustainability can include creating a major gifts program, a paid membership program or an annual funding campaign.

Promoting your organization in the grant application

Do not assume the funding entity knows anything about your organization. Tell your story—where you want to go, and how you want to get there. Share your value proposition, not your mission statement. Your value proposition explains why you should receive this grant rather than another organization, and should have the following:

  • Appeal: It should make the donor want to give to you, using impact or emotional appeal.
  • Clarity: Your goal should be clear.
  • Exclusivity: The value proposition should show you are unique.
  • Credible: You can include letters of support and display a proven track record to show your credibility.

In the simplest of terms, your value proposition should state the following: We help X do Y by doing Z.

If you can make your case and show you have created measurable and attainable goals, the funding organization is more likely to put you at the top of the list for receiving a grant.

To find more relevant information and resources for nonprofits, visit