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Q: What does a typical grant look like?
A: Government and foundation grants are quite different.

The typical government grant consists of 25 pages of narrative describing the project; a series of forms, including a detailed line-item budget and a separate budget narrative; and a series of attachments, such as maps, charts, resumes, a bibliography, and a timeline. Items that cannot be presented on an 81/2 x 11 sheet of paper, such as a videotape, are not accepted.

Foundation grants are much shorter and simpler: typically a five page narrative, instead of 25, with fewer forms and attachments. However, the requirements of individual foundations vary widely.

One constant between both types of funders is that the project needs to be described in detail. Projects that come across as generic are almost never successful. Therefore, just as much time needs to be put into thinking about, researching and planning a proposal regardless of which funder it is submitted to.

Q: Why are some grants successful while others arenít funded?
A: Successful grants share certain characteristics:

  • They demonstrate a serious need for the project.

  • They present a viable solution to that need Ė usually a research-based solution.

  • They are ambitious: the results can be replicated in other environments.

  • They describe the project is sufficient detail to convince readers that the applicant knows what itís doing.

  • They show that the applicant has the resources to carry out the project.

Q: How much do you charge for writing a grant?
A: For federal grants, we charge $10,000 for a standard format, as described above, and scale up or down based on deviations from the norm. More than 90% of the federal grants we write are priced between $7,500 and $15,000.

Because foundation grants are simpler, they are almost always priced lower. Most fall in the $2,000 to $5,000 range. Five-grant clients receive a 10% discount from our standard pricing.

Q: Do you work on a percentage basis?
A: No. We work for time and expenses, for these reasons:

Government policy doesnít permit using grant funds to pay for grant-writing costs. If we didnít get paid for non-winning grants, our fee for the winning ones would have to be set so high that you wouldnít have enough money to conduct the project. Contingency-based pricing violates the professional code of ethics of the fund-raising field.

Q: Can you guarantee that if we hire you to write a grant, it will win?
A: No one can make such a promise.

The field is too competitive, and decisions always involve an element of subjectivity. However, based on our historic 40% win rate, we are able to guarantee that if you hire us to write five grants for your organization, at least two of them will win. If not, we are prepared to back up our guarantee by writing additional grants at no fee until you have won two.

Since our average fee is $10,000 per grant and the average win is $500,000, based on the mean, you would spend $50,000 for a $1 million return Ė a 5% cost. Anyone with fund-raising experience will recognize that this is very effective fund-raising.

Q: We need money urgently. If we start now, how soon can we expect to receive a check?
A: Grant-winning isnít an overnight process. If you need funds immediately, grants are not the place to start. You should count on six months to a year from the time you begin the process.

  • Figure on a month to conceptualize your project and research the best funder.

  • Another month to prepare a proposal according to that funderís guidelines.

  • Waiting time until the next cycle ends. Government agencies generally have one funding cycle annually; foundations, two or four.

  • Three to six monthsí processing time from the deadline until you are notified of the funderís decision.

Grants should be one element of a balanced approach to development. We can help you to make connections with development consultants who do other types of fund-raising, such as capital campaigns or deferred giving.


We can help you win funding for the project of your dreams!



   Last Updated: 11.27.2007

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