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
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
They are ambitious: the results can be replicated in other
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
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
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
Q: We need money
urgently. If we start now, how soon can we expect to receive a
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
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
We can help you win funding for
the project of your dreams!