First Steps

One of the first things you need to do is plan. Before you seek grant funding for a program or project, answer the following: 

  • What are your needs?
  • What are your resources?
  • Is a grant the best way to funding? 
  • What will you do if you do not get the funding? 
  • How will you sustain your program/project after the funding ends?

If your organization does not have a dedicated grant writer, you may want to consider forming a committee to work on project development as a group.


  • Develop a schedule starting with the due date of the grant, and working backwards from there to determine your start date. 
  • Set a date to complete any revisions.
  • Determine an early deadline to assemble all required information including time needed to get letters of support. 

Find the Funding

One of the first steps you will need to do is to identify potential funding sources.

  • Corporate Foundations usually establish specific funding priorities 
  • Government Grants usually have narrowly focused guidelines 
  • Community and Private Foundations usually emphasize personal contact and long term relationships 

What Should I Do Next? 

  • Verify that the funder makes grants in your geographic area 
  • Read all instructions thoroughly and carefully 
  • Take advantage of technical assistance through phone calls, meetings and workshops 
  • If available, review past successful applications on the funders website 
  • Ask Questions of the funder if permitted 

Should I Apply?

There are several questions you should ask yourself before applying:

  • Does your program/project match the stated mission of the funder? 
  • Is the amount you are requesting within the range the funder is granting? 
  • Do I have the resources available if applying for a matching grant? 
  • Are there specific application due dates and procedures or are proposals reviewed on an ongoing basis? 
  • What are the reporting criteria? Can I adhere to the funders reporting procedures and timelines? 
  • Am I prepared to receive a lesser amount that what I have requested? 
  • What will I do if I do not receive the grant?