Nigeria Network of NGOs Trains Nonprofits on the Fundamentals of Grant Proposal Writing.


By Oyindamola Aramide

The training focused on grant writing as the process of creating a proposal to request funding from a grant organization, government agency, foundation, or other funding source. The facilitator, Ms. Tsema Ede, Program Director, JCDF, provided an overview of the different types of grants available, including government grants, private foundation grants, and corporate grants. 

Ms. Ede explained that the goal of grant writing is to convince the funder that the proposed project or program is worthy of their support. This involves presenting a compelling case, outlining the project objectives, methods, and expected outcomes, as well as demonstrating that the funds will be used responsibly. 

The different types of grants discussed include government grants, which are typically competitive and address public needs and priorities, and private foundation grants, which are provided by independent entities with their own endowments and specific missions. Corporate grants were also mentioned, which are part of a company’s corporate social responsibility efforts. 

Ms. Ede then outlined the key components of a grant proposal, including an executive summary, a statement of need or problem statement, goals and objectives, methods and approach, an evaluation plan, a budget, and a sustainability plan. She emphasized the importance of keeping the proposal concise and focused on the most critical elements. 

Using a sample proposal for a gender-based violence intervention organization, Ms. Ede demonstrated how to structure the different sections of the proposal, such as introducing the issue, identifying specific challenges, emphasizing the impact on the community, and outlining the proposed solutions and activities. 

She stressed the importance of clearly articulating the problem, the goals and objectives, and the methods for addressing the problem. The evaluation plan is also crucial, as it allows the funder to understand how the organization will measure the success of the project. 

She advised that the budget should be comprehensive, covering all the necessary expenses, such as workshop materials, travel, and accommodation. She emphasized the need to demonstrate the sustainability of the proposed intervention, as funders are often concerned about the long-term viability of the project. 

Throughout the discussion, Ms. Ede Sheema encouraged the participants to think about their own work and the specific challenges they face in their ground rights efforts. She invited them to share their experiences and questions, which she addressed as the conversation progressed. 

She emphasized the importance of a well-crafted proposal that clearly articulates the problem, the proposed solution, and the expected outcomes. She stressed the importance of ensuring that budgets are reasonable and not overly ambitious, as donors may be hesitant to work with organizations that appear dishonest or wasteful. 

She said, “When it comes to grant writing, it’s crucial to know what you want to do and research the available funding opportunities. Meeting the eligibility criteria is essential, as is developing a compelling proposal that showcases the importance of the work and the need for funding. Storytelling is a valuable tool in this process.” 

The budget and financial planning are also critical components. Applicants should present a clear and realistic budget and follow up with the funder to address any questions or concerns. Attention to detail and adherence to the funder’s guidelines are key to a successful application. 

It’s important to research the funder’s strategy, priorities, and previously funded projects to ensure that the proposal aligns with their interests. Clarity, conciseness, and consistent terminology are essential in the proposal writing process, as they make the application more accessible and enjoyable for the reader. 

Methodology and approach should be clearly outlined, with a focus on realistic and achievable goals. Potential challenges and mitigation strategies should also be addressed, demonstrating the applicant’s understanding of the project’s risks and their ability to manage them. 

Following the funder’s application guidelines is crucial, as deviating from them can create unnecessary stress and reduce the chances of success. Proofreading and editing the proposal to ensure accuracy and professionalism are also important steps in the grant writing process. 

Common challenges in grant writing include failing to understand the guidelines, lack of clarity in objectives, weak problem statements, and inadequate research on the funder’s priorities and previously funded projects. Addressing these issues can significantly improve the chances of a successful application. 

Applicants should also ensure that their background and experience are relevant to the funder’s interests and the proposed project. Brevity, precision, and staying within word limits are crucial in the proposal writing process. 

Ms. Ede also noted that sustainability beyond the grant period is a key consideration. Applicants should outline how they intend to sustain the projects, and include appendices like detailed project timelines, work plans, and resumes of key personnel. Letters of support from community leaders and organizations can also strengthen the application. 

Finally, it’s important to remember that grant writing is a competitive process, and funders often have specific priorities and preferences. By understanding these factors and tailoring the proposal accordingly, applicants can increase their chances of securing the necessary funding for their projects.