We’re back with another grant writing tip for non profit and charitable organizations seeking to increase their grant writing success rate. Today’s tip emerges directly from the conversations we’ve had with grantmakers: the focus of your grant proposal should always be on a solution, not a problem.
Charitable and not for profit organizations are by nature a problem-solving lot. Often tackling big issues with limited resources, the focus of many in the industry is on common problems facing society: be it health, education, human rights, or other areas, the ability to identify and solve problems is a major component of the mission of many organizations. In fact, it could be argued that charities and not for profits are legitimately problem-solving experts.
Unfortunately, grant proposals submitted by these problem solving experts far too often stop at the “problem” and fail to address the “solution” in detail.
While you’ll certainly need to address the problem your organization or project is proposing to tackle, the major focus of your grant proposal should ALWAYS be on the solution (and never vice versa).
There are several reasons why you must always focus on solutions rather than problems:
- Grantmakers want to know HOW you’re going to accomplish your proposed objectives, even more so than WHY.
- A focus on problems rather than solutions can lend your proposal a negative vibe. Proposal writers must never forget the human element – that is, a real person is going to read your proposal, and thus you want to do everything you can to instill positive emotions in the reader.
- The grantmaker is going to measure the success of your proposal based on measurable outcomes, which you can’t communicate if your focus is on defining a problem.
So next time you’re preparing a grant proposal, remember, it’s assumed your project is going to address a problem or need, and it’s the “how” that holds real weight.