How to Save Time When Writing Grants

Posted by Ayanna Rutherford on 26.10.2020

selective focus photo of brown and blue hourglass on stones

Time is precious. Writing grants can be a very time consuming and laborious process. The more grants you write, the more you will notice that funders are generally asking the same questions. Instead of having to locate past grant applications to piece together responses, consider creating boilerplate text for your organization.

What is boilerplate text?

Boilerplate text can help simplify the grant writing process by having responses to common grant application questions ready to go, saving you time. Building boilerplate text may be a time-consuming activity on the front end but it will save you time on the back end. Here are five sections to focus on when you begin to develop your boilerplate text.

Mission Statement

When building your boilerplate text, it is important to include your organization’s mission statement. Mission statements usually stay the same, but it is important to confirm that your organization’s work still aligns with the mission.

Some organizations experience mission drift as the years progress. For example, your organization may have begun by focusing on homelessness. One day you begin to receive funding to help foster children navigate their benefits instead of dealing with homelessness. Over time you realize that you have drifted away from your core mission. Before applying for the grant determine if you need to revisit your organization’s mission.

Statement of needs/problems to be addressed

Funders understand that nonprofit organizations exist because there are unmet needs in the community. Describing why the community needs your program is imperative. Developing boilerplate text with an emotional appeal as well as statistics articulating need will help strengthen your application. Be sure to cite reputable sources as part of your statement of needs.                                                     

Description of the target population

This section of the boilerplate text should have as much detail about your target population as possible. Common traits like race, gender, and socio-economic level, can be helpful tools in describing the target population. This is also a section that should include statistics about the targeted population.

Program design

The program design section needs to describe your program model and how it addresses the needs outlined in the “Statement of needs/problems to be addressed” section. This is where you describe exactly how you plan to solve the problem. If you are looking for funding for a program that addresses food deserts and you plan to host a farmers market to address that community need, you would need to explain your approach step by step.

Details like the number of vendors, marketing strategy, partnerships, and stakeholder relationships will need to be included in the program design. When using a program model that has been implemented in other markets, it is important to demonstrate the program’s success through quantitative and anecdotal information. If the program was not successful in another market, explain why and how you plan to make it successful in your market.

Measurable outputs and outcomes

Demonstrating how to plan to measure your program’s success is a common section in the grant application process. Funders want to ensure that they are supporting effective programming. Program measurement can be completed in a number of ways ranging from participant satisfaction surveys to clinical trials. Regardless of how in-depth you plan to go with program measurement, make sure you explain how you plan to measure your program as well as your goals.

Keep adding sections

Include application sections that are appearing frequently in your boilerplate text. This is a live document and needs to be updated regularly. Remember for the text to be effective, it must be up to date!

Photo credit: Aron Visuals 

Topics: Grants, Outcomes, Grant writing