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Making Your Application Shine Against All the Competition

From The Grant Advisors...

The Grant Advisors are mindful that even as the economy continues on its uneven recovery, competition out there is still extremely tough. There has been an ongoing trend of funders cutting funding or dropping out of the pictures. The best way for a grants seeker to stay in the game is to make sure they burnish that application to make sure it stands out in the crowd.

“The job of the grant writer has become much more challenging,” Grant Advisors Ray Sweeney and Frank Klimko say.


In order to be as competitive as possible, it is essential for grantseekers to spend the time necessary to create a realistic budget. Funders want to be sure that their program investments make the biggest bang possible, she says. They are savvy about what things cost and if they receive a proposal with wild guesses as to what things cost, they are very likely to just toss that application aside in favor of one where the grant seekers did their homework, she says. In the box at the bottom, we provide a good primer on foundations and grant writing.

Start at the beginning and make sure that you know what kinds of expenses the funder will entertain. Many grantors are not willing to pay for personnel or technology. Others will not pay for indirect costs or limit the amount that can be requested, the Grant Advisors say.

Partners Count

Many grantors like to know that they are not the only funding source. If you can possibly show matching funds, or significant and meaningful in-kind contributions, the chances that your proposal will be chosen for funding are increased, the Grant Advisors say.

With your project partners in mind, plan your project so that it is broken into various components. Perhaps you can find funding for portions of the program even if you cannot find money to implement the entire plan, she says. It might not be as effective as if you received a full award, but often, implementing portions of a program will still have a positive impact, the Grant Advisors say.

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