When putting together a grant proposal, you may think you need an entirely new piece of writing. However, many grant applications share common requirements, which makes reusing parts of a past grant proposal a worthwhile idea. Reusing grant information can save nonprofits time and provide new grant writers with context. Nonetheless, there are certain caveats to reusing a grant proposal.
What you need to pay attention to when reusing a grant proposal:
- Several aspects of grant applications tend to be uniform, such as background information, past financial documents, etc. This information is what you want to reuse.
- On the other hand, items such as a budget will differ depending on what project you plan to use the grant for and how much it costs. The needs statement must also be more specific to the funding source that is offering the grant. In addition, keep in mind all the guidelines the specific grant includes and make sure that you don’t forget any steps. If you miss something because you were trying to take a shortcut, your hard work will be moot.
- Review the quality of the writing in the initial grant proposal. Make sure that you did not miss anything the first time around. Then, if you know that there is workable content that you can re-purpose, you can search for other grants that would require a similar proposal.
- Read the exact requirements for the grant application. Paying attention to detail is critical. The funding source will list what is required, and you don’t want to miss a requirement that may not have been relevant to your past proposal. Before you even get to the actual proposal, you also need to make sure you’re qualified to apply in the first place.
- Update any numbers, facts, or new information that may have changed since your initial application. Past work might have a different funder’s name, old statistics, or another program name mentioned.
- Keep in mind feedback you may have received from a funding source or expert after your initial application. Use this feedback to make improvements to any future proposals.
- Copy your initial grant proposal and paste it into the new application. This is a mistake. Re-purposing means finding what is practical to reuse, and this can take some time. It does not mean re-using an entire grant application.
- Ignore the guidelines in the application. Some grants will have different requirements, so you do not want to assume both funding sources will require the same items.
- Forget to have a second set of eyes read through your proposal, even if it has already been checked the first time. To show funding sources that you care about the project, it is critical that you don’t make any blatant mistakes.
- Get rid of past proposals even after re-using them. It is important to save this work because you might be able to re-purpose it for social media posts, emails, newsletters, or even your website.
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