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  • Writer's pictureThe MSG Team


Writing grants can be tough work and honestly not all people are made for such a task. Some personalities tend to enjoy the writing of grants more than others.

In fact on our MSG team, Steve Taylor is our chief grant writer who LOVES the detail work that goes into grant writing. Details that many people tend to overlook and assume they can skip over. Just over the past few weeks, Steve and our MSG team have helped nonprofits raise $750,000 in grant money!!!! In saying that, let's focus back on tips you can use before writing your next grant:

RELATIONSHIPS AND INFO - Funders are no different than your private donor base. You need to take the time to build relationships with them. Far too often grant writers start writing applications before taking the time to talk with the funder or throw in the towel if they did not get funded in the past. Our suggestion to you is to check in with the funder first (when possible). Learn about what they fund, how much they tend to give, and ask for feedback about what you are thinking about applying for. If you did not get awarded in the past, ask for feedback why. This sort of feedback can make a huge difference yet so many nonprofits don't take the time to do this.

DON'T CHASE THE MONEY - There is a fine line between being innovative and chasing the money. Take the time to make sure that you are not applying for a grant just to grab extra dollars. Doing so can take away from your mission and duplicate services. The worst part is that programs that are started this way, tend to be the first cut from an organization when money gets tight. Talk about wasted time and money for all parties.

BE REALISTIC - It's easy to look at funders as an ATM who can fund your entire organization. The newer the organization, the more often we hear this. That's not to say out of nowhere large gifts can't happen, but we would suggest that you go back to our first tip, of meeting with the funder to get their opinion first. Asking a funder to make an unrealistic gift, especially one in which no other funder helps to support, can actually make your organization look bad.

IT'S NOT EITHER/OR - When writing a grant, it is tempting to say "This story just pulls at the heartstrings, they will give us the money" while others are so focused on caring only about metrics. Think of this, if there could be two types of grant writers, don't you think the same goes for grant READERS?

Yes the Executive Director of the funder might have some influence but for the most part, grants are awarded by a board or committee . . . with different types of personalities. So make sure you tell some great stories while also backing those stories up with great data. That way you hit both reader preferences. Need help with figuring out metrics and local data to use for your grants? Let us know and our team can help.

CHECK AND THEN DOUBLE CHECK - After you write your grants make sure you double check for errors. Enough said. Try not to proofread your own work but instead have a second set of eyes look things over.

These simple tips can make a huge impact. For more help with grant writing be sure to contact us at Our firm can help take the detailed work of grant writing off your plate, so you can focus on things you do best.


Midwest Studies Group connects nonprofits to their communities, by providing feasibility studies, annual giving studies, RD planning, strategic planning, and capital campaign support. Learn more at

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