Grant Information

Grant funds have become a large portion of the resources under management for United Ways in Florida and across the country.  The trend toward seeking and receiving grant funds to complement and drive funding for community impact initiatives will likely continue its steady rise upward.  Thanks to our friends in North Carolina, below is basic "Grants 101" information to assist United Ways as they move into the grant arena.  And further down are lists of top grant resources and statistical resources.

The United Way of Florida has embarked on an initiative to develop and submit multi-United Way grant proposals to support Florida United Way collective impact efforts.  If you have any suggestions for proposals, questions or comments ... or any suggestions for additional information that should be included below to assist your United Way or others, please contact Laurel McCarty at the United Way of Florida (850-488-8287).


Writing a Grant

10 Things to Do Before You Write a Grant Proposal

  1. Identify your organization's needs. This is much more effective than starting with the grant-making organization and trying to create a project to meet their funding priorities.
  2. Identify a project. Look for one that requires outside funding and directly supports your organization's mission and strategic plan.
  3. Prepare a concept paper. Describe your project in 2 pages. Include information such as the problem or need the project addresses, previous work undertaken to solve the problem, the proposed solution, required resources (including staff time to prepare the proposal), a timeline, and anticipated outcomes. Although writing the paper may be a lot of work, it will help to clarify and test your ideas and to provide you with information necessary to find an appropriate funder.
  4. Research potential funders. If you don't have grants directories and databases of your own, check your local library.
  5. Ask your colleagues for advice. People who work in your organization (or in the same field) can often suggest appropriate foundations or grant programs. Members of your board of directors might also know some good sources. Better yet, you might discover that someone in your organization knows a program officer or a board member of a foundation.
  6. Identify a funder. Does your organization meet the eligibility requirements outlined in the grant guidelines? Does your organization's philosophy match the foundation's philosophy?
  7. Obtain guidelines and information on the application procedure.
  8. Read the guidelines, and follow the directions. It sounds simple, but many people miss out on grant money because they don't provide what the grantmaker requests.
  9. Ask questions. Unless the guidelines clearly state that you should not approach the grant maker, contact the program officer with any questions. Make sure you are prepared with specific questions before placing the call.
  10. Decide who will write the proposal and get started.


Tips on Finding an Appropriate Funder

  • A proposal must convince the prospective donor of two things: A) that a problem/need of significant magnitude exist; B) that the applicant agency has the means and the imagination to solve the problem and/or meet the need.
  • Each grant maker is an individual and should be approached in a different way.
  • Design the project before you go looking for a matching funder.
  • Funders are a match when they're trying to solve the same problem you are.
  • Funders match when they fund projects in the area in which your project will be operated.
  • Funders match when you are eligible according to their policy and your tax status.


Funders match when you're asking for an amount of funds they can and will appropriate.

  • Grant seeking is a process, not an event.
  • Grant making is not a charity. It's an investment.
  • Your only real relationship with the potential funder is the problem. You are both trying to solve the same problem. The proposal tells the potential funder how you intend to do it and why they should invest in you.
  • Grant makers like to partner on a project. If you have one grant maker willing to invest in your project, it's likely you can attract more.
  • Most foundations like to establish a personal relationship with potential grantees.
  • Site visits are common.
  • When approaching a grant maker, be honest and realistic. Don't play games with your project or your budget.



  1. Summary
  2. Introduction
  3. Problem Statement
  4. Objectives
  5. Methods
  6. Evaluation
  7. Future Funding
  8. Budget (no check list)


Proposal Component Checklists:

Proposal Summary

  • Belongs at the beginning of the proposal
  • Identifies the grant applicant
  • Includes at least one sentence on credibility
  • Includes at least one sentence on problem
  • Includes at least one sentence on objectives
  • Includes at least one sentence on methods
  • Includes total cost, funds already obtained, amount requested in this proposal
  • Should be brief
  • Should be clear
  • Should be interesting

Proposal Introduction

  • Clearly established who is applying for funds
  • Describes applicant agency purpose and goals
  • Describes agency programs
  • Describes clients or constituents
  • Provides evidence of accomplishment
  • Offers statistics to support credibility
  • Offers statements an/or endorsements to support credibility
  • Supports credibility in program area in which funds are sought
  • Leads logically to problem statement
  • Is interesting/ shows enthusiasm?
  • Is free of jargon
  • Is brief

Problem Statement

  • Relates to purposes and goals of organization
  • Is of reasonable dimensions
  • Is supported by statistical evidence
  • Is supported by statements from authorities
  • Is stated in terms of clients or beneficiaries
  • Is developed with input from clients and beneficiaries
  • Doesn’t make assumptions
  • Doesn’t use jargon
  • Is interesting to read


  • Describes problem-related outcomes of your program
  • Does not describe you methods
  • Defines the population served
  • States the time when the objectives will be met
  • Describes the objectives in numerical terms, if at all possible


  • Flows naturally from problems and objectives
  • Clearly describes program activities
  • States reasons for selection of activities
  • Describes sequence of activities
  • Describes staffing of program
  • Describes clients and client selection
  • Presents a reasonable scope of activities that can be accomplished within the time allotted for program and within the resources of the applicant.


  • Covers product and process
  • Tells who will be performing evaluation and how evaluators will be selected
  • Defines evaluation criteria
  • Describes data gathering methods
  • Explains any test instruments or questionnaires to be used
  • Describes the process of data analysis
  • Show how evaluation will be used for program improvements
  • Describes evaluation reports to be produced

Future Funding

  • Presents a plan to provide future funding if program is to be continued
  • Discusses both maintenance and future program funding if program is for construction
  • Accounts for other needed expenditures if program includes purchase of equipment


Top Grant Resources:


Top Statistical Resources: