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Why are grant guidelines so different? Q&A with Teresa Huff, Grant Writing Simplified Podcast

Grant Writing Q&A: Why Are Grant Application Guidelines So Different? [Episode 008]

Today I’m doing a quick Q&A episode for you on grant application guidelines. Next week’s episode is such a good interview with a grant funder, so be sure to come back for Episode 9 to catch that. In preparation for that episode, I want to address a question I often hear:

Why do grant funder guidelines vary so much from one foundation to the next?

Short answer: Because it’s their money so they get to make the rules, that’s why.

I preach over and over how important it is to follow the guidelines when you’re applying for a grant. First, what do I mean by that?

Grant guidelines are:

The list of application instructions a grantmaker provides
Includes things like the deadline, format, how to send it, questions they want you to answer, proposed budget, etc.

Why are they so different?

Each funder’s purpose and platform for offering grant funds is different. Their work in the community and their goals differ from one foundation to the next. They’re looking for an ROI (Return on Investment, or Impact), and what is going to give the greatest return. They develop their grant guidelines accordingly.

Some applications require all kinds of extra documentation – letters of support, signatures, forms, maps, price quotes, etc. Others want heavy research and statistics. Then there’s the whole range from a general request to the most detailed project design, complete with logic models and tables. Once in awhile, you’ll come across one that really doesn’t give you much guidance at all. You’re left shooting in the dark and hoping to hit the mark. That’s where a phone call or email comes in handy when possible.

Now before you go all deer in the headlights on me at the thought of talking to a grantmaker, I’ve got you covered here. You can grab my Grant Funder Call Script where I map out how to prepare for the call, a step by step script so you’ll know what kinds of questions to ask, and a template that you can customize for each funder. Go to teresahuff.com/script and start calling with confidence.

Our job is to present each individualized request in a way that clearly paints a picture for that funder of your organization’s need. You’ve got this!

Want to learn more? You might like Episode 9: What a Grant Funder Really Wants: Interview with a Grant Maker [Mindy Honey, Skaggs Foundation]

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