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Grant Writing Best Practices

Top tips for writing a winning grant application

Applying for grants can be a stressful and time-consuming process. To ensure your application has the best chance of securing funding, follow these best practices from grant expert Laura Lay, Partner & Director of Grants at Winning Strategies Washington.


  • Clearly define needs and describe how those needs were identified. Include a detailed account of what needs the funding will address and how those needs were defined. Use measurable information like government statistics, demographic data, and survey results to support your claims.


  • Describe what will be done. Provide a clear, detailed plan of how your organization will use the grant to address the identified needs and achieve the proposed goals and objectives. Describe in as much detail as possible how the funds will be allocated and over what timeframe. Include how success will be measured and how you will gather results.


  • Present the material in a logical manner. Explain each step of your plan in a logical sequence, describing how each step builds on the last to reach your goals.


  • Write in positive terms. It’s important to emphasize the positive impact that your program intends to have and not to focus solely on the problem itself. Show how your organization will use the grant to effect change.


  • Do not use jargon. Don’t assume your audience is familiar with industry-specific terms or acronyms. Use clear, simple language and define any uncommon phrases.


  • Include detailed budgets that match the proposed program. Break out the costs for each part of your program and double-check that your budget accounts for all aspects of your proposed plan.


  • Produce knowledge/give something back. Help your audience understand the issue you plan to address in a new way – provide insight into the problem and how to tackle it.


  • Follow all the guidelines. Check to make sure your submission addresses each part of the application guidelines. Include all necessary supplementary information and follow the directions for submission.


  • Provide clear structure and easy-to-find answers. Your reader shouldn’t have to search for answers in pages of dense text. Use headings, bullets, and short paragraphs to make information easy to find and understand.


  • Include concise yet complete responses. Answer each part of the application with as much detail as necessary, but keep your answers concise, relevant and limited to the scope of the question.

Questions? Contact us

Contact us to learn more about funding options to make at-home drug disposal part of your prevention efforts.