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13 tips for submitting a strong grant application

Sep 29, 2014
Grant application tips to hit your target

If your Kiwanis club is facing a financial gap for a project you support, we encourage you to apply for a grant from the Kiwanis International Foundation. In fact, Kiwanis districts and district foundations can apply too. Visit kiwanis.org/foundation/grants to learn about our grant program.

As you consider applying for a grant, don’t be afraid to ask questions. We’re always available to help. In fact, we’ve put together this handy list of tips to help you strengthen your grant application:

1. Who’s eligible? Kiwanis district foundations, districts and clubs. Entities not eligible to receive funding include Kiwanis club foundations and divisions. If your club foundation or division is seeking financial support for a project, contact the foundation to learn about available resources.

2. Don’t start at the last minute.
 Our grant program is very competitive. Like most grantmakers, we cannot fund all requests we receive. To increase your chances of receiving funding, your application should be detailed and comprehensive. Allow enough time to review your application carefully before the submission deadline.

3. Follow the instructions.
 Read the application preview carefully, and think about how you will answer each question. Write a rough draft, and answer all the questions thoroughly. Don’t take the chance of missing out on funding because you didn’t follow the application instructions or left out important information.

4. Don’t just estimate costs.
 When you’re putting together the budget for your application, be as specific as possible where expenses are concerned. If you need to purchase supplies, for example, contact the vendor for the exact cost for the quantity you need.

5. Double-check your math.
 Budgets should not show surplus funds, and your revenue and expenditures must be equal. Be sure to provide a description for each item in your budget.

6. Be specific: how will this project improve children’s lives?
 The Kiwanis International Foundation’s grantmaking committee gives priority to projects that involve children. In your project summary, specify how the grant will help you do just that for the children you want to help.

7. Show your support.
 Make a case for why your project is important to your Kiwanis entity and why the Kiwanis International Foundation should partner with you in funding it.

8. Don’t expect this grant to be your sole source of funding.
 The more funding sources you have, the more likely your project will be successful – especially if we cannot grant the full requested amount. In fact, in addition to your own financial support, other partnerships make your application stronger. Consider requesting donations from individuals and other foundations as well. Local businesses make great partners for in-kind donations.

9. Partner with local Kiwanis Service Leadership Program clubs.
 The Kiwanis family has members of all ages. So you may have local partners among Service Leadership Program clubs. They share the Kiwanis mission–to serve the children of the world. They are logical resources for your project’s fundraising and volunteer efforts.

10. Remember that this is your Kiwanis project and you’ll work with our foundation directly.
 Do you partner with a non-Kiwanis organization on your project? That's great! But remember, our grant would go to your district foundation, district or club. Your Kiwanis entity must take the lead on your project even if a third party will benefit from it. Our foundation only partners with Kiwanis entities, and we don’t work with other organizations through the grant process.

11. Only provide what’s requested.
 To ensure every application is considered in an impartial and uniform manner, we do not accept information beyond our grant application form. You may have beautiful pictures, a great video or brochures promoting your project—but extraneous information and materials are not accepted.

12. Proofread your application.
 Show that our foundation's board should take your project seriously—by demonstrating that you do. Make sure your application is free of grammatical errors. Better yet, share it with someone you can trust to review it thoroughly and give you honest feedback.

13. Remember the deadlines.
 You can submit a grant application at any time, but your application must be submitted by the deadline to be considered at our foundation’s next board meeting.