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Obtaining grants can be challenging. Before starting to write your application, consult the guidelines carefully and follow them closely. Reviewers who may be reading hundreds if not thousands of pages will quickly cull any grant application from the pile that does not meet the guidelines. For advice and assistance, talk to someone who has had either successful grants or acted as a reviewer.
In developing the content below I must credit much of what I learned to the following book. I highly recommend reading it for any one who is new in the grant writing process. Stephanie K Gerding and Pamela H. MacKellar (2006) Grants for libraries: a how-to-do-it manual for librarians. Neal-Schuman Publishers, New York, NY.
The following website non-profit guides: grant-writing tools for non-profit organizations has examples of cover letters, inquiry letters, budgets, proposals etc.
There are many different types of grants and individual proposals may be asking for funding in more than one area. Common grants include
The guidelines from the granting agency will indicate what type of grant proposal they are willing to fund. If the project is a large one you should consider applying to different agencies for different parts of your grant requirements. For example: you may be able to ask for research $ from one source, and equipment $ from another.
Write a short paragraph describing your project. What keywords would you use to describe your project? Think broadly and do not limit your scope by thinking only in library, archive or museum terms.
Use the keywords that you develop to search for possible funding sources. Typical funding sources include all areas of government, foundations, corporations, professional organizations and associations.
Collaboration with others will increase your chances of success. Look for others who could add to your proposal or share costs etc.
Consider contacting the funding agency before you submit your proposal. Talking to someone provides an opportunity to ask specific questions and to respond to funder questions about your organization.
In a conversation you may discover what is most important to the funding agency. This will help you write your grant application. Ask if you can obtain copies of grant applications funded in the last year.
Each proposal should generally include the following.