Unlocking Funding for Your Mission: Grant Writing 101 for New Nonprofits

Welcome to the Break The Cycle 757 blog, your ultimate resource for mastering grant writing and securing funding for your nonprofit. Whether you're just starting out or looking to refine your skills, our expert advice, practical tips, and step-by-step guides are designed to help you craft compelling grant proposals that stand out. We provide insights into understanding the grant landscape, preparing your organization, and creating winning proposals. Stay tuned for actionable strategies, budgeting essentials, and writing techniques that will empower your nonprofit to achieve its mission and make a lasting impact. Subscribe now and start your journey to grant writing success with Break The Cycle 757!

DonQuitta Clements

7/26/20173 min read

gray and black typewriter pot with green leaf plants
gray and black typewriter pot with green leaf plants


Welcome to the Break The Cycle 757 blog, where we empower new nonprofits to secure the funding they need to drive meaningful change. If you're just starting your nonprofit journey and eager to learn how to write successful grant proposals, you've come to the right place. Drawing on several years of experience in grant writing, I'm here to guide you through the essentials of crafting compelling proposals that can unlock vital resources for your mission.

Understanding the Grant Landscape

Grant writing is a critical skill for any nonprofit. Grants provide the financial support necessary to launch projects, sustain operations, and expand impact. But where do you begin?

  1. Identifying Funding Opportunities:

  2. Start by researching potential funders whose priorities align with your mission. Look for foundations, government agencies, and corporations that support causes similar to yours.

  3. Overview of the Grant Writing Process:

    • Grant writing involves several key steps: identifying funders, preparing your organization, crafting your proposal, budgeting, and submitting the application. Each step requires careful attention to detail and a strategic approach.

Preparing Your Organization for Grant Writing Success

Before diving into the actual writing, ensure your organization is ready.

  1. Developing a Clear Mission and Vision:

    • A well-defined mission and vision statement helps funders understand your purpose and goals. Make sure these statements are clear, concise, and inspiring.

  2. Building Organizational Capacity:

    • Funders want to invest in organizations that demonstrate strong leadership, effective governance, and sound management practices. Strengthen your organizational infrastructure to build credibility.

  3. Establishing Measurable Goals:

    • Set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals. These will guide your proposal and show funders that you have a clear plan for achieving your objectives.

Crafting a Compelling Proposal

A well-crafted grant proposal tells a story that resonates with funders.

  1. Writing a Compelling Narrative:

    • Use storytelling techniques to engage funders. Describe the problem you're addressing, your innovative solution, and the impact of your work. Make your narrative clear, compelling, and passionate.

  2. Understanding Grant Guidelines:

    • Carefully read and follow the funder's guidelines. Each grant opportunity has specific requirements, and adhering to these increases your chances of success.

  3. Structuring Your Proposal:

    • Organize your proposal logically. Common sections include an executive summary, problem statement, project description, goals and objectives, evaluation plan, and budget. Ensure each section flows smoothly into the next.

Research and Strategy

Effective grant writing is strategic.

  1. Conducting Effective Research:

    • Use online databases, foundation directories, and community resources to find potential funders. Research their past grant recipients to understand their funding preferences.

  2. Tailoring Proposals:

    • Customize each proposal to match the funder's interests and priorities. Highlight how your project aligns with their mission and objectives.

  3. Developing a Strategic Approach:

    • Create a grant-seeking plan that outlines your funding needs, potential funders, timelines, and responsibilities. This plan will keep you organized and focused.

Budgeting Basics

A realistic budget is crucial to your proposal's success.

  1. Creating Realistic Budgets:

    • Detail all project costs, including personnel, supplies, equipment, and administrative expenses. Ensure your budget aligns with your project description.

  2. Aligning Budget Narratives:

    • Your budget narrative should explain how each expense supports your project goals. Be transparent and justify your costs.

  3. Demonstrating Financial Sustainability:

    • Show funders that your organization has a plan for sustaining the project beyond the grant period. Highlight other funding sources and future fundraising strategies.

Writing Techniques and Best Practices

Strong writing makes a difference.

  1. Writing with Clarity and Precision:

    • Avoid jargon and complex language. Write in a clear, concise, and persuasive manner. Ensure every word serves a purpose.

  2. Utilizing Evidence and Data:

    • Support your narrative with data and evidence. Use statistics, research findings, and case studies to build a strong case for your project.

  3. Avoiding Common Pitfalls:

    • Proofread your proposal carefully. Avoid common mistakes such as missing deadlines, failing to follow guidelines, and overlooking required documents.

Review and Feedback

Refine your proposal through feedback.

  1. Peer Review:

    • Share your draft with colleagues or mentors for feedback. Constructive criticism will help you improve your proposal.

  2. Facilitator Feedback:

    • Seek feedback from experienced grant writers or facilitators. They can provide valuable insights and suggestions for improvement.

  3. Revision and Improvement:

    • Revise your proposal based on the feedback received. Make necessary adjustments to enhance clarity, coherence, and impact.

Submission and Follow-Up

The final steps are crucial.

  1. Finalizing Your Proposal:

    • Double-check that all components of your proposal are complete and aligned with the funder's guidelines. Submit your application before the deadline.

  2. Effective Follow-Up:

    • After submission, follow up with the funder to confirm receipt. If your proposal is successful, maintain communication to build a strong relationship. If not, seek feedback to improve future submissions.

Resources and Next Steps

  1. Accessing Additional Resources:

    • Utilize online resources, grant writing workshops, and professional networks to continue developing your skills.

  2. Networking Opportunities:

    • Connect with other nonprofit leaders, funders, and grant writers. Networking can open doors to new funding opportunities and collaborations.

  3. Developing a Personalized Action Plan:

    • Create an action plan that outlines your next steps in grant seeking. Set specific goals and timelines to stay on track.


Grant writing can seem daunting, but with the right approach and resources, you can secure the funding your nonprofit needs to thrive. At Break The Cycle 757, we're committed to helping new nonprofits navigate the grant writing process. By following these steps, you'll be well on your way to writing competitive grant proposals that support your mission and drive positive change in your community. Happy writing