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What tips or suggestions do you recommend for learning to write grant proposals?


Samantha Blackwell Hampton, GA

I want to start a nonprofit to provide formerly incarcerated people with purposeful employment after being released into society.

12 January 2023 4 replies Small Business



Josh Kim New York, NY

Hi Samantha. I think it's admirable that you are looking into starting a nonprofit to support formerly incarcerated people. Here are a few tips to get you started with writing grant proposals:

1. Research is key. It's essential to do research on the foundations you are applying to. You need to make sure you're applying to the right foundations that support your mission. The secret is to understand the foundation's priorities and how they align with your organization. Doing this research on the front end will save you time in the long run.

2. Communicate what solutions you bring to the table. It's easy to accidentally talk too much about the problems you're tackling instead of explaining HOW you plan to solve the issues. You will separate yourself from the crowd if you can tell a good story while showing that you have a unique program with real solutions.

3. Be realistic with your expectations. More money = more work. For example, asking for a $5k donation doesn't require the same amount of detailed application and reporting as a $50k donation.

4. Develop relationships with foundations and funders before you apply. Building this network will be the hardest but most fruitful part. It will take a lot of work to build that first relationship, but that will slowly turn into a reliable network for you to lean on.

Best of luck!

13 January 2023 Helpful answer


Daphne Boston Charlotte, NC

Hi Samantha,

Thank you for your service. may be a good place to start.


Jennifer Polhemus Santa Monica, CA

Funders look for sustainability, and that's a challenge (in other words, rather impossible) when your nonprofit is new. Consider partnering with (or volunteering with) an existing agency or organization, rather than striking out on your own. The administrative requirements for managing a successful nonprofit, even a small one, are significant and expensive. Let someone else deal with that, and you can do the good work by working within an existing structure. This is probably not the news you wanted to hear, but SO many small nonprofits struggle and end up ineffective. Your mission is so important and you could use your passion to make a difference. Onward!

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