Writing a Compelling Program Narrative

Greetings from GrantLessons, we continue at 51 followers. From the post last week you may remember we were working together (new grant writer and myself) to find some new grantors. We now have four new  prospects and we need to determine if we want to write a grant for any or all of them. Our chapter’s grant committee will meet today. We will look at what grants have come in over the last month and then collectively determine if we want to write some additional grants. It is important to make sure we balance the ability to bring in money with the chapter’s capacity to handle the responsibilities of spending the money.

Assuming that we want to write a new grant and that we have all our required documents collected (budget, audited financials, etc put into Dropbox) we are now ready to write the document that will be the “heart” of the grant proposal the program narrative. It is important to read over the grantor’s requirement prior to writing the narrative. One also needs to determine if there is a word count requirement for online submissions. In other words, an online submission may limit the number of characters or words that can be used in describing the information being requested in this case the description of the program.

Writing a good program narrative is part art and part science. It helps if the program has been established for a period of time so one has some outputs to use, such as, the number of children clothed in the Operation School Bell program during the last year. In writing a good narrative here are some tips:

1. Put your good writing hat on (know your grammar and spelling issues)

2. Simple is better, be sure to write in the active voice

3. Remember the funder knows nothing about your chapter, paint a picture

4. Support your writing with current data

5. Know what you are asking for and why you are asking, tell a compelling story

6. Tell your story with passion

7. Proofread what you write

8. Ask someone else to critique what you have written

Much of what we have done to date on GrantLessons has had to do with organizing documents in Dropbox and using GrantStation to find a grantor. For many this may be the hardest step writing a winning program narrative. Take your time find some of the English teachers in your chapter and get them to assist you if necessary.

If you want an example, check out the “Downloadable Files” under the “Resource” tab at GrantLessons. Scroll down until you come to the “Writing” section where you will find a sample program narrative. The file is downloadable.

How are you doing with your GuideStar Profile? We are going to discuss this at our grants committee meeting today. First look tells me we have a lot of information to collect and upload. More on that next week.

Hope you are enjoying the cooler weather and the pretty leaves . . .

Catch me when you can and I will catch up with you soon. Sandie

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