Lesson #17 – Narrative/Case Statement

Greetings from GrantLessons!

Having returned from a long trip bouncing around in the back seat of a Dodge Ram pick-up truck trying to sew, I was glad to find my computer was ready to get to work. At least I can sit quietly to write!

While much of the other information in a grant application is simply filling out demographic information about the organization or uploading forms that support the organization’s existence the narrative/case statement is where the “sales pitch” is made.

Narratives/case statements are the “heart” of a grant application since this is where the funder sees what the chapter will do with monies they receive from the grant application. This is where you “sell” the funder on giving their resources to your chapter!

A grant writer really needs the help from the members who are running the programs to provide vital information about the program. It is important to read over the funder’s requirements prior to writing the narrative/case statement. 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. Even a paper application may provide only a block that limits the amount of words that will fit into the space.

Writing a good program narrative/case statement 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/case statement 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

Use three committee members to write the narrative/case statement. The dialogue between the committee members will flush out extraneous material and make our work concise, to the point and compelling. Be sure the committee members are knowledgeable about the program.

Here are some thoughts on what I consider important to include:

• The name of the program and the year it began;

• Identify the specific need or issue that the program accomplishes for your community and write a workable solution (spend your words here and do it early in the passage);

• The population being served, unless that has been identified in another question on the application and you need to save words;

• If you are the only nonprofit with this solution in your community, be sure to tell the funder;

• Quantify what you did last year and what you expect to do this year (be realistic and don’t go overboard with statistics); and

• End with a compelling reason why your chapter needs the funding.

You must realize that the narrative/case statement may be the only portion of the application that the funder reads. After you have written the narrative/case statement have several other people read it. EDIT! EDIT! EDIT! It is important to be concise, choose your words with care, and lead your reader to fund your chapter’s program. Do you have a narrative/case statement for each of your chapter programs? Has it been updated recently?

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

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