Stand Out, Grants That Make Great 1st Impressions

First impressions count. This is true for individuals, your non-profit organization and especially with your grant requests. Your grant’s success, in part, rest upon the first impression you create on paper, since many grant panelists will be unacquainted with your non-profit organization until they select your application from the stack. How can you make a great first impression? Use the following checklist to standout in print.


  • Bold the questions. This addition helps panelists to navigate during review meetings.
  • Select a generous font size. Use at least an 11 or 12-point.
  • Offer sufficient margins. Avoid creating documents that resemble overstuffed closet.
  • Add your non-profit organization’s name and location to each page.
  • Number your pages.
  • Add pictures, charts or bullet lists on each page to increase reader interest.


Add headings to each budget to identify the time period and subject. For example, 20XX Project Budget and 20XX Organization Budget.
Unless the grant donor requires it, round up or down to eliminate cents in your projected budgets. This provides the same information and adds white space.
Confirm that dates and numbers are consistent throughout the documents. Numerical errors shout to panelists, “Notice me. I’m a mess.”
Demonstrate your non-profit organization’s commitment to the proposed project. That is, your project budget needs to indicate your organization’s contribution in resources and money to the proposed project. Label these clearly.


More is less when you are reading a pile of proposals. Can you shorten any sentences? How about eliminating a paragraph where you repeat yourself? Or, reducing six examples to the best three.

For more than 20 more articles to help you with grant writing see this directory.

For six audios to purchase that will help you write grants if you are a newbie or an expert, follow this link. Each offers one hours of training from Karen– and contains the content of her famous grant-writing workshops.

For other sources of nonprofit income to augment your grant opportunities, read this article, Can Your Organization Obtain More Income?