Enhanced Partnerships - Strategies for Building Grant Applications with Community Partne

Strategies for Building Grant Applications with Community Partners


Before writing the grant application:

1) Identify the problem/ goal area for which funds will be sought.

2) Develop relationships with grantmakers when possible. Communicate with grantmakers about your work periodically, even when you are not in the process of submitting an application.

3) Thoroughly search for relevant grant opportunities (the SLS staff may be able to help. The Provost’s Office also will be able to help you with this process.) Think about approaching government agencies, private foundations or donors, or corporate foundations.
    Note: The Provost’s Office regularly offers workshops on the grant application process. Please consult with their office for the latest schedule. Georgia Tech also subscribes to databases that will aid your grant search process, including Pivot.

4) Consider the proposed project/goal’s fit with the identified funder(s). 

  • Learn the funder's grantmaking philosophy, program interests, and criteria.
  • Does the funder make grants that meet your needs?
  • Check the purpose of grants offered: Seed money (not ongoing operating expenses)? Direct Service? Other?
  • Check the size of grants offered, including minimum and maximum awards. Determine whether you will need to apply for multiple grants and investigate whether this is allowable under the guidelines of each funder.
  • Check out the timeline for submission, and the funding cycle.
  • Check other restrictions (e.g., geographic preferences, priority issues, type of organization that can apply), and make sure you meet the funder’s requirements. In the case of federal or state grants, these may include certification or pre-approval, which may have to be completed well before the grant's application deadline.
  • Look at the number and kind of past awards given by the funder and determine whether your odds of receiving funding warrant the effort it takes to prepare a competitive grant proposal.
  • Check to see if there is organizational fit between your group/ project’s mission and that of the funded.
  • How does your group’s work reflect the funder’s values and goals?
  • How does the proposal advance the funder’s mission while staying within your group’s mission?
  • Check to see if you meet the eligibility criteria.
  • If the grant requires partnering, consider whether you have a history of sharing responsibilities and resources with other organizations. Is there a potential partner for this grant? Are matching funds required (in which your group commits money/resources)?
  • Before beginning, determine if you have the needed time, energy, and other resources to prepare an effective grant application.


5)    Consider a meeting with the funding source. 

  • Learn the funder's preferred method of initial contact (e.g., e-mail, phone, face-to-face meeting).
  • Check to see if the funder offers a conference call or web conference briefing session – if so, attending may be well worth your time.
  • Check to see if the funder offers Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on their website, and review these in detail. The FAQs may be updated periodically.
  • If you see value in a pre-application meeting, and if the funders’ guidelines don’t tell you otherwise, consider requesting a meeting with the grantmaking agency. Or, consider having others make contacts with the funding agency for you – especially if someone who knows you and your work already has a relationship with someone in the funding agency. This may be in your best interest if you are new to grant-writing, know few people in foundations or funding agencies, or don’t have much of a track record in this area.


6)    If you decide to pursue the funding opportunity:

  • Review the literature to find out what approaches might work in your situation.
  • Learn about the problems and goals of the community, and work with partners to develop an intervention for addressing them with the proposed funding. Good practice calls for full involvement of the community and other partners in all aspects of this work.
  • Develop an action plan for the intervention.
  • Indicate how you will adapt the intervention or “best practice” to fit the needs and context of your community (e.g., differences in resources, cultural values, competence, and language).
  • Identify the mode of delivery through which each component and element of the intervention will be delivered in the community (e.g., workshops for skill training).
  • Specify the core components and elements of the intervention.
  • Identify and assess “best practices” or “evidence-based interventions” that could help address the problem or goal in your situation.
  • Set goals and objectives for what "success" would look like.
  • Analyze the problem or goals to be addressed by the intervention.
  • Indicate how you will obtain community involvement in identifying problems and goals to be addressed by the intervention.
  • Describe the prioritized groups to benefit and those implementing the intervention.
  • Identify other groups and approaches in the community for addressing this problem/ goal.
  • Assess the level of the problem or goal.
  • Identify the community problem/goal to be addressed and what needs to be done.


  • Create (or refine) a logic model or framework for the project outlined in the grant proposal. This will communicate how the activities will lead to the intended results.
  • Outline the vision and mission of your project.
  • State the objectives of your project or effort.
  • State the context and conditions under which the problem or goal exists that may affect the intended outcomes (e.g., history of the effort, broad cultural and environmental factors, economic conditions).
  • Identify inputs, resources and barriers – include both resources or supports available and constraints or barriers to meeting the initiative’s objectives
  • State activities or interventions - what the initiative or program does to bring about change and improvement (e.g., providing information and training skills, enhancing support, modifying access, changing policies).
  • State outputs - direct results or products of the group’s activities (e.g., number of people trained or activities conducted).
  • State intended effects - more broadly measured outcomes or results (may include shorter-term, intermediate, and longer-term effects).
  • Using the components listed above in items a-g, draft a picture or visual representation of the framework or model of change.


  • Create an evaluation plan for the project.
  • Indicate what success will look like for the project or initiative. (e.g., how would the lives of individuals and communities be better?)
  • Identify your criteria or indicators for judging success. How will success be measured?
  • Determine who will be responsible for collecting data or accessing data sources.
  • Indicate the role of documentation and evaluation in supporting program improvement and determining effectiveness, along with your plan for documentation/ monitoring your efforts.
  • Describe the results you expect to achieve by the end of the funding period.
  • Prepare a budget for the project.
  • Clearly outline the amount of funding requested for each type of funding sought (e.g., amount for salaries, travel, and equipment).
  • Create a budget justification (i.e., a description of why each type of expense is needed).
  • Consider all forms of potential revenues (e.g., other grants and contracts, local funding, memberships, in-kind support), as well as all forms of expenses (e.g., staff salaries and benefits, consultants, travel, equipment, supplies, rent, insurance), for each year of the proposed project.
  • Identify appropriate matching funds or resources if applicable.



Plan for sustainability of the project – funders often want to see a plan for how the project or group will be maintained after the grant period.

  • Create a business plan to anticipate what resources will be necessary to sustain the organization or effort.
  • Identify specific tactics to be used to sustain the effort (e.g., sharing positions and resources, becoming a line item in an existing budget).
  • Follow up with the funder. 
  • Follow up to be sure that the proposal arrived.
  • Identify a contact person at the grantmaking agency.
  • Prepare a thank you letter.
  • Follow up with partners or other key stakeholders that contributed 


(Adapted from the Workgroup for Community Health and Development at the University of Kansas, 2016)

For More Information: