Rewriting your grant proposal for 2021

Hi community!

I am excited to lead the webinar next Tuesday, January 19 on a very timely topic: updating your grant proposal for 2021 to be successful at winning grants in the "new normal."

With all that has changed, and 2020 behind us, you can't count on last year's narrative to win this year's grants. Grant funding is going to be more competitive than ever.

In the webinar, we'll discuss what is MOST important to consider when approaching grant makers this year. I can't wait to join you in conversation.

In advance, let me know: what are your biggest questions about maximizing grant funding opportunities in 2021? What do you think needs attention in your grant proposals? Let's hear your thoughts so we can plan to address your questions.

Look forward to meeting you soon!


Dana Textoris

Grants Plus

KaraAdams (Former Community Manager)TammyTilzeyLavontteChatmonKenRuppel


  • WhitneyMaskWhitneyMask Posts: 1

    I asked this question but it didn't get answered:

    Any insights would be appreciated!

  • DanaTextorisDanaTextoris Posts: 8
    Conversation Starter Photogenic National Center for Family Philanthropy (NCFP)
    edited January 2021

    Hi @WhitneyMask! I remember your question and I'm sorry we didn't get to it during the webinar. I absolutely think that you can maintain that you do not typically seek/accept government funding, but that the pandemic presented an extraordinary exception. As long as you explain to your funders, I think you can acknowledge this unique context and still remain consistent. I hope this helps!

  • AlbaAustinAlbaAustin Posts: 4
    edited January 2021


    On the same realm as the question asked by @WhitneyMask- many local foundations will fund us less if we didn't apply for the PPP loan because their thought process is if -well if you didn't apply for the loan then you must not be in that dire need of our funding and then on the flip side if we applied for the loan and rec'd the loan then some foundations will give us less because they feel we don't need as much funding since we have that loan money. We can't seem to win. We run into same situation if we have reserves or an endowment.

    So how can we best explain to foundations we still need their funding?

  • LorrieFoxLorrieFox Posts: 2

    I am curious if there can be industry-specific informative grant writing webinars for those in healthcare, for example? There are so many grants now asking demographic-related questions and things a lot of organizations hadn't tracked before, some due to privacy restrictions.

  • DanaTextorisDanaTextoris Posts: 8
    Conversation Starter Photogenic National Center for Family Philanthropy (NCFP)

    @LorrieFox I think this is a great suggestion for Foundant to consider for future webinars!

  • cjkingcjking Posts: 1

    I agree, Lorrie and Dana. I would definitely appreciate a healthcare specific grant webinar.

    I'm curious about your organizations. We are a very small hospital in SE VT. Mostly, we do the basics, so a lot of the program grants don't fit us. I would love to discuss and hear some new ideas.

  • LorrieFoxLorrieFox Posts: 2
    edited January 2021

    @cjking ,

    We are a hospice on the dry side of Washington State that provides grief care as one of our many services. We rely heavily on fundraising and grants to fund the program.

    I feel strongly that grief support has become a high priority in the post-COVID-19 era as part of the "new normal".

  • edited January 2021

    @DanaTextoris @LorrieFox @cjking Thank you for the suggestion! We're always looking for new ideas and ways to connect you with one another and maximize the work you do every day. Stay tuned...

    Kara Adams, M.Ed., CAE (she/her/hers)|Community Manager|[email protected]

    Headquartered: Bozeman, MT| Remote Location: Chicago, IL | Direct: 312-802-1374 ||

  • KentWeimerKentWeimer Posts: 121
    World Traveler Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy Third Compass Anniversary 100 Comments
    edited January 2021

    A healthcare specific grant webinar would be interesting.

    I work for a large safety net hospital in Dallas. Though we have several centers of excellence for specialty care, a large percentage of our patients are uninsured or medicaid. One of the the things we learned last year is that the pandemic has put an exclamation point on the health disparities we have in our communities. Under served communities have had to bear a disproportionate burden from the pandemic. This has actually helped us in our fund raising efforts because our goal is to overcome health disparities in our county. Because of this, people seem to be more aware of what we do. We have received unsolicited 6 figure grants from foundations we never had contact with. One half way across the country who saw a news report on what our hospital was doing to fight the pandemic and bring health equality to our community.

    KaraAdams (Former Community Manager)DanaTextoris
  • JaxGitzesJaxGitzes Posts: 5
    5 Likes Photogenic

    I second the sector specific webinars. Many times the information available in the webinars is too general because it is trying to be universal, when different sectors have different expectations. Nonprofits vary just as widely as the for-profit sector.

    I also think it would be interesting to have a webinar about applying for grants when your organization spans multiple sectors. The problems nonprofits are trying to solve are often multifaceted, and more and more programs are addressing issues across sectors. Most grant opportunities have a single focus and it can be hard to determine which category to submit for, and how to craft a proposal that makes your case strongly when you don't fit exactly into just one category.

    DanaTextorisKaraAdams (Former Community Manager)JesikaEllis
  • DanaTextorisDanaTextoris Posts: 8
    Conversation Starter Photogenic National Center for Family Philanthropy (NCFP)

    @JaxGitzes So true that grant seeking involves tough choices about how to showcase the myriad aspects of your mission and match up those aspects to grant funders. Let's say you are an organization that engages youth in environmental issues. You can approach "youth focused" funders as well as "environmental focused" funders by placing different emphasis and highlighting different aspects of your work in those proposals. It doesn't mean you change or distort what you do, but you focus on tying what you do more specifically to that funder's priorities and interests.

  • JaxGitzesJaxGitzes Posts: 5
    5 Likes Photogenic

    @DanaTextoris Thanks Dana, we certainly do that. However, I think a webinar taking a deep dive into this issue would still be useful. There's a lot of nuance and variation from funders on their issue area decision-making that can impact the application process and ultimately your relationship with that funder.

    For instance, what about funders where you fit into multiple of their own issue areas, how do you best approach the funder to see where they would prefer you to submit? What strategies are there for determining the better fit when the funder won't have a conversation ahead of the proposal? How do you strike the right balance within the application in order to compete with programs that fit squarely into their issue areas? How do you address the budget when it's not possible to separate out one issue area funding from another? What if the summary they write of your grant on their website is misleading, how do you politely reach out to explain without risking them rescinding the grant?

    Unfortunately, this is an issue I've had so many conversations with colleagues about who are in the same boat, but never gets addressed in any real detail in webinars, panels, trainings, or at industry conventions.

  • DanaTextorisDanaTextoris Posts: 8
    Conversation Starter Photogenic National Center for Family Philanthropy (NCFP)

    @JaxGitzes These are SUCH good questions, and ones of more sophisticated "next level" grant seeking. Of course the best way to determine the best fit with a funder is a conversation before you apply, but to your point that's not always possible. These are exactly the kinds of questions and choices we help our nonprofit clients grapple with as they approach funders. Part of the challenge of addressing these themes in a webinar are that they are very specific, and tied to the unique context of THAT organization and THAT funder. If you'd like to chat off-line, let me know and we can connect! Just email me at [email protected].

    To your question, "What if the summary they write of your grant on their website is misleading, how do you politely reach out to explain without risking them rescinding the grant?" I think this is a great opportunity to request a brief conversation with your funder. Then have a very positive and "gratitude-filled" conversation about wanting to make sure that their summary highlights and celebrates the most impactful aspects of the project. And come with some specific suggestions about how to tweak. I can't imagine a funder responding negatively to this and certainly can't imagine them rescinding a grant.

    JaxGitzesKaraAdams (Former Community Manager)TammyTilzey
  • @AlbaAustin Regarding your question about how to make the case for funding if you did or didn't apply for PPP funding: This is where the transparent and honest relationship with your funders comes into play.

    If your organization didn't apply for a PPP loan, there is a reason. Was it because you didn't have enough staff to meet the capacity for the loan? Did you miss the deadline? Did you not have capacity to write the loan application or a strong enough relationship with a lender? Articulate that reason to the funder and explain why.

    If you did receive PPP funding, articulate to funders how you spent the funding and what outstanding needs remain after the loan funds are gone. The PPP funding is very restrictive as to what it can be used towards, so it's another chance to tell the funder about the other things that still need support - programs, technology, etc.

    I hope this helps!

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