What Makes a Strong Grant Application?
1. Youth led and driven. The grant applicant is in charge of or plays a very active role in designing, leading and implementing the proposed project.
2. Measurable change. The grant applicant’s project strives toward tangible results and measurable impact. The applicant has clear goals and a focused plan of action for reaching them.
3. Community focus. The grant applicant’s project focuses on improving community problems and engaging and involving the community in their project . How an applicant defines his or her “community” is up to him or her.
4. Long-term problem-solving action. The grant applicant’s project can be a one-time event or an ongoing program; either way, it should strive to make lasting change in his or her community.
5. Creativity. The grant applicant’s project is creative, and demonstrates an original idea for solving problems and creating change in their local communities.
6. Diversity. The grant applicant’s project promotes diversity and brings different kinds of people together.
Further Tips & Helpful Hints
For each topic consider these questions in how your write about your role within your project, as well as the project itself. A strong application should cover all of these topics as relevant.
1. Is the project youth-led and driven?
- What do you do that makes you a leader? What specific actions have you taken to propel your project? Would those have been possible without your leadership role? Tell us how your role as leader has put the organization in the direction it is now. Tell us why this project is specifically possible from youth?
- How do you demonstrate a thorough and articulate understanding of the problem you are combating and/or cause you are promoting? Why is your problem important? What is the source of your motivation? We want to know why this is important to you, and why you’ve chosen to take action on THIS problem.
2. How will the project measure its change and impact?
- While we want you to set your goals high and reach as far as possible, it’s more important to know what specifically you are doing to make change. How did you determine your goals? How did you choose which people you wanted to affect and how you would do this.
- If your project is on-going, how have you achieved these goals, and how effective were they? If you have a one-time event, how many people will become aware of your cause directly from your project? It’s more important for us to know who has been affected and how you have accomplished this, than it is to know how this will change their lives forever.
3. How is this project affecting the community? How is it focused around a specific community?
- You can define “community” however you see fit, whether it is local or global; however you must be able to discuss the change within this community as well as your role within this community.
- It’s important to understand the community, and be an active part of the community you are working in, make sure to discuss this. Are you empowering others within your community to take action? If so, this is one way you can show how you’re making a difference, and a way to numerically measure your project’s impact.
4. How is the project promoting long-term problem-solving action?
- Is your project one-time? On–going? Either way you should be able to demonstrate how your actions will have a lasting impact on your community.
- If it’s a one time event: will your participants gain knowledge and awareness they will keep? Give us examples, such as participants signing a pledge to continue the eco-friendly programs they learned at your event.
- If it’s an on-going project: How are your community members aware of your project? Give us examples, does your organization have an annual day of service to involve the community, or rebuild your community?
5. How is the project unique and creative?
- What makes your project different? What can we find in your project that no one else can offer?
- Tell us how you have created a new spin on an old idea. Does your project address an idea or cause no one else has before? Basically you should tell us why we should pick YOU.
6. How does your project promote diversity?
- We want to know how your project brings different groups of people together. Remember that diversity can mean lots of different things: not just people of different backgrounds or ethnicities.
- Diversity also includes things like how your project brings young and old people together, how it unites privileged students with under privileged schools, or groups. Or even within your school, are working with kids you didn’t know before? Are the people in your group learning about different cultures and different kinds of people?