Focusing on the organizational information of a narrative

Published 10:05 am Wednesday, January 18, 2012

In the last article we shared the steps for developing the sixth step of the proposal process – the sustainability section of the narrative.  In this article we will continue to talk about the steps for writing a successful grant, but focusing on the organizational information that needs to be included in the narrative.
For those of you, like me, that have been writing grants for a while you are probably thinking wait this used to be at the front of the grant application or narrative. And you would be correct.
Now, many foundations have gone to this new format where, what I call, “the meat” of the narrative is first and foremost then they ask for the organizational information to round out the narrative.
In the organization information section you first want to explain what your organization does and why the foundation or funder can trust your organization.  While I know many of you could spend hours and pages on this, you want to limit it to only two paragraphs.  The next step is to give a brief history of the organization.
Here is where you need to spend a little more time in describing the programs and services your organization provides. Remember even if your organization has received funding from this foundation or funder in the past, you want to make sure you write this section as if they do not know your organization at all.
The most important information to include in this section is listed below as a guide or checklist for you as you write your organization information narrative.
• First, make the funder or foundation aware of your organization’s position and role in the community, while mentioning any collaborating partners in your community.
• Second, explain how your organization is irreplaceable. Explain why your services do not overlap with other similar services and if they do, explain why and make sure you have some collaboration with the other organization who services you are overlapping.
• Third, identify and list, possibly using an abbreviated bullet format, the organization’s most important achievements that relate to this proposal, including any awards or special recognition your organization has received, in the recent past.
• Fourth, again very briefly summarize the need statement.
• Fifth, include financial information such as overall budget amount and annual donations. Also in step five provide information on past and current funding from other sources, especially foundations if they are reoccurring or multi-year grants.
• Sixth, provide a brief statement about your board, staff and volunteers. This should include how your board is elected, nominated, appointed and rotated in accordance with your bylaws. The same for staff and volunteers let the funder know if your organization practices a yearly orientation and evaluation of the volunteers and staff.
The next article will continue the steps for writing the grant, focusing on the eight step of the proposal – the budget.