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When writing a grant application, you need to describe the organization’s qualifications.  The purpose of this is to illustrate that if funded, your organization can carry out the intended plan for the grant funds.  For example, if you are requesting funding for a nationwide initiative, how will the reader know that you have a qualified team in place unless you tell them about your prior related accomplishments?  You need to effectively communicate enough information about your organization’s experience and endeavors to convince the reader that your organization is up to the task.  Many applications tend to err on either side of the spectrum, by running on and on about the organization, or not communicating enough information.  

In the first paragraph, you should provide the full name of the organization, when the organization was established, who founded it, and why.  Remember, by definition, all nonprofits must have a charitable, scientific or educational purpose. This purpose should be related to the grant application.  Following paragraphs ought to communicate where the organization is located as well as any satellite locations, the mission statement (if the mission statement is lengthy, write a shorter, focused statement for the purpose of the application), and the organization’s most important relevant program successes.  Describing unrelated accomplishments may result in the grant reader becoming confused or frustrated.  Remember, this is not the only application they are reviewing, so make sure you stand out by providing information relevant to their funding goals. 

When writing the organizational capabilities section, use bullet points to break up long sections of text.  A clever way to use bullet points is to utilize a customized graphic that echoes the organization’s mission or attributes.  Using a whale shaped bullet point in a whale protection organization’s application, or a recycling bin for a recycling program application re-emphasizes the underlying mission without adding extra words.

Conclude this section of the application by describing three key milestones or goals reached in the organization’s history.  Again, you want to communicate the organization’s strengths and capacity for carrying out the intended use for grant funds.  Remember that a strong, emotional writing style works best with foundation and corporate grant applications because they want to feel connected to your cause, so set aside your application for a day or two and reread it with a detached viewpoint to assess if you have achieved a style that connects with the readers.

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