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Tips for Writing a Successful Grant Application

  • Show detail, detail, detail, detail throughout the grant application.  Imagine that you are describing this project to someone that has no knowledge about your library and community.  You are the storyteller; tell your "story" to another person before putting it to paper.
  • Clearly explain the purpose for the grant project.  For example, who is it intended for?  Why are you proposing this project?  How did you come up with this need?  Do you have any statistics to help support your need?
  • Make sure the language describing the project consistently focuses on the benefit to the user rather than to the internal workings of the library.
  • Involve your board and staff in planning the project.  You may wish to include one or more representative patrons in the planning, depending on your project.
  • Describe the partners if any.  How are they connected with this grant application?  Why are they involved and/or why should they be involved? Will they be involved after the project?
  • Compose a readable document. Do the sentences flow well? Does one idea connect to another?
  • Include any additional documents required for the application (e.g. budget figures, indicating the cash match; support letters; etc.)
  • Be sure to include a detailed budget for all expenses involved for the project. If you are asking for $500.00 for computer hardware, what is it? How is it going to be used? Why? Etc.
  • Ask any questions about concerns with the grant application before the application is submitted.  Our voice mail and email are on duty all the time.  Don't assume we know about a particular situation.
  • If you prefer, submit a preliminary grant application to the Commission for advice on how to strengthen it before the final application is due and/or ask another person to take a look at it that has little knowledge about the project.  They might ask some good questions that need more detailed answers in the grant.
  • Contact as many individuals as possible that can assist you with details and costs of the services and/or consultants needed to implement the project.  The homework part of the process is very important.
  • Use the constant pricing for any services, materials etc. that are a part of your grant application.  Avoid submitting pricing related to recent sales; the sale price probably will not be available at the time of the grant awards.  If a company states that the sale price will be available for an extended period of time, ask for a written confirmation of that sale pricing.
  • Make a copy of your grant application for your records before mailing and/or submitting the final application to the Commission.
  • More grant information from NebraskAccess

Continuing Education Grants

Youth Grants for Excellence

Library Improvement Grants (formerly LSTA)

For more information, contact Holli Duggan.