1. Look at what was funded in the past – Look at past recipients of Community Grants and other DCCF-managed grants to learn what types of projects rise to the top in the selection processes. Recent grant recipients are posted on our website.
2. Log in early – Confirm you can access DCCF’s online grant management system and avoid a self-created, panic attack!
3. Have a compelling need and clearly communicate it – Our grant committees compare each application’s community need and end benefit to determine funding priorities.
- Discuss the grant application internally for any additional information that may improve the quality of the application.
4. Answer all required questions succinctly – Grant committee members have limited time. Get their attention and keep it!
- Just because 2,000 characters are available, does not mean 2,000 characters are necessary. Less can be more!
5. In the “Project Summary,” describe:
- The problem or situation
- What you are going to do about it
- Who will benefit
- Results/end benefit
- Importance to the community
6. Build grant selection committee confidence – Demonstrate a clear understanding of the need and response.
- Present a solid plan start to finish.
- Each question response should align with the “Project Summary.”
7. Answer the questions based on the specific grant request – Unless truly relevant to the project request, stay focused on the project itself without filling up space about your organization’s previous or existing programs. (See #4!)
8. Grant Budget Form – This form is important and not a last-minute detail.
- The Grant Budget Form is essentially the grant application in numerical form.
- Vague line items, such as “Labor is paid for,” result in questions. Be specific and list how much, by whom, etc.
- Revenue and expense totals should be equal.
- If other funding sources are participating, the total project budget should be included, not solely the project budget amount requested from DCCF.
9. Measuring results – Describe the difference your project will make in the lives of Douglas County residents.
- Measurement does not need to be complicated. Goals and measurements in bullet form are fine!
- For hardware, software, furniture, supplies, and other types of one-time installations, don’t overthink your measurements. For example, if you are requesting new chairs, your measurement could be that chairs were purchased, installed, and used. That’s it!
- Activities are not the same as results. Describe the end benefit or results that the project activities will create in the community.
10. Show that your board is behind the request – For example, list any of your organization’s or other funding sources requested, projected, or committed on the 1) Project Budget Form and 2) “Other Funders” types of questions.
11. Upload PDF attachments well ahead of the deadline – Don’t wait until the last minute!
- Open all attachments after uploading them to make sure they are displaying correctly.
- If you have trouble, email the attachments (in advance of the deadline) to Lori Trenholm at email@example.com.
12. Additional supporting information (optional) – When relevant, before and after pictures or quotes for equipment or repair requests or research-related articles can be helpful.
13. Don’t procrastinate – Applications submitted last-minute usually read like last-minute submissions.
14. Plan time for someone to proofread your application – Spelling and grammatical errors can undermine the quality of your application. External reviewers are great for getting feedback about the readability and understanding of your grant application.
15. Review the application One.More.Time before submitting.
16. Last but not least, call or email! – We love hearing from you! Don’t hesitate to call or email Lori Trenholm, Director Community Investment, at 785-843-8727 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss ideas, ask questions, or request Lori to review your application or section(s) of your application before it is submitted.
Thank you for applying for a DCCF Grant!