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How to Write a Grant Proposal that Impresses

Last December, my YVC affiliate (Charleston, SC) was one of the 3 recipients of the annual youth grant sponsored by YVCHQ. This year, the Green Globe Grant was awarded to applicants who presented an original and thorough idea for an environmentally-focused service project. This grant opportunity is completely administered, reviewed, and decided upon by YVC’s International Youth Advisory Board (IYAB). I learned a lot about the grant writing process in the context of a volunteering project, so here are some tips on how to write an effective grant proposal!

Make sure to research your community needs thoroughly.

When you present your proposal, it should be made clear to the reviewers that you know what you’re talking about. Research can be done by citing local newspapers, scientific journal publications, and local experts. It’s a good strategy to start by explaining the significance of the issue in a wider scope, then how it specifically affects the different aspects of your community (like the people living in the area, the environment, the economy, etc.).


Provide a detailed outline of your budget and materials.

As a grant applicant, you need to show that the money you receive will be utilized effectively. A detailed budget can be easily made with a spreadsheet and should include things like project materials needed, transportation, and project advertisement.


Describe the logistics of the project in detail.

It’s important to go into detail about the “who, what, where, when, and how” of the project. Specificity is key: Describe the exact location, timing, and different activities involved in the service project. Also, talk about any local organizations you may be partnering with and how they will help you. The more organized your project plans look, the more open reviewers will be to investing in your idea.


Create an effective solution.

Whether your project centers around educating a group of people or is a more traditional physical project, a good impact solution can be quantitatively measured. For example: How many volunteers were you able to engage? How many pieces of trash did you pick up at a beach sweep? How many cans of food did you collect at a food drive? Make a goal for your volunteer project to measure your success. By doing this, you’re ensuring that your solution has meaningful short-term and long-term effects.


Make it memorable!

Add a fun icebreaker like “where the wind blows,” “ninja,” or “never have I ever” for a fun start to your project. Include a little healthy competition as an incentive for your volunteers or plan to play some music while volunteering. Small details and activities like these can make a project stand out to reviewers and be more enjoyable for volunteers.


Hi! My name is Masi Sundara, and I have been proudly serving the YVC of Charleston since its foundation in 2015. As a senior at Academic Magnet High School, I am part of the science Olympiad team and the wrestling team. In the rare instances that I have free time, I enjoy being outdoors, discovering new music, and reading. Between service-learning projects, the annual summits, partaking in IYAB, and more, serving with YVC has helped me develop my leadership skills and taught me how to contribute what I can to the needs of my community.