Setting up a meeting or submitting a new proposal with a potential funder can be nerve-wracking, but it’s important to remember that they’re people too. In order to make the best impression, it’s helpful to have an idea of what the funder is interested in and what makes your nonprofit stand out from the rest. 

In this article, we’ll give you a few pointers on how to appeal to potential funders and make sure your grant proposal stands out. Remember, every funder is different, so it’s important to tailor your proposal to fit their specific interests. 

Crafting an Effective Grant Proposal 

When you’re crafting a grant proposal, it’s important to tailor your narrative to the specific and broad interests of the funders. That might mean focusing on hot-button topics or highlighting your organization’s measurable data. 

Whatever you do, make sure your proposal is well-written and error-free. A sloppy proposal will only reflect poorly on your organization and decrease your chances of securing funding. 

Funders are looking for organizations that are professional, organized, and committed to their cause. Make sure your proposal reflects that commitment and shows why your nonprofit is the best choice for funding. 

Understanding Potential Funders and Their Specific Focus 

When you sit down to write your grant proposal, it’s important that you do your research first. That means understanding the potential funder and their specific focus. 

Many funders are very specific in the types of organizations and projects they fund. For example, a foundation might focus exclusively on funding nonprofit organizations that provide after-school programs for children. 

If you can show that you understand the funder’s focus and how your organization aligns with their priorities, you’ll be in a much better position to secure funding. Use specific words and phrases in your narrative that demonstrate your understanding. This will help convince the funder that you’re not just another organization applying for funds, but that you’re a good fit for their particular interests. 

Determine on-Trend Topics to Appeal to Funders

When it comes to appealing to potential funders, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends. You don’t want your proposal to seem outdated or irrelevant. 

One way to determine what’s currently popular is by looking at what’s being talked about in the news. Is there a particular issue or cause that’s gaining attention? If so, you could focus your proposal around that topic. 

Another way to stay current is by paying attention to what the major foundations are funding. If you can identify a trend among the organizations they’re supporting, you can be sure that your proposal will resonate with funders as well. 

Identifying Clear Metrics to Show Impact of Your Mission 

One way to make your grant application stand out is by having clear metrics to show the impact of your mission. Not only does this demonstrate to funders that you are effectively carrying out your work, but it also shows that you are constantly evaluating your programs and finding ways to improve. 

To develop metrics, start by thinking about what specific goals you want to achieve with your programs. Once you have these goals in mind, identify what indicators or data points can be used to measure progress towards these goals. 

For example, if your goal is to increase access to healthy food in low-income neighborhoods, you might track the number of people served by your program, the percentage of participants who report eating more fruits and vegetables, or the number of food pantries stocked with healthy options. 

By clearly articulating your goals and the methods you will use to measure progress, you will show funders that you are serious about creating positive change in your community. 

How to Make Your Proposal Stand Out 

When you’re competing for limited funding, it’s important to make your proposal stand out. Here are a few tips: 

  • Make sure your proposal is clear, concise, and easy to read. Funders are busy people, and they don’t have time to wade through a lengthy, complicated proposal. 
  • Tailor your proposal to the specific funder you’re applying to. funders are interested in seeing that you’ve taken the time to learn about their organization and what they’re looking for. 
  • Include data that supports your case. Funders want to see that you’re effective and efficient with their money, so be sure to include any relevant data (numbers, statistics, etc.) that supports your claims.
  • Use strong visuals. A well-designed proposal with compelling visuals is more likely to catch a funder’s attention than a dull, text-heavy one. 
  • Proofread! This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many proposals are full of typos and grammatical errors. Be sure to proofread your proposal before you hit “send.” 


When putting together a funding proposal, it’s important to remember that each funder is looking for something different. However, they all want to see that you have a specific focus and that you’re working on projects that are on trend. In addition, make sure that you can demonstrate the impact of your work with measurable data.