27 Proven Grant Writing Examples for Every Nonprofit +Tips

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Published:

May 6, 2022

Last Updated:

January 24, 2024

Whether you are just starting out in grant writing or you are a seasoned pro, you may be asking yourself—”How can I write a winning proposal?” 

Sitting down and writing a new grant proposal can be daunting, which is why learning from pros who have written successful grant writing samples is a great place to start.

In this article, we are going to share 27 grant writing examples and explain how to review them effectively. Learning from a diverse set of grant examples from various sectors will help you develop your own successful proposals. 

Let’s get started!

10 best lessons from 10 grant writing experts

What to Learn from Grant Writing Examples for Nonprofits

When it comes to the grant proposal process, everyone is excellent at something, but not everyone is excellent at everything. For instance, you may be a terrific writer but grind your teeth when having to develop strategic outcomes

Looking at grant writing examples for nonprofits can help you hone your craft and strengthen your areas of weakness

Taking the time to look over winning grant writing examples can help you learn:

  • How to compose an impactful cover letter or letter of inquiry
  • How to make your case for support more compelling
  • How to develop meaningful outputs and outcomes
  • Ways to weave data into the proposal narrative effectively and naturally
  • How to tell success stories in an effective, emotional way
  • How to make the ask succinctly and compellingly
  • How to create a transparent budget—both for a program and for an organization
  • Ideas for effective words to include in a call to action
  • When or if to use charts or graphs
  • How to make your case when constrained by a word or character count  

By reviewing successful grant writing samples, you’ll draw from the best of the best and get the tips and techniques you need to raise your own grant success rate. Read on to learn more.

How to Best Use Grant Writing Examples for Nonprofits

Reviewing successful grant writing examples can give you the fundamentals needed to ensure your own grant proposal is a success. However, you shouldn’t just read the grant writing example; we have some additional tips below to help you get the most out of reviewing grant writing examples. 

Review Their RFP

If possible, download the RFP or the guidelines for each grant writing example you review. That way, you can see how the grant writer followed the guidelines and accompanying instructions. 

Successful grant proposals follow the funder’s instructions to the “t”. In fact, not following instructions is a common reason for a grant request to fail. 

Check the Numbers

You will also want to see how well the budget in the grant met the needs of the RFP. 

How on target was the budget and, if included, the budget narrative presented in the grant proposal? It would be embarrassing to have your grant proposal rejected due to an error in its budget! 

Because your budget is essentially a snapshot of the revenue and projected expenditures for the proposed project, it must provide a clear view to the grantor of how you will use the funds. 

This means detailing a comprehensive budget report that covers every aspect of the proposed spending. Ensuring this financial transparency will guarantee two important things:

  • You will build trust between you and the grantor, and
  • It will help you track all of your expenses against your planned budget, saving you time and headaches in the long run.

This is why a well-prepared grant budget is critical to securing the award and funding. If you're looking to start building your own nonprofit budget, get started quickly by using our Nonprofit Budget Template

Review the Writing Style

When reviewing successful grant proposals, you’ll see that the writing flows, is clear, and above all—is error free. Take note of how well they proof their work for spelling and grammar. 

Here are some tools that can help:

  • We like Grammarly’s free version to check for spelling and grammatical errors, as well as plagiarism. 
  • Hemingway is a similar tool that utilizes a colorful interface which makes it easy to spot any “oopsies”. 
  • And if you’re on the latest version of Microsoft Word, their built-in editor tool offers some of the same features of the previously mentioned apps. ‍

Also take note of how the best grant writing samples handle jargon. What may be an everyday acronym at your organization may be as clear as mud to a foundation’s proposal review team. So, you’ll need to know how to explain terms simply and succinctly. 

Review Measurement Methods

A main component of grant writing is addressing how to measure success

In business, these are sometimes referred to as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). The best nonprofit grant proposals include detailed plans for how the proposed program or project will be evaluated.  

When reviewing grant writing examples, take note of their different evaluation plans and their methods for measuring success. 

Many successful nonprofits will use a detailed model that focuses on outputs and outcomes to properly measure the impact of the grant funding.

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How Do You Stand Out in Grant Writing?

Many grant writers may know how to write grant proposals, but making them stand out is a different challenge. The list of tips below will help you develop a compelling and engaging proposal that stands out to the funders: 

  •  Understand the Funder's Priorities: You should make sure your grant proposal aligns with the funder’s giving priorities from beginning to end. The funder’s priorities are usually laid out clearly in the RFP so that you can easily determine whether your organization is a good fit and make that connection clear in your proposal.
  • Craft a Clear and Compelling Story: Funders want to know how their grant funding will make a difference within the community. So, a successful grant proposal should tell a clear and compelling story that explains who you are helping, how you will help them, and how these actions align with your mission and the mission of the funder.
  • Utilize Data Effectively: Grant proposals usually require a needs statement, and this is where research comes into play. The most successful proposals will include data that underscores the urgency and severity of that need in your community. 
  • Keep Your Proposal Jargon-Free: Keep the jargon out of the proposal, as the last thing you want is to confuse the funder. Also be sure you follow the funder’s writing guidelines precisely; that way, you’ll have a well-organized, clear, and concise proposal.
  • Emphasize Collaboration and Partnerships: Emphasize any meaningful partnerships or collaborations your nonprofit is involved in currently. Funders like to award nonprofits who are partnering with other organizations. 
  • Be Transparent With Your Budget: When it comes to numbers, transparency is key. Your plan should include all of the costs you believe will be associated with the project. 
  • Incorporate Beneficiary Testimonials: Getting permission from beneficiaries to incorporate their positive testimonials will further prove to the funder that the project is necessary for the community.
  •  Address Sustainability and Long-term Impact: Funders want to support long-term projects that can make a lasting impact on the community being served. Make sure you detail a practical blueprint for sustainability to illustrate that you are capable of handling the project in the long-term and can sustain its impact.
  • Ensure Professional Presentation: Many grants have been rejected due to a sloppy presentation that doesn’t follow the formatting requirements. Luckily, this is an easy fix! As long as you follow the directions precisely, you will ensure that you submit a professional presentation.

Now that you have the insights on what makes a successful grant proposal, you can use our grant proposal template to get started. Our template includes the key components and tips to help sharpen your writing skills and make your grant proposal a success!

27 Grant Writing Examples for Nonprofits

One of the best ways to improve your grant writing skills is to learn from others. 

Below, you’ll find a list of 27 grant writing examples from a variety of sectors that you can review and gain insight from! 

Grant Writing Examples for Higher Education

1. William T Grant Foundation: The Foundation provides a compendium of recent successful proposals to its Scholars Program. All are excellent examples of well-written and well-presented funding proposals. 

2. Purdue University: Purdue shared a winning proposal with OpenGrants, a free GitHub-powered resource sponsored by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Moore Foundation. The detailed and scholarly proposal for a university-wide inclusivity project includes a budget that is very clear and easy to grasp. (You’ll also find other good proposals here, although many of them are extremely technical and complex.)

Grant Writing Examples for Technology and Innovation

3. Pepperdine University: This sample grant proposal for the information technology field gives a perfect outline for how to organize proposals and write a summary. It also illustrates how to accurately describe a research project and format the project idea, objectives, and schedule clearly for the funder.

Grant Writing Examples for Economic Development 

4. The State Science & Technology Institute (SSTI): The SSTI focuses on technology-based economic development, and the group shared a sample grant application for nonprofits in the category of “Improving Competitiveness of Existing Industries.” This grant illustrates how clear organization is key to winning a grant—it contains a well-written abstract, background on the program, and the overall impact.

Grant Writing Examples for K-12 Education

5. History Alive: Salem: This educational organization submitted an application for a small grant to the Salem Education Foundation and received their request. This proposal demonstrates an innovative approach to engaging kids in learning local history while engaging with their community.

6. Kurzweil Education: Kurzweil is a U.S. company that develops educational software for people who have learning differences, as well as those who are blind or partially sighted. They also offer grants that allow schools to access that software. This proposal includes a great example of a program abstract (also known as an executive summary), a succinct statement of need, and an excellent explanation of how Kurzweil software will have an impact. It’s got a compelling cover letter, too. 

Grant Writing Examples for Mental Health and Counseling

7. Mental Health First Aid USA: You don’t just get an example of a grant proposal in mental health in counseling here. The Mental Health First Aid USA offers a funding proposal development guide to help you write a grant proposal for this field from the executive summary, through the specific needs and methodology, to the final narrative and resources.

Grant Writing Examples for Human Services

8. Kennett Area Senior Center: This senior center in Pennsylvania submitted this successful proposal to the Chester County Community Foundation. Take special note of the section outlining key achievements during the prior year. They’ve set forth their successes in a simple, easy-to-understand format.

9. Family Service Association of Western Riverside County: The Association submitted a winning proposal for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for a resource center they operate in an underserved community in Southern California. Note the concise, well-written project descriptions and how the writer followed all the proposal’s requirements closely.

10. Neighborhood Impact: Here’s another successful sample grant application for nonprofits, specifically tailored to a CDBG to fund an affordable housing development in Bend, Oregon. This proposal is a great example of using data effectively to prove the need for services and offers very clear outputs and outcomes.

Grant Writing Examples for Veterans Support

11. The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Inc.: Although not a full proposal, this outline gives you an insight into each section of a grant proposal for veterans. If you are interested in this sector, you can use this document to gather all of the required materials so that you are ready to submit a veteran proposal in the near future. 

Grant Writing Examples for Health

12. Prevention Plus Wellness: Prevention Plus Wellness is a for-profit company selling youth fitness curricula to nonprofits. To help organizations raise money for the curriculum, Prevention Plus offers a well-written sample proposal for funding here. Note the project description as well as the statement of need, both of which are well-researched and cite respected sources of data.

13. Rainbow Teen Safe Space: This sample proposal is for a proposed LGBTQI+ youth center in Seoul, South Korea. It’s another great example of incorporating data into a compelling proposal. The statement of need pulls no punches and really makes the case for a safe place for gender-diverse youth. 

14. University of Arkansas for Medical Science: This funded proposal to the National Cancer Institute focuses on engaging community pharmacies to increase the number of vaccinations against Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), which can cause cervical cancer. The project abstract makes a strong case, states the compelling need, and explains why the proposed program will make a positive impact on community health outcomes. Other great proposal examples are also available on the same site. 

15. Lake Health District: This Oregon nonprofit received high marks for its winning proposal to fight against the growing opioid epidemic. Their introduction documents the need and the challenges of the older, rural area in a factual, yet very readable manner.

Grant Writing Examples for Disability Services

16. Texas Education Agency: This sample grant proposal rubric is a perfect “fill in the blank” document for anyone interested in writing proposals that focus on disability services. Take specific note of the program activities and what grant funders in this sector usually look for from grant writers.

Grant Writing Examples for the Environment

17. Green Climate Fund: This complete, very detailed funding proposal template can be used to guide any proposal for an environmental nonprofit. Check out the template’s protocols, especially their outcome format.

18. The Adaptation Fund: Here you’ll find an application sample from The Adaptation Fund, a climate and environmental funder that helps developing countries move away from producing CO and other harmful emissions. The sample draws from successful applications to provide examples of the sort of data and content the funder is looking for.

19. The Conservation Trust for North Carolina: This winning funding proposal to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is worth a look. This solidly constructed proposal includes excellent project, program, and stakeholder descriptions.

Grant Writing Examples for Agriculture and Food Security

20. Ministry of Agriculture and Sustainable Development: This 72-page project proposal is massive to say the least, and is a perfect example of how to format your longer proposals into easy-to-read and understandable sections. They even have a list of acronyms since they are so important in this sector.

Grant Writing Examples for Animal Welfare and Conservation

21. Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development: Here you not only get an example grant application for an animal welfare grant program, but also tips for actually writing the application. This specific example focuses on the welfare of companion animals and wildlife and illustrates how to provide a comprehensive overview in this nonprofit sector.

Grant Writing Examples for the Arts

22. Ballet Austin: Ballet Austin provides this sample template for smaller ballet companies wishing to gain funding for holiday performances of Tchaikovsky’s holiday classic, “The Nutcracker.” The program implementation and evaluation sections are worth a look.

23. Imagine Fund: The University of Minnesota’s Imagine Fund offers faculty and students the opportunity to apply for funding for arts-related projects. Their website offers up some of the winning creative proposals. Take note of the proposal for “Toward Culturally Sensitive Designs”. It focuses on the large immigrant populations of Hmong, Somalis, Mexicans, and native Ojibwe people in Minnesota and their unique contributions to the arts. 

Grant Writing Examples for Youth Organizations

24. Community Initiatives Fund: Although this example is from an organization in Saskatchewan, it is still an excellent template to follow. We really like the color callouts that highlight areas where folks might have questions. Pro tip: The Saskatchewan incorporation number correlates to the U.S.’s EIN (employer identification number).

25. Camp Twin Lakes: Here is a terrific (and award-winning) funded proposal for a network of camps for youth with a variety of special needs. Notice how clearly the writer sets forth the value proposition. She also provides a bibliography of statistical references in the proposal (something many people fail to do).

26. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida: This is another strong example of a youth-serving grant proposal. The funder required submission of both a letter of intent and a full proposal at one time. The community need statement is particularly impactful.

Bonus! Another Sample Letter of Intent (LOI) 

27. Nonprofit Guides: Wait—there’s more! In good conscience, we can’t let you go without including another example of a really strong letter of intent from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.   

Remember that an LOI should include the following:

  • A summary of the letter in the introduction
  • A description of your nonprofit organization
  • Why this project is important to your organization
  • A clear statement that details how you can meet the needs successfully
  • How you will meet those needs
  • Any additional funding that may be needed and how it will be attained
  • A conclusion summarizing the document and thanking them for their time

If you're looking to start building your own nonprofit financial statement, get started quickly by using our Nonprofit Financial Statement Template. The template is made in Canva, an easy-to-use creative design tool. You can jump right in, change colors, add your logo, and adjust the copy so it fits your brand. Why start from scratch when you can use one of our templates?

Wrapping Up: The Best List of Grant Writing Examples for Nonprofits

Have you not had your fill of grant proposal examples? Check out even more here

We hope this list of grant proposal examples will be helpful for both newbies to the grant writing field, as well as seasoned vets. No matter what your experience level, anyone can find writing a winning funding proposal a daunting task. With a little study, you’re sure to sharpen your skills.

Speaking of skill-sharpening, check out Instrumentl’s free resources, including our library of webinars.

If you like what you see (and hear!) you can also sign up with Instrumentl for a free two-week trial of our comprehensive grant research, grant management, and grant tracking solution. We are here to help you succeed!

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