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These are the last six steps of a 12-step process for planning a proposal to win a grant from a private business or a corporation:


1. Structure. Prepare, edit, and proofread a one- or two-page project framework or proposal synopsis. Include more detail than in your earlier project outline, but still less than in a full proposal. Include estimates of the funds and other resources needed for the project. Identify all sources of funds, both those already in hand and those yet to be secured.


2. Contact. Make telephone contact with the corporate funder, if appropriate. Ask for an appointment to meet face-to-face, if feasible for both you and the contact person. Create a small team for each meeting. Whenever it seems advantageous, include on the team a well-connected and highly placed advocate or another effective spokesperson. Copy the one-page synopsis to be distributed at the start of each face-to-face meeting.


3. Rehearse. Review your proposed project once again, as necessary. Incorporate insights from all types of contacts with the corporate grant making or charitable giving program. Seek feedback on your revised proposal from disinterested third parties. Discuss the feedback and adjust plans based on it.


4. Present. Visit the corporate representatives and make a brief oral presentation. Use not more than a half hour for the entire visit. State the specific amount of your funding request and the kinds of corporate involvement or support you seek. Sell your core ideas. Listen to and record the representatives’ responses. After the meeting, immediately follow up with a personalized thank-you note. Be sure that one of your organization’s high-level executives signs it.


5. Develop. If invited to submit one, fully develop a proposal for your project. Include an executive summary, if possible. Adopt and use a professional business format and writing style. Reflect the requirements, expectations, and unique identity of each specific corporation in each proposal you submit.


6. Deliver. Present or deliver the full proposal. Use whatever mode of delivery that a specific funder prefers. Hand-deliver your proposal and make a brief oral presentation, if permitted and appropriate. Accept and acknowledge the corporation’s funding decisions with equanimity. Regardless of its decision on any given proposal, communicate a desire to maintain and build a relationship with the funder.


Later posts will provide extensive glossaries of terms used in writing winning grant proposals.


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