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How to Complete Grant Application Cover Forms

Many groups of grantmakers, from foundations to corporations, have created their own customized common grant application forms and formats. Look for these types of common forms and formats on the Foundation Center’s Web site.

No one group of funders uses the exact same formatting or forms. But here are the most commonly requested information fields that you can expect to see with any of the state-level applications and the Regional Association of Grantmakers common grant applications:

  • Organization name, tax-exempt status, year organization was founded, date of application, address, telephone number, fax number, director, and contact person and title: These items give the funding source straight information about your eligibility to apply for funds.

  • Grant request: The funding source wants to know how much money you’re asking for before anyone even reads the full proposal. The amount listed here is the first clue to the funder that you’re counting on it to provide 100 percent of your project support.

    You don't have to request the total amount needed from only one funder; you still send your customized common grant application proposal package to other funders that are willing to accept this format. Having more than one potential funder lined up increases your chances of receiving the full amount needed.

  • Period grant will cover: Most foundation and corporate funders award grant monies for only one year. Some will fund you for multiple years, but they don’t represent the norm among private sector funders.

  • Type of request: Typically, the funders want to know whether you’re requesting general support (money to pay the day-to-day bills), start-up funds (just beginning operations), technical assistance (training, accounting aid, or some other type of specialized consulting), and so on.

  • Total project budget: The amount you enter here is the total cost to implement your program. Include the value of your in-kind and cash contributions, in addition to the amount needed from the funder.

  • Total organizational budget: The amount of your organization’s total operating budget for the current fiscal year.

  • Start date of fiscal year: The fiscal year is the date that your organization’s financial year begins. For example, your fiscal year may begin on January 1, September 1, or July 1. Check with your financial staff to determine your start date.

  • Summarize the organization’s mission: If you have a long mission statement, give the abbreviated version. Remember that the entire cover form usually fits on one page.

  • Summary of project or grant request: Don’t fill out this field until you’ve written the grant application narrative. Then, cut and paste into this section the sentences that most effectively summarize your project.

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