How to Write about Your Programs and Activities on a Grant Application

By Beverly A. Browning

Use the program section of your opening narrative on the grant application to write about the day-to-day happenings at your organization. Describe the programs that you currently provide to your constituency (also called the target population), not what you plan to provide when your grant request is funded.

If you work for a smaller organization, you probably have only one or two programs. However, keep in mind that having fewer programs doesn’t decrease your chances of winning a grant award. Grants are available for organizations of all sizes and shapes. Remember, it’s all in the writing.

In the program section, the grant reader is looking for you to briefly

  • Give the name of the program and state how long it has existed (focus on long-lasting and successful programs).

  • Tell who the program serves (youth, adults, women, seniors, people with physical or cognitive disabilities, or whomever).

  • Describe how the target population benefits from the program.

Following is an abbreviated version of a current programs section:

TribalNet is an industry resource for technology professionals in the Native American industry (members are tribal agencies and other Native American–serving entities) and is the connection between tribal IT leaders.

Our programs and activities include:

  • Annual membership plans designed to bring technologies and Tribes together.

  • Annual technology conferences for the Native American industry (members are tribal agencies and other Native American–serving entities). To date, 14 conferences have been held with thousands of attendees and over 100 exhibitors.

  • Industry resources including case studies and peer-to-peer surveys.

Don’t make the mistake of pulling the language for this section from a previously written grant (such as last year’s failed attempt). Always use fresh, up-to-date programs and activities information. Grant readers are very intuitive and can pick up on outdated, out-of-place information.