I think I got this from a grant writing class I took. I can only claim summarizing the information to fit into this blog post.
A grant proposal starts with identifying and documenting the need for a project. This includes finding statistics to demonstrate a need is compelling. Data strengthens a grant request by explaining the need exactly.
State the project’s objectives (at least three), the expected outcome for each objective, and when these outcomes will be achieved. Also, what is the evaluation process to know the outcome was achieved?
Put this all together and build a description of the project by identifying who will be helped, what activities will improve the lives of these people, and who will do the work to include partnerships. Foundations want to know there are other organizations helping with the project. The more the merrier.
The other most important section is the budget.
Expenses are divided between programs (good to mention) and operating or overhead (bad to mention). Under program expense, list everything except things considered capital expense such as equipment or personnel benefits (considered overhead). Salaries are all right most of the time if they are for the program. Avoid operating expenses (private donations can fund these). More importantly, list exactly what the foundation money will buy.
List other funding sources (match the list of partners). Most important, state how the project will be sustained and funded in the future.
Overall, a grant writer should note the capacity and resources a nonprofit has to successfully do what they said they would do. A foundation wants to feel good about giving out their money. Build confidence, trust, and strength that what a nonprofit does with this money will help people.