The Future is More Important than the Past

Foundations invest in nonprofits wanting their future investments to be as sure as possible. Therefore, a grant writer should limit their discussion about past successes in an application. It is more important to focus on future progress.

Progress can start in the past by explaining recent accomplishments, keeping the explanation brief enough to draw a smile of assurance. Then, forecast these past accomplishments into the next one to two years.

A grant writer can do this by describing two or three small improvements that have recently been done successfully. Do not rely on sudden, colossal, and successful past events as a bridge into the future. These big events do not come often and abrupt changes are not necessarily good for organizations. Instead, a good success is earned slowly over several years.

Highlight the expansion of benefits, the improvement of resources to help people, and the nonprofit’s growth toward better things. Use existing data and increase the numbers gradually with explanations of how the increases will be achieved. Finally, briefly explain how the project will continue into the far future being just as successful.

The past should show that the nonprofit has experience and expertise to achieve future success, which is important.* The grant writer should explain what has been done as a lead-in to what will be done.

Space is limited on applications and each word must count. At least two-thirds of the descriptions should be about what will come in the next few years. Make the words count not on the great past, but in the even greater future.

* New programs could show a reason for the project backed by past data and information.

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