Are you Grant Ready?

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” — Benjamin Franklin

When it comes time to prepare a grant application—whether you are an experienced grant seeker or a newbie—the one thing you will need is documentation.

No matter which funding opportunity you are applying for, there are two categories of documentation: documents that are always required, and documents and data that are most often requested. It is useful to know what these documents are and to have them at the ready.


Documents that are always required include the following:


A background of your organization, the year it was established, and the mission statement are required. Registration information with a full address, telephone, email addresses, and contact persons should be included, as well as the organization Employer Identification Number (EIN).


Financial documents include tax documents, tax identification number, IRS 501(c)(3) tax designation letter, 990 federal tax return forms, and W9 forms. This category also includes organizational budgets, financial statements, and audits.


Governance documents include information about the board of directors, school board members, superintendents, an organizational chart, and a strategic plan that captures short- and long-term goals.


Documents that are most likely requested include the following:

Demographics include not only the target population for the proposal, but also the entire population. This means that funders do not just want to know who will be immediately impacted by the proposed project, but they also want to know the community, school, or school district that will be indirectly impacted. Demographic data includes ethnicity and socioeconomic data. Be aware that it is not simply the raw data that is usually requested, but also an explanation of how the data is measured.

Previous Grants

Many funders want to know which grants you have received or won before. It might seem odd, but funders are interested in working with people and organizations that have already been successful in securing grants because it demonstrates that you are able to successfully implement a proposed project.


Government agencies often request the Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number. If your school or organization has one, it is helpful to have it handy.

Database Entries

Some funders request information about entries in databases such as Guidestar or other related databases (e.g., the Official Catholic Directory for Catholic schools or organizations).


Gathering all of these documents might appear like a lot of preparation work, but once you have accumulated the forms, numbers, data, and documents, you can use them for almost every grant application.


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