Do Your Research First

  • Establish the need for your idea.
  • Who, What, When, Where and How?
  • Do the statistics and other information in the field bear you out?
  • Is the implementation of this idea consistent with your organization's mission?
  • Will it advance your organization’s core goals and objectives?
  • Does your proposal duplicate other efforts in the community?

Talk to Other People

  • Are they successful? How could their outcomes be improved?
  • Has it been tried in this area, in other states, in other countries?
  • Is there literature on the subject?
  • Are there other programs that have implemented your idea in some fashion?
  • Are there viable models that can be built on?

Identify Possible Collaborators and Partners

  • Are there other agencies that could make your idea stronger or make it reach father?
  • Who are the “big” providers in the field?

Carefully Read and Analyze Potential Funding Sources

  • Principles
  • Policies
  • Guidelines
  • Timeline

Understand the Funder’s Internal Process

  • The role of the Board of Directors
  • The role of staff
  • Internal merit process
  • Functional time line

Define Outcomes, Measures and Benchmarks

  • State the outcomes you want to accomplish with your idea.
  • State the measures that your idea can achieve.
  • State specific benchmarks that will occur if your idea works.
  • State several milestones in implementing your idea.
  • Evaluate your idea in the context of your stated outcomes, measures and benchmarks.
  • Is your idea still viable?

Structure a Program

  • Staffing needs.
  • Components: Location? What services will be provided? How will clients be identified?
  • Workplan based on Outcomes, Measures, and Benchmarks.
  • Timetable for operation or implementation.
  • Articulate a monitoring, evaluation and sustainability strategy.

Work-out a Preliminary Budget for the First Year

  • What are the sources of income?
  • What are the likely expenses?
  • Are in-kind resources applied?

Write an Implementation Plan

  • What will you do first to put the idea into action?
  • What are the next steps?
  • Who is responsible for them?
  • Are the operations or services going to be phased in?
  • When do you expect full implementation?

Develop a Fund Raising Strategy that Includes Private and Public Funders

  • Leveraging resources are important. It is rare that a Foundation would be sole source of funding a project.
  • Decide which funding source will you approach to support specific parts of your budget.
  • Make sure you understand which funders will support which components:
    • capital expenses
    • core operating expenses
    • program cost
    • staff development

Select Potential Funders and Write your Proposals

  • Use the Philanthropic Center at the Main Library at the New Haven Free Public Library.

Some Potential Pitfalls

  • Do not write all your funding requests to cover the same expenses.
  • Be realistic in developing your budget; do not under-budget the project.
  • Be candid and straightforward about your potential challenges and weaknesses.
  • Follow instructions to the letter on number of copies, format of proposal, etc.

Some Good Things to Remember

  • A Foundation staff person is your best resource; answer questions honestly.
  • Keep your board members informed about your proposal.
  • Allow for things to take longer that you expected.

How Can We Help?

Christina M. Ciociola

Senior Vice President for Planning and Community Strategies


Send Email

How can we help?

Denise Canning

Director of Grant Operations


Send Email