Capacity Building Grants 101

How to Write Capacity Building Grants

A capacity-building grant is a sum of money awarded to an organization to develop and refine skills, systems, structures and strategies. The goal of a capacity-building grant is to strengthen and grow an organization that is established and has a strong mission and goals.

  • Step 1
    Understand capacity-building grants. A common mistake among grant writers is entering into the process without a full understanding of what they are. A capacity-building grant is not intended for program development or expansion, and does not cover capital projects like new buildings. Rather, such grants are intended to help with strategic planning, resource development, membership development and staff development. Failure to understand the specifics of a capacity-building grant will undermine the grant writing process.
  • Step 2
    Follow directions. Before you apply for a grant, read through the listing provided by the granting institution. If you do nothing else, follow the directions to the letter; they were created for a reason. If there are forms involved, fill them out carefully and completely.
  • Step 3
    Use a standard grant proposal format. If the grant for which you are applying does not have specific format instructions, stay with a tried-and-true format. Start with an introduction to prove the credibility of your organization and state its mission and purposes. The introduction should establish your organization’s track record.
  • Step 4
    Write a needs statement. The needs statement for a capacity-building grant should present a specific plan that covers the needs of your organization. Be careful not to present your needs in a manner that conveys organizational weakness. Instead, emphasize positive aspects and explain why your organization requires a capacity-building grant in order to grow.
  • Step 5
    Include Objectives and Methods sections. In the Objectives section of a capacity-building grant, you will state the internal outcomes that will result from the grant money; new marketing plan, accounting systems, or a detailed internship program, for example. The Methods section will tell the granting institution how you plan to achieve the goals outlined in the Objectives section.
  • Step 6
    Finish with an Evaluation and Future funding section. The Evaluation section should cover the ways you will evaluate the improvements to your organization after the capacity-building grant is awarded. The Future funding section should cover plans for financial expenditures involved in hiring new staff, maintaining software systems and other expenses. These last two sections of a capacity-building grant proposal are critical to ensure the funding institution that you have considered the future of your organization and ways to ensure longevity.

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