Feedback on 2018 Grants Proposals

It is our hope that by providing you with these observations, you will be able to use them to assist in any future proposal writing undertaken by your organization. As in previous years, the overall request for funding far exceeded the amount of resources that was available for grants, so many worthy proposals were not able to be funded. The following points were noted among this year’s unfunded proposals:


  • No clear strategy was articulated to explain how the program will be sustained. Organizations provided very general comments about how they plan to seek funding versus providing examples of innovative ideas for sustainability or furnishing details on their development plans.
  • Program goals were not consistent with the United Way NCA 2018-19 strategic funding priorities.
  • Some program descriptions were not clear and difficult to evaluate. Descriptions lacked the detail needed to fully understand what the program does and how the program goals will create change in the community.


  • Budget narrative comments are important to clarify expenses and better explain program budget details.
  • Proposals that included the entire organization budget and not the program’s budget made it difficult to analyze the program’s revenue and expenditures, separately from the organizational funding.
  • Proposals were not clear on how the funding would be spent. Items listed were vague such as personnel, materials, etc., and often the optional space provided for additional budget comments and narrative was not utilized effectively, thus omitting valuable opportunities for details.
  • In instances where personnel costs may outweigh other program expenses, proposals lacked adequate comments to explain why this may be necessary for the program.
  • Proposal narratives discuss in-kind support and other sources of funding, but are not mentioned or not easily identifiable in the program budget.


  • Limited detail regarding the overall region’s need and the role that the nonprofit organization in question plays in it.
  • Proposals do not clear discuss the need in the community where the funding is requested.
  • Relatively general statement of need does not adequately show how United Way NCA funding will help to increase the program’s capacity. If the purpose to sustain the service delivery levels at current levels, it is not clearly stated.
  • In describing regional collaboration, share details regarding partners and the contributions made by respective partners.


  • Short and long term goals should be clearly identified and included in the proposal.
  • No metrics to show whether the program is having the desired long term impact or metrics not tied to the programmatic goals.
  • Proposals lack clear objectives and information regarding how the outcomes would be measured and tracked.
  • Output measures did not match the numbers given in the targeted population section.
  • Proposals contained goals that were not easily measured and did not appear obtainable. Goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound.

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