Here’s how to write a compelling grant application

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Every year we review letters of intent and proposals for breakthrough health and wellness initiatives, and a meaningful application is key to securing funding.

At Health First Foundation – Northern Arizona, our mission is to improve the health and well-being of individuals and communities through leadership, innovation, and partnership. We achieve this through our Northern Arizona Community Health Grant, which is awarded annually to exceptional organizations that support our mission with effective projects and programs.

Every year we review letters of intent and proposals for breakthrough health and wellness initiatives, and a meaningful application is key to securing funding. To that end, our Health First Foundation scholarship team has compiled the following tips to ensure your application is best positioned for success.

  1. Share how your project supports our mission. Understanding where our goals are and how your project or program can raise the bar for community health is of the utmost importance. The combination of these points helps us to better evaluate your application and offers you a focused lens through which you can communicate your initiative.
  2. Let your passion guide you. As the saying goes: “Enthusiasm moves the world”. It can also induce our grant reviewers to fund your organization. Add convincing facts that reflect your passion – examples give us a picture of your impact and give us a reason to be committed to your cause.
  3. Don’t apply until you’re ready. As mentioned earlier, passion is welcome and nurtured, but it is important that you make sure the time is right for your company to lead and execute your project. Doing an honest assessment with your company early on to make sure all the components are in place can save you headaches later because you weren’t properly prepared.
  4. Create a core application team. Work with the program staff to confirm that you represent the expertise and perspectives of the team that will carry out the work. Working together is a great asset to this process; However, it is also important to have a key decision maker to drive the application progress.
  5. Include meaningful employees. Working together is critical to our ability to improve health and change lives. We want to learn more about your partners and employees, including their contribution to your process and the success of your project.
  6. Manage time wisely. Starting the process as early as possible is the best way to position your application successfully. Set a schedule, delegate action points, and assign deadlines.

You will also need time to make sure your attachments and documents are up to date. our scholarship application asks for organizational papers and résumés, and the last thing you want is an 11-hour scramble where you collect everything you need.

  1. Keep your answers focused. The best way to ensure our team can review your application efficiently is to be specific and intentional in your responses. Brevity is key, and a good rule of thumb is to write for general understanding. Get straight to the point, use common sense and make sure that every word you use helps answer our questions directly.

Please also eliminate acronyms, jargon and industry language – this can hinder understanding, create confusion and ultimately complicate the process for our grant reviewers.

  1. Allow fresh eyes time to review. Another reason to allow time early is to give you a window to proofread and polish. If possible, ask someone unrelated to the project to review and provide feedback. This reduces the chance of typing errors and allows an outside perspective.

Thank you for your interest in partnering with us on our mission. Finally, we would like to acknowledge the excellent organizations recently funded by our Northern Arizona Community Health Grant:

  • Manzanita insert
  • Flagstaff Shelter Services
  • Arizona’s Children’s Association
  • Steps to convalescent homes
  • Creek Valley Health Clinic
  • University of Northern Arizona
  • Jerry Ambrose Veterans Council
  • Polara health

The Northern Arizona Community Health Grants cycle, which begins December 2021 for June 2022 Awards, will focus on the relief of chronic health conditions in Northern Arizona. Such diseases, particularly diabetes, heart disease, obesity, respiratory diseases, cancer, and dental diseases, are important health priorities in our region. For more information, visit healthfirstforall.org/grant-funding. FBN

From Ana Fan

Ana Fano is the Operations Manager for the Health First Foundation. The Health First Community Fund is a comprehensive campaign to improve health in our region. To learn more about the fund or to donate, visit the Health First Foundation website, healthfirstforall.org.


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