What Makes a Grant Request Successful?


When applying for a grant through the Community Foundation, a grantee should address four core criteria in their request:

  • Accountability
  • Stakeholder Support
  • Sustainability
  • Transformative

The Wabash Valley Community Foundation has a comprehensive set of criteria which members of each grant committee and members of the staff use to make decisions on funding requests from grant seeking nonprofit organizations. While the Community Foundation does not expect all project or program requests to address the full list of supplemental criteria, nonprofit organizations are encouraged to address all those relative to their requests.


Does the NPO have the ability and willingness to measure and report outcomes of this investment to WVCF and to the community at large? Has the organization included their goals? Have they included information on how they will evaluate their project or program? Does this project or program have prior evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of the program? What is the number of persons and who are the persons positively impacted by this grant opportunity? Does the organization provide you with a clear understanding of what communities (towns/cities) within the Wabash Valley will be impacted?


Do the NPO’s donors support his project/program through their own giving and/or volunteerism? Does the organization provide amounts raised or anticipated to be raised? Do they include information on fundraisers planned, number of volunteers and hours served, in-kind contributions? Will the grant secure other sources of funding? Does this grant involve multiple NPO’s working together to solve a particular issue? Is it clear, this organization is familiar with other organizations in the community providing similar work?


Is there a sustainability plan for this project or program once the grant has been exhausted? Is this organization financially stable and able to support this project or program long-term? Is there a plan in place to support this project or program long-term? Does the grant indicate it will reduce costs or bring about financial efficiency’s or other sustainable improvements within the organization?


Does this request for funding a “hand-up” or simply a “hand-out”?  Does this project/program provide an opportunity to be a catalyst for transformative change? Does the organization provide a clear understanding of how this project or program would positively change the community? Will this grant make a long-term impact on the Wabash Valley? Does this project/program seek a new way to address an “age-old” problem or entrepreneurially improve the quality of life in the Wabash Valley? Will this grant cause Wabash Valley residents to take pride in their community and/or create a positive impression of Wabash Valley for visitors?

After reading through our Helpful Tips, be sure to:

  1. Carefully read through the Community Foundation’s priorities and respective grant guidelines.
  2. Be clear about the population you serve.
  3. Be clear about why this project/program is important.
  4. Know what your “like” organizations are in the community and familiarize yourself with the work we do.
  5. When appropriate, collaborate with other nonprofits that serve the population you serve.
  6. Make sure your organization’s budget is up-to-date.
  7. Be specific on how grant monies will be spent.
  8. Be clear about your expected outcomes.
  9. Have a plan that specifies how you will find this project/program in the future.
  10. Be concise (we encourage brevity); check your spelling and punctuation (twice!).

If you have any questions regarding the grant application process, please give our staff a call at 812-232-2234.