How to Write an Executive Summary for a Grant
Writing an executive summary is a critical component of the grant application process. Yet, its' importance is sometimes underestimated. Key goals to bear in mind when writing an executive summary includes being cogent, engaging and credible. A well-written executive summary is enough to get you closer to your goal of receiving funding for the execution of projects. It achieves this goal by garnering enough interest in your grant application by the decision maker. Inadvertently, by kindling the interest of the decision maker, your grant application will be read in its' entirety.
As tempting as it might be to start off the proposal writing process with the executive summary, refrain from giving into this temptation. Tackle this(executive summary) phase of the grant writing process after completion of the entire proposal. By doing this, salient points in the grant that might have ended up escaping your notice will be captured in the executive summary.
The executive summary should mirror the structure of the main document. Whereas some individuals prefer to begin with the goal of the project/program through to the identity of the applicant(organization/individual), others prefer to begin with the identity of the organization while working their way down to the program budget. Regardless of the format opted for, being logical and cogent is essential to success. The steps indicated below may serve as a guide in the writing process:
1. Indicate the identity of the organization and its' goals.
2.Include reason(s) for requesting the grant.
3. Establish credibility and authority by including the qualification(s) of individual(s) tasked with carrying out the project.
4. Highlight the expected outcome of the project.
5. State the amount of funding your organization is requesting for the project/program.
Each section should flow effortlessly into the next. Also, it is important to avoid the use of trite phrases and industry jargon. By doing this, the grant application will be inclusive and easily understood. Additionally, make your script engaging by injecting enthusiasm into it. After all, if you are not enthusiastic about your project, how can you ensure that the decision maker is going to be interested enough to offer support by providing you with funds? A note on enthusiasm. Being enthusiastic isn't the same as inserting sales pitches. Coming across as a sales man or woman will mare your credibility as your organization might come across as trying too hard. Indeed, the goal of the executive summary is to encourage the decision maker to read through the whole proposal.
Several applicants respond to funders' requests for proposals. Consequently, competition for attention is keen and it is important to stand apart. To stand apart, one needs to present his or her executive summary in an engaging, coherent and credible manner.
Written By Sherita N Brace
Sherita N Brace is an International Development Professional and a Blogger. She serves as a Consultant to non-profits and provides grant writing services, program planning services and communications services.