Getting started on your application

Preview Questions & Instructions


The trustees would like to thank the Grantmakers of Western Pennsylvania for sharing their Common Grant Application Format used in the initial development of this online application.  The logical order of the Common Grant Application Format invites a clear, concise communication of the unique character and merits of your organization and project. It encourages you to build a case for your request that will enlighten foundation executives, engage them in a meaningful discussion of the issues and lead to well-informed decisions on grant applications.

View application questions - Copy the questions into a Word Processing document so you may edit and save locally before pasting into the application.

Sequence of Application

Create an account.
Before beginning the application, you will be asked to create a user account and organization profile. If more than one individual will be working on the application, each will be able to create an individual user account for accessing the organization's grant application.

Create an organization profile.
The first individual from your organization will create a profile.  Other members may then be associated to the existing organization profile.

Complete each section of the application. The application is divided into five sections accompanied by a brief set of instructions or guidelines. This format enables you to fill in a section and return later to finish it. More than one individual may also work on the application, with each member of the grant writing team completing their own section. Once you feel the application is complete, submit it.

Application sections
  1. Cover Sheet
  2. Executive Summary
  3. Narrative Section
    Organization Information and History
    Purpose of Grant
    Evaluation Plan
  4. Budget for Project
  5. Attachments
    1. Copy of the current IRS 501(c)(3) tax-exempt letter.
    2. Organizational structure: directors, personnel & affiliations.
    3. Financial statement for your organization.
    1. Photographs, charts, maps and other supporting documents.
    2. Annual report.
  6. Project Report - to be completed if your grant application is funded.
After you complete the application, be sure to submit it.

How to Prepare Your Online Submission

In your own words, address the questions and issues posed in each section. Please be thorough, yet strive for brevity. Although tightly written proposals are preferred, take the space you need to make your case.

Sections 1 - 3
The Cover Sheet, Executive Summary, and Narrative Section consist of questions with accompanying text fields. For short questions, you should type your response directly into the space provided. However, long sections of text, in the executive summary and narrative, may be easier to prepare using a word processor. If you use a word processing program, copy the appropriate text into each section of the online application. Although the text window in the online application may show only a portion of the text at one time, you can use the scroll arrows on the right side of the window to inspect your complete entry.

The main disadvantage of copying text from a word processor is the loss of some formatting, such as tabs and special characters. If the loss of formatting makes the text hard to read, you should edit it within the text window by inserting spaces in place of tabs and checking for other needed corrections. When the trustees read your online application, they will see it in page view with the questions followed by your responses.

Section 4
The Project Budget, has been designed for online submission. There are six questions. Four of the questions require simple, fill in the blank, responses. The other two ask you to itemize project expenses, and sources of funding.

Given its importance, the grant reviewers want to be able to read your budget in a standard format. To avoid formatting errors, where numbers and categories do not properly match, we suggest that you enter data following one of the following procedures:
1) Type directly into the space provided, or
2) Copy the budget categories, followed by a colon, into the space provided, then go back and type in the dollar amounts after the colon.

Consider simplifying your budget using the list of categories provided in the budget section of the application. Alternatively, you may use your own categories as long as they provide adequate information to the reviewers. Projects are so varied, it is hard to come up with a standard list of categories. Please examine your project for potential funding conflicts and disclose them. Finally, be sure to read through your budget for legibility and accuracy.

Section 5

Attachments are added to the application in this section. The preferred file types are JPEG and PDF.  These file types are unlikely to transmit computer viruses, and they are "cross platform" files that do not depend on the reader having a matching computer system and application software. After you have completed all of the sections, remember to submit your application.

In addition to the preferred file types, we will also accept Microsoft Word and Excel files. Please be aware that Word and Excel files can transmit computer viruses if they have internal, or imbedded, programs known as macros. Virus protection software is effective at protecting against known viruses, but new viruses are a constant threat. If the grant readers receive a file that appears to contain a macro they will not open it. To avoid this problem, please do not send files that contain macros. If possible, send files using one of the preferred file types.

If you don't want to learn about converting files, you may wish to contact a copy center for converting your paper documents to electronic files.

You can also convert paper documents to electronic files yourself by using a scanner. Scanners with a resolution adequate for copying paper documents are now available for around a hundred dollars.

Visit our About File Attachments page for more information on required attachments and tips for converting files.

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