Grant Writing Tips for Evidence-Based Program Funding

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<span id="hs_cos_wrapper_name" class="hs_cos_wrapper hs_cos_wrapper_meta_field hs_cos_wrapper_type_text" style="" data-hs-cos-general-type="meta_field" data-hs-cos-type="text" >Grant Writing Tips for Evidence-Based Program Funding</span>

Evidence-based programs, grounded in empirical data and rigorous research, can heal individuals and communities. But one thing lies at the core of their success: funding. 

To acquire the necessary funding for EBPs, you need to write grant proposals that captivate, inspire, and, most importantly, win. In this blog, we'll explore grant writing tips, strategies, and resources to help you confidently write grants so you can deliver evidence-based programs that inspire and transform. 


The Fundamentals of Grant Writing 

Effective grant writing secures the funding that brings evidence-based programs to life. It's the art of weaving compelling narratives with persuasive data, scopes of work, budgets, and more to demonstrate a program's potential impact. 

You must articulate a vision that resonates with funders. At its core, grant writing is twofold: to secure financial support for a project and communicate its objectives and outcomes effectively. By crafting a persuasive narrative that aligns with the goals of both the funder and the program, you can increase your chances of success. 

Components of a Grant Proposal 

A well-structured grant proposal guides funders through your proposed evidence-based program, providing a comprehensive overview of what you hope to achieve and how you will do it. 

A few common elements include: 

  • Executive Summary: This component can also be called the abstract. It provides a brief project overview, highlighting its significance and anticipated outcomes. 
  • Needs Statement: Articulate the problem or opportunity the program aims to address, backed by evidence, data, and stories. 
  • Project Description and Methods: Building off the introduction, dig deeper into the specifics of your evidence-based program. Outline your approach, timeline, activities, anticipated challenges (and how you'll address them), and projected outcomes. Make sure to reference and cite evidence-based resources throughout your proposal to amplify persuasiveness. 
  • Goals and Objectives: Clearly define objectives that outline desired outcomes and the steps you'll take to achieve them. This element may get wrapped into your project description, but it's critically important and worth highlighting again concisely. Demonstrate how your goals and objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. 
  • Budget: A detailed breakdown of anticipated expenses and the allocation of the requested funds. A strong budget demonstrates well-thought-out implementation plans and transparency. 
  • Evaluation Plan: Outline your intended methods for assessing progress and impact, demonstrating your commitment to ongoing accountability and outcomes tracking. If you need help outlining an evaluation process, reference proven methods in existing evidence-based resources. 
  • Organizational Information: Write an overview of your organization, providing the mission statement, values, structure, and brief history to communicate your expertise to funders. 

By understanding and mastering each component, you can craft compelling proposals that capture the attention of funders and pave the way for successful evidence-based programs. 

Why Does Evidence Matter in Grantmaking? 

Now that you know what's in a grant proposal, you need to start finding opportunities you can apply for. But before that, you should understand why evidence matters to funders and why evidence-based elements are often included in grant programs. 

Evidence-based grantmaking ensures funds go to proven methods or facilitates the generation of evidence in an area that is lacking. 

Federal, state, or local grant programs, particularly those that operate on a competitive basis, require applicants to submit proposals based on specified selection criteria. These criteria may include allocating points toward evidence-based practices. For instance, applicants could earn points by referencing published evaluations supporting their proposed interventions or agreeing to participate in national assessments to contribute to the evidence base. 

Alternatively, grant programs may mandate evidence by requiring applicants to select program models from a pre-approved list of evidence-based programs. 

To explore various evidence-based practices and interventions, explore the following registries:  

  • Title IV-E Prevention Services Clearinghouse provides an objective and transparent review of programs intended to provide enhanced support to children and families and prevent foster care placements, which rates programs and services as well-supported supported, promising, or not currently meeting criteria. 
  • Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development hosts a registry of proven-effective interventions designed to promote the health and well-being of children and youth, providing information on evidence-based programs and practices. 

Explore these databases when looking for evidence to cite throughout your grant proposals. 

Identifying Funding Opportunities for Evidence-Based Programs 

Government grants, foundation funding, and private donors commonly support evidence-based programs. 

  • Government grants offer substantial resources and often come with a mandate to address pressing societal issues. 
  • Foundations provide funding through endowments or philanthropic initiatives, focusing on specific areas of interest or social causes. 
  • Private donors, including individuals and corporations, contribute resources driven by a passion for positive change. 

Your organization can enhance the sustainability of an evidence-based program by diversifying funding sources. But for now, we'll focus on government-initiated sources of funding. 

FFPSA Funds 

In evidence-based grantmaking, applicants must occasionally choose from pre-determined program models. This approach only sometimes applies, but it provides insight into the nuances of government grant opportunities. 

Consider the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA). It only funds evidence-based programs that preserve at-risk families. FFPSA funding can significantly help organizations on a mission to prevent child abuse and neglect. However, to apply, you must research eligibility criteria, validated evidence-based programs (like Functional Family Therapy), the application process, the funding scope, and more. 

Interested in bringing FFT to your community using FFPSA? Download Functional Family Therapy & Family First Prevention Services Fact Sheet 
Medicaid Funds 

While you likely don't have to submit a grant proposal to receive Medicaid funding, it's a significant funding source for evidence-based programs that support behavioral health. 

For example, Medicaid can cover parts of Functional Family Therapy, like case management or therapy sessions. Providers must be recognized as eligible to receive these funds, and the services must align with a state's guidelines. 

Download our fact sheet if you're curious about how to fund Functional Family Therapy through Medicaid or are interested in becoming an FFT provider. 

Additional Funding Opportunities 

Resources like the Child Welfare Information Gateway can help you search and identify details of various funding avenues available for supporting child welfare, mental health, family counseling, and related services. 

Some of these funding channels may include: 

  • The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) can assist multi-service agencies and housing development initiatives. 
  • The John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (Chafee) supports resources that foster self-sufficiency among current and former foster care youth. 
  • Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF) (Title IV-B), managed by child welfare agencies. 
  • Title I Grants to Local Education Agencies, administered by school districts to bolster school academic and socio-emotional services. 
  • The Youth Homelessness Demonstration Project (YHDP) funds housing services to aid young, unhoused individuals in securing permanent housing. 

Most of these funding sources necessitate comprehensive proposals delineating program objectives, evidence basis, and anticipated impact on the target demographic. 

Regardless of where you secure funding, always be sure to align funding sources with the specific goals and objectives of the evidence-based program you hope to implement. The funding you win should always align with the core mission and values of your goal. 

10 Quick Grant Writing Tips for Winning Proposals 

Always craft a narrative that addresses all the common elements of a grant proposal and any additional elements the funder asks for, backed up by cited evidence. 

You should also keep these top ten tips and strategies for crafting persuasive and impactful grant proposals top of mind: 

  • Know Your Audience: Tailor your proposal to resonate with the values and priorities of the funding organization. 
  • Tell a Compelling Story: Weave a narrative that highlights your project's significance and potential for creating positive change. 
  • Be Clear and Concise: Present your ideas clearly and concisely, avoiding jargon or overly technical language. 
  • Showcase Your Expertise: Highlight your organization's track record, expertise, and unique strengths to instill confidence in funders. 
  • Address Potential Challenges: Anticipate and address potential challenges or objections funders may have, demonstrating your readiness to overcome obstacles. 
  • Conduct Thorough Research: Familiarize yourself with the funder's priorities, guidelines, and past grant recipients. 
  • Align with Funding Criteria: Ensure your proposal aligns closely with the funding organization's mission, goals, and priorities. 
  • Utilize Clear and Concise Language: Communicate your ideas clearly and succinctly, avoiding unnecessary technical jargon or ambiguity. 
  • Engage Stakeholders: If and when possible, involve key stakeholders, including community members, partners, and beneficiaries, in the proposal development process. 
  • Seek Feedback: Before submission, solicit feedback from peers, mentors, or grant writing professionals to strengthen your proposal. 

By incorporating these tips into your grant writing process, you'll be well-equipped to craft compelling proposals that captivate funders and unlock the resources needed to turn your programmatic vision into reality. 

Takeaway: Secure EBP Funding with Strong Grant Proposals 

As you write grant proposals for evidence-based programs, remember that each proposal is an opportunity to make a difference and strengthen your impact. With research, data, compelling writing, impactful stories, clear objectives, and a strong budget, you can win resources to help you transform lives and communities. 

FFT LLC brings Functional Family Therapy to over 40,000 families a year across the globe that are at risk of involvement in the justice and child welfare systems and/or gangs. FFT LLC provides clinical oversight and ongoing research to maintain positive outcomes and ensure all FFT providers adhere to evidence-based practice standards. 

Contact us for more information about our evidence-based youth and family counseling services.