Thinking of applying to the My LA2050 Grants Challenge? We asked five past winners for their top tips on submitting a winning proposal.
1. Develop your proposal with a specific project in mind.
Start by looking for a project that supports and amplify your organization's current work.
When developing your proposal, 2019 grantee Rise advises that not only should the project convey a clear vision, it should also be “squarely within your capacity and mission as an organization.” An important factor on the Grants Challenge Scorecard considers how clearly your proposal defines the outcomes for your project and how thoroughly you would measure its success. Make sure you propose goals that you can trust your team to execute.
2. Focus on a project that you believe will have the most impact on the greater Los Angeles community.
The next step is to align your project impact with LA2050 goals and metrics.
Making the most impact doesn't mean that you have to be a large organization or work with a huge budget. Instead, think about innovative ways to expand on what you already have to address the problem you're already passionate about solving.
For example, when CASA of Los Angeles first applied, they took the opportunity to introduce Los Angeles to their volunteer program, posing the question – “what does it mean to help children in foster care?” Since then, the organization has grown its community and most recently won the 2019 Grants Challenge by proposing a new type of volunteer program that builds on their previous proposals.
3. Collaborate from the get-go!
Collaborate with outside partners and remember internal collaborations as well, especially if you have multiple departments that would execute your project.
According to 2019 grantee Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, “creating a truly impactful proposal requires so much collaboration and input.” Don't wait till the deadline draws near to start these important conversations.
4. Use videos to your advantage.
While creating a video for your organization can seem intimidating, it is often a great way to introduce others to yourself and your work.
2018 grantee Miry's List proved with their proposal that effective storytelling doesn't require a professionally-produced video. Their video was shot entirely on a cellphone, but was powerful because it was genuine and explained why their organization was well-positioned to connect Angelenos and refugees new to Los Angeles with each other.
5. Don't be afraid to get your community on board.
My LA2050 has included a public vote since 2013 because we recognize that it can benefit organizations applying to the Grants Challenge – from reaching new audiences through the My LA2050 Ideas Archive to establishing better relationships with existing supporters.
In anticipation of the voting period, 2019 grantee Defy Ventures encourages organizations to plan ahead on reaching out to supporters. Treat this process as a chance to rally supporters around your cause, raise awareness of your work, and gather valuable feedback on the project you're proposing.