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  • Marty Zimmerman

Best Practices for Grant Attachments

Updated: May 30

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All grant writers are familiar with submitting attachments with their proposals. But, while it is easy to find lots of tips on grant writing, it’s not always clear what the “best practices” are for creating these attachments.

Here is ZIM’s list of standard attachments you should have and a timeline of when they should be completed. The list is based on the requirements for the Colorado Common Grant Application (CGA), though some funders may request additional attachments. For further information, please reference the CGA Guidelines.

Cover Letter

When you are writing an application, having a standard cover letter on file can save you time, but be sure to customize it for each grant. Update the amount you are asking for, the funder’s name, and how your request aligns with the funder’s priorities.

Organization budget

Three months before the start of a new fiscal year, staff should put together a budget to present to the Board of Directors for approval. The final budget should be approved by the start of the new fiscal year.

Program or project budget

Similarly, program budgets should be prepared several months before the program begins, and should always be finalized before submitting a grant. For a multiple-year program, make sure the budget covers every year of implementation.

Year-to-date financial statements

These need to be dated within the last three months (of the date you submit the grant). Include a Statement of Financial Position (Balance Sheet) and a Statement of Activities (Income and Expense Statement). Make sure to review these two documents regularly (generally monthly, but bi-monthly for smaller organizations is sufficient), as they need to be updated the most frequently.

Year-end financial statements, audit, and Sources of Income Table

Complete year-end financial statements within three months of the fiscal year end, and the audit within six months. If the audit is not ready, most funders will accept one from the previous year as long as you also send updated year-end financials. To create a Sources of Income Table, use the CGA format.

Major contributors

The CGA requires a list of major contributors and the amount they gave for the past two fiscal years. This info should be put together by the end of the fiscal year.

In-kind contributions

Similarly, this list should be ready by the end of the fiscal year, however, only one year of in-kind contributions is required to submit.

Explanation of items in financial attachments, if applicable

If your organization has exceptions to these requirements or different financials to submit, be sure to include a brief letter of explanation of what you are submitting and why.

Board of directors list

The Board list should be finalized by the start of the new fiscal year. Information for each member should include their position on the board, occupation and name of employer, city or county of residence, and a term end date.

Proof of IRS federal tax-exempt status, dated within the last five years

If the letter needs to be updated, you can get a new one from the IRS by calling 1-877-829-5500. Keep in mind that it may take several weeks to receive a new letter, so be sure to request one several months before the existing letter becomes outdated.

Anti-discrimination statement adopted by the board of directors

Review annually with an attorney to ensure compliance with the law.

Key staff

Update any time staff changes. If staff stays the same, review annually.

Do you have any tips for grant attachments? Let us know in the comments!

Best of luck with your grant writing this year! And if you find you need help, please call ZIM anytime at (303) 226-5478.


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