Grant Application Tips

How to submit a strong application

Over the years, we've gotten many questions about what kinds of things can and cannot be included in a proposed budget and/or project plan. While we do not have any hard and fast rules around this, we do have a few general guidelines that might be helpful when writing your grant application.

Project Proposal

  • Make/build/beautify: generationOn loves to fund projects that focus on making, building or beautifying things. Consequently, we are more apt to fund a project seeking funds to buy raw materials to make or build things with than projects proposing to buy ready-made-things to give away. For example, we would rather fund a project that aims to buy craft items that will be used to make cards than fund a project planning to buy ready-made cards.
  • Reflect: If there's a word that gets us excited--it's the word 'reflect'. We ADORE projects that incorporate reflection.
  • Educate: At generationOn, we believe in education through service. Consider adding a generationOn lesson plan (or your own lesson plan) to your service project/plan.
  • Get organized: Show us that you've thought through how it will all work. Stumped? Use our Do Your Own Thing Guide for Teens to get started.
  • Be creative: How can you turn an 'everyday' service project into an eye-catching, meaningful service project that is truly extraordinary? Get inspired by our ExperTeens.
  • Write well: Check out specific writing tips in our How To Apply for a Grant Guide.


Some grants may have specific requirements in terms of budgeting requirements and how grant funds can be spent. Be sure to check those requirements as well.

  • Be specific: List items, quantities and costs. For example, instead of listing "Paint", list "Paint, 2 gallons at $40/gallon = $80". Use our How to Budget Guide (accessible only to registered Clubs).
  • Seek donations: Many proposed service projects revolve around serving or giving food or clothing to those in need. At generationOn, we love to fund projects that seek to involve the community and community businesses in giving back. Consequently, we urge potential applicants to consider whether some/all of the ready-made-goods needed for a project could be donated rather than purchased. Use our How to Ask for Donations and Sponsorship Guide (accessible only to registered Clubs).
  • Get the word out: generationOn loves projects that propose to spend grant funds on spreading the word about service projects and events. Consider putting some of your budget towards getting more people involved.