APPLYING FOR A GRANT
PROPOSAL WRITING TIPS
TIPS ON WRITING GRANT PROPOSALS
WRITE A GRANT PROPOSAL
GRANT WRITER LINKS
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Grant proposals are in-depth formal requests asking
an individual, private, or federal organization for
money to fund an existing program or a program that
will be implemented in the future.
The grant writer will:
Through interviews and other means, gather
information that will easily allow him/her
to grasp the concept of a project or program
for which funding is sought as defined by the
person responsible for carrying it out.
Acquire and maintain sound knowledge and the
understanding of the organization, and use
that knowledge and understanding to better
comprehend all projects and programs for
which grants will be sought and to recommend
the seeking of grants.
Research grant-making organizations and analyze
them to identify likely funding sources for
specific projects and programs.
Compile, write, and edit all grant applications
exhibiting strong expository writing skills and
a high-level command of grammar and spelling.
Review the budget of a project or program for
which funding is sought and make recommendations
to better present it to grant-making organizations.
Develop individual grant proposals in accordance
with each grant-making organization?s preferences
and follow exactly each grant-making organization's
Keep in contact with grant-making organizations
during their review of a submitted grant application
in order to be able to supply additional supportive
Manage the process of supplying progress reports when
required by a grant-making organization that has funded
a project or program.
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Do you need money or equipment for a photography
project, a community garden or theatre, or a
youth recreation hall?
Grants for an amazing variety of projects are
available from government and community agencies,
foundations, corporations and other organisations.
Here are a few tips on getting the funds you need:
Consult the many reference books available at your
public library, including 'A Guide to Major Trusts',
published by the Directory of Social Change.
Once you have decided which grant to apply for,
find out as much as you can about the organisation
providing the funds.
Call and ask for the trust or charity's brochure or
an annual report. Try to make personal contact with
someone at the organisation, especially if it's a
Keep your grant proposal clear, simple and brief,
with the most important information at the beginning.
Explain how you're going to make the best possible
use of the money. Include information on the support
you already have for your project.
Try to get endorsement letters from people well known
in the community or in your field. Once you have
submitted your proposal, ring and make an appointment
to discuss it in person.
If you're turned down, consider applying to the same
donor again. It often takes three or four tries to
Apply for many grants. If you're lucky enough to be
approved by two donors, decide which offer is better.
Explain the situation to the other source - you may
be able to receive two grants, either in succession
or at the same time.
Grants - Tips for applying for a grant
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Successful proposal writing involves the
coordination of several activities,
including planning, searching for data
and resources, writing and packaging a
proposal, submitting a proposal to a
funder, and follow-up. Here are some
tips that will help.
In the whole process of applying for a
grant, your initial steps will probably
be the most time-consuming, but also
the most important, part.
If done well, your preparatory work will
simplify the writing stage.
1. Define your project
Clarify the purpose of your project and
write a concise mission statement.
Define the scope of work to focus your
Determine the broad project goals, then
identify the specific objectives that
define how you will focus the work to
accomplish those goals.
To improve production quality.
Recruit advanced production talent.
Train mid-level producers.
Upgrade production equipment.
These goals and objectives suggest the
proposal will request support for
recruitment activity, production
training, and equipment purchase.
In contrast, a different proposal with
the same goal might focus only on
Decide who will benefit.
Benefits may extend beyond the direct
beneficiary to include the audience,
other institutions, etc.
Draft expected project outcomes in
specific measurable terms.
Draft a timeline that includes the
planning phase, the period of
searching for funds, proposal writing,
and the intended project start date.
Periodically update the timeline as
you learn more about submission
deadlines, award timetables, etc.
2. Identify the right
Foundation centers, computerized databases,
station development offices, publications,
and public libraries are some of the
resources available to assist your funding
Do not limit your funding search to one
Look for a match between your project
and the grants you seek by looking for
consistency between the purpose and
goals of your project and the funder.
In addition, pinpoint specific funding
priorities and preferences.
Make direct contact with funders to
support projects like yours.
Request proposal guidelines. Also
request a list of projects previously
funded through this specific grant
program; an annual report may be
Inquire about the maximum amount of
the grant. Also, find out the average
size and funding range of awards.
Determine if funding levels of the
grants you select are appropriate
for your project. Note whether
there is a funding floor or ceiling.
Find out whether the funder has other
grant sources for which your project
3. Contact the funders
Think of the funder as a resource.
Identify a project officer who will
address your questions.
Some funders offer technical assistance,
others do not. If itís available, ask
for technical assistance, including a
review of proposal drafts.
Inquire about how proposals are reviewed
and how decisions are made.
Inquire about budgetary requirements and
preferences. Are matching funds required?
Is in-kind support acceptable as a portion
of applicants' share?
What may be counted as in-kind support,
and how might it be applied?
Learn about payment processes, including
Remember, the contacts you make may prove
invaluable in the future.
4. Acquire proposal guidelines
Read the guidelines carefully, then read
them again. Be sure to ask the funder
any questions you may have.
tell you about:
award levels forms, margins, spacing,
evaluation process and restrictions
on the number criteria of pages, etc.
funding goals and priorities
evaluation process and criteria
whom to contact
other submission requirements
5. Know the submission deadline
Plan to submit your proposal on or
preferably before the deadline.
Determine what format the funder
requires for submission.
Be realistic about whether you have
time to prepare a competitive proposal
that meets the deadline.
Know the funder's policies on late
submissions, exceptions, and mail
Find out how the funder will notify
you about the receipt and status of
Factor this information into your
6. Determine personnel needs
Identify required personnel both
by function and, if possible, by
Contact project consultants, trainers,
and other auxiliary personnel to seek
availability; acquire permission to
include them in the project; and
negotiate compensation. Personnel
compensation is important budget
7. Update your timeline
This is a good point at which to
update your timeline, now that
you know about submission deadlines
and review timetables.
Factor into your schedule time to
write multiple drafts, solicit the
project officer for review of your
draft, gather relevant and
permissible materials, and prepare
an impartial critique of your
proposal for clarity, substance,
Writing the Proposal
Structure, attention to detail, concise
persuasive writing, and a reasonable
budget are the critical elements of the
There are many ways to organize proposals.
Read the guidelines for specifications
about required information and how it
should be arranged.
Standard proposal components are: the
narrative, budget, appendix of support
material, and authorized signature.
Sometimes proposal applications require
abstracts or summaries, an explanation
of budget items, and certifications.
Statement of need
Purpose, goals, measurable objectives,
and a compelling, logical reason why
the proposal should be supported.
Background provides perspective and
is often a welcome component.
Method and process of accomplishing
goals and objectives, description
of intended scope of work with
expected outcomes, outline of
activities, description of personnel
functions with names of key staff
and consultants, if possible.
Method of evaluation
Some require very technical measurements
of results. Inquire about expectations.
Paints a picture of project flow that
includes start and end dates, schedule
of activities, and projected outcomes.
Should be detailed enough to include
staff selection and start dates.
Information about the applicant that
certifies ability to successfully
undertake the proposed effort.
Typically includes institutional or
individual track record and resumes.
Tips on Writing the Narrative
Narratives typically must satisfy
the following questions:
What do we want?
What concern will be addressed and
why it is important?
Who will benefit and how?
What specific objectives can be
accomplished and how?
How will results be measured?
How does this funding request relate
to the funderís purpose, objectives,
Who are we (organization, independent
producer) and how do we qualify to
meet this need?
There are many ways to represent the
same idea. However, the HOOK tailors
the description of the idea to the
interest of a particular funder.
The HOOK aligns the project with the
purpose, and goals of the funding
This is a critical aspect of any
proposalís narrative because it
determines how compelling reviewers
will perceive your submission to be.
Budgets are cost projections. They
are also a window into how projects
will be implemented and managed.
Well-planned budgets reflect carefully
thought-out projects. Be sure to only
include those things the funder is
willing to support.
Funders use these factors to assess
Can the job be accomplished with
Are costs reasonable for the market,
or too high or low?
Is the budget consistent with
Is there sufficient budget detail
Many funders provide mandatory budget
forms that must be submitted with the
Don't forget to list in-kind support
and matching revenue, where appropriate.
Be flexible about your budget in case
the funder chooses to negotiate costs.
3. Supporting materials
Supporting materials are often arranged
in an appendix. These materials may
endorse the project and the applicant,
provide certifications, add information
about project personnel and consultants,
exhibit tables and charts, etc.
For projects that include collaborations
or partnerships, include endorsements
from the partnering agencies.
Policies about the inclusion of supporting
materials differ widely among funders.
Whether to allow them usually depends upon
how materials contribute to a proposal's
Restrictions are often based on excess
volume, the element of bias, and relevance.
Find out if supporting materials are desired
or even allowed. Be prepared to invest the
time to collect resources, produce a tape,
document capability, update a resume,
collect letters, include reference reports
or whatever is needed.
4. Authorized Signatures
Authorized signatures are required. Without
these, proposals may be rejected. Be sure
to allow yourself time to acquire a needed
Tailor proposal writing to specifications
found in the guidelines. Include only the
number of pages allowed. Observe the format.
Is there a form to complete? Must the proposal
be typed, double spaced, on 8-1/2 x 11 inch
pages? Are cover pages allowed or desired?
Caution! ó the beautifully bound proposal is
not always appreciated or allowed. Be concise.
Elaborations should add depth and scope, not
page fillers. Be prepared to write more than
6. Submission checklist
The complete proposal must be submitted
on time in the requested format with the
requested number of copies and original
Address the proposal as directed in the
Be sure to include required documentation.
Contact the funding source about the status,
evaluation, and outcome of your proposal.
It is important to request feedback about
a proposal's strengths and weaknesses,
although this information may be unavailable
with a very large volume of submissions.
Reference information may also be useful
if you choose to approach the same or
different funder again with your idea.
Grant Proposal Writing Tips
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It is important for an applicant to
become familiar with eligibility
requirements and other criteria
related to the organization and
grant program from which assistance
Applicants should remember that the
basic requirements, application
forms, information, deadlines and
procedures will vary for each grant
Before You Begin
Writing the Grant
Rule #1: Believe that someone wants
to give you the money!
Project your organization into the future.
Start with the end in mind...look at your
organization's big picture. Who are you?
What are your strengths and priorities?
Create a plan
not just a proposal.
Do your homework: Research prospective
funders. Try and search locally first.
Target funding source that has interest
in your organization and program.
If you need
the money now,
started too late.
A successful grant proposal is one that
is thoughtfully planned, well prepared,
and concisely packaged.
There are nine basic
components in a solid
1. Proposal Summary
The proposal summary appears at the
beginning of the proposal and outlines
the project. It can be a cover letter
or a separate page.
It should be brief: no longer than two
or three paragraphs. It is often helpful
to prepare the summary after the proposal
has been developed.
This makes it easier to include all the
key points necessary to communicate the
objectives of the project. The summary
document becomes the foundation of the
The first impression it gives will be
critical to the success of the venture.
It very possibly could be the only part
of the package that is carefully reviewed
before the decision is made to consider
the project further.
2. Introduction of
Most proposals require a description of
an applicant's organization and its past,
present, and projected operations.
Be concise, specific and compelling.
Use the description to build credibility
for your organization.
(Start a "credibility" file.) Reinforce
the connection between you and the
grantor. Establish a context for your
Some features to
A brief biography of board members
and key staff members,
The organization's goals, philosophy,
and record with other grantors,
Any success stories. The data should
be relevant to the goals of the
granting organization and its grant
program, and should establish the
3. Problem Statement
The problem statement (or needs assessment)
is a key element of a proposal. It should be
a clear, concise, well-supported statement
of the problem to be overcome using the grant
An applicant could include data collected
during a needs assessment that would
illustrate the problems to be addressed.
The information provided should be both
factual and directly related to the
problem addressed by the proposal.
Zero in on a specific problem you want
to solve or an issue you want to address;
Do not make assumptions of the reviewers,
Use statistics to support the existence
of your problem or issue,
Make a connection between the issue and
Make a case for your project locally,
not just nationally,
Demonstrate your knowledge of the issue
or problem and,
Set-up the milestones of your goals and
objectives, address the outcomes you
wish to achieve.
4. Project Objectives
The project objectives should clearly
describe the goals of the project.
Applicants should explain the expected
results and benefits of each objective.
They should also list the specific
criteria of the grant program. Then,
describe how the proposal meets each
Goals are general and offer the
evaluator an understanding of the
thrust of your program. Objectives
are specific, measurable outcomes.
They should be realistic and attainable.
Objectives help solve the problem or
address the issue. If your objectives
make reference to a number -- make sure
it is do-able.
Do not confuse objectives with methods.
Always be realistic.
5. Project Methods or Design
The project method outlines the tasks
that will be accomplished with the
available resources. It is helpful to
structure the project method as a
Early in the planning process, applicants
should list the tasks that will have to be
completed to meet the goals of the project.
They can then break these into smaller
tasks and lay them out in a schedule over
the grant time period. This will provide
a chance to consider what personnel,
materials, and other resources will be
needed to carry out the tasks.
Describe in detail the activities that
will take place in order to achieve
Make sure your methods are realistic.
Describe WHY you have chosen these
Justify them over all other approaches
your organization could have taken.
Show your knowledge of the bigger picture.
Include a timetable of major milestones.
6. Project Evaluation
Applicants should develop evaluation
criteria to evaluate progress towards
It is important to define carefully and
exactly how success will be determined.
Applicants should ask themselves what
they expect to be different once the
project is complete.
If you are having a problem developing
your evaluation process, you better take
another look at your objectives.
Be ready to begin evaluation as you
begin your project.
Summative Evaluation is a plan to
evaluate the project that measures
how you will have met your objectives.
Formative Evaluation is a plan to
evaluate the project during and after
It can be used as a tool to make
appropriate changes along the way.
7. Future Funding
Applicants may be asked to list
expected sources of continuing
funding after the conclusion of
The applicant may also be required
to list other sources and amounts
of funding obtained for the project.
8. The Proposal Budget
Funding sources require different
amounts of detail in the budget.
Most Federal funding sources require
a large amount of detail.
Also, they usually provide budget
forms with instructions. The budget
format presented here is designed
to match what most Federal agencies
If the funding source requires a
specific format, you must provide
a budget in that format.
9.Your Budget is an
Estimate Be Specific
The numbers should be specific.
Rounding an item to nearest
thousand dollars does not inspire
It also suggests you have not done
much work preparing the budget.
Tips On Writing a Grant Proposal
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A grant is free money; free money with a catch.
You have to convince someone to give you money
in exchange for doing something.
Usually, you have to present a novel project
or goal, explain how you are going to implement
your project and achieve your goal, and
articulate why the grant funder should give
Then, if you get the funding, you actually
have to do what you said you would do in
1. Identify your project and goal.
The more narrowly you can define your project,
the easier it will be to justify your request
You need to be able to tell the grant provider
your objective, your plan for completing the
objective, the benefits of your project, goals
for the Project.
2. Get the proposal guidelines.
The proposal guidelines will tell you what the
grant funder requires for proposal formatting,
submission deadlines, budget, eligibility and
criteria for awarding grants.
Grant guidelines often contain contact information
of a name and phone number of an individual affiliated
with the grant funder. Contact information is
3. If the grant proposal has contact information, use it.
Contact the individual identified and make friends. Get
to know the people involved in the decision whether to
give you money.
Introduce yourself, discuss your project, ask about
prior successful proposals, find out as much as you
can about your grant funder and your grant funder's
Sometimes a grant funder will offer assistance and
answer questions as you prepare your proposal. Do
not be afraid to get to know your grant funder.
4. Submitting a grant proposal is like submitting
your cover letter and resume for a job opening,
and the same rules apply. Craft your grant proposal
to cater to the grant funder offering the grant.
If the grant funder has specific objectives, explain
how your project can fulfill them. Use the proposal
guidelines as your map for creating your proposal.
Be sure to address every requirement contained in
the grant proposal.
5. Proofread your proposal.
Then, get a friend to proofread your proposal. Then,
get another friend to proofread your proposal. After
it's been proofread multiple times, proofread it
Just like a cover letter and resume, typographical
errors are inexcusable when asking someone for
6. Many grants require letters of recommendation.
Provide your references with sufficient time to
prepare a letter of recommendation. When you ask
a reference for a letter of recommendation, give
your reference a copy of your curriculum vitae,
your grant proposal, the grant guidelines, any
necessary forms and a self-addressed stamped
envelope if the reference has to separately mail
the letter of recommendation.
Give your references at least 2 weeks notice of
your deadline. After approximately 5 business
days, remind your references of the submission
deadline to ensure all portions of your proposal
are timely submitted.
7. Submit your proposal by the deadline.
Many grant funders will allow a late submission,
but do not take this risk. You have just put in
weeks or months of work preparing your grant
proposal, do not throw away all of your hard
work by missing the submission deadline.
How to Write a Grant Proposal | eHow.com
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A growing number of major foundations ask
potential grant recipients to first submit
a two-page letter of inquiry before
receiving an invitation to submit a full
proposal. The inquiry letter prevents
nonprofit organizations from spending an
excessive amount of time assembling
application material for unlikely projects.
On the other end of the funding process,
foundation staff can quickly scan letters
for appropriate projects and only request
additional information when funding is a
For a grantwriter, letters of inquiry
provide a valuable method for testing
project ideas with potential funding
sources. Remember however that you must
research the foundation's priorities
Respect the funding source's stated
preferences for geographic region,
type of grant, and program areas.
Rejection notification arrives
quickly when your project is
Your letter should establish a connection
between your project's goals and the
foundation's philanthropic interests.
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