Grant Writing 101 - Guidelines for the Final Proposal

Reference & EducationWriting & Speaking

  • Author Jason Shechtman
  • Published February 28, 2012
  • Word count 573


Preparation is very important for the grant writing process. if you perform the proper planning and research, the actual writing will go a lot smoother. Organize your proposal, pay attention to detail, follow the grantmaker’s specifications and format, use concise and persuasive writing, and request a reasonable funding amount. Clearly understand the grantmaker’s guidelines and make sure their goals and objectives match your grantseeking purposes. A well-written proposal should include the following steps:

• Research grantmakers, including funding purposes and priorities, and applicant eligibility.

• Determine whether the grantmaker’s goals and objectives match your grantseeking purposes.

• Apply for grants that are appropriate to your field and project, but do not limit your proposals to one funding source.

• Always follow the exact specifications and proposal format of each individual grantmaker.

• Contact the grantmaker prior to writing your proposal to confirm you clearly understand their guidelines.

• Reflect planning, research, and vision throughout your proposal.

• Prove that you have a significant need or problem.

• Deliver an answer to that need or solution to the problem. Do this based on experience, ability, logic, and imagination. Make sure you describe a program or project for change.

• Demonstrate project logic and outcome, impact of funds, and community support. Be specific about broad goals, measurable objectives, and quantified outcomes.

• Be clear about why you are seeking a grant, what you plan to do with the money, and why you are a good match for the grantmaker.

• Always include: project purpose, feasibility, community need, funds needed, applicant accountability, and competence.

• State your organization’s needs and objectives clearly and concisely.

• Answer these questions: Who are you? How do you qualify? What do you want? What problem will you address? How will you address it? Who will you benefit? How will they benefit? What specific objectives will you accomplish? How? How will you measure your results? How does your proposal comply with the grantmaker’s purpose, goals, and objectives?

• Write well! Use proper grammar, correct spelling, and active verbs. Be clear, factual, supportable, and professional.

• Present your proposal in the appropriate and complete format.

• Include all required attachments.

• After submission, follow up with the grantmaker about the status, evaluation, and outcome of your proposal. Request feedback about your proposals strengths and weaknesses.

If you make sure to follow these guidelines on your grant proposal, as well as the guidelines outlined by the grantmaking organization, you should be able to create a winning grant proposal suitable for funding!

These guidelines are very general. A grant proposal can be constructed for many reasons: maybe you need money for your small business to undertake a new humanitarian project in your neighborhood; maybe you are a medical scientist who is researching the effects of Viagra on donkeys; Maybe you want to start a new Underwater Basket-weaving course at the local college you teach at; the point is, it really doesn't matter. I designed this list of guidelines to be very general in nature. They don't apply to a specific type of grant proposal; They just apply to grant proposals in general.

Keep in mind that these guidelines are for the construction of the final or full proposal, and do not adhere to the preliminary proposal, if one is necessary. Although these guidelines must be followed for the creation of all proposals, most of these will not apply to your preliminary proposal due to the drastically shorter length required of a preliminary proposal.

For more information on grants and grant writing, please visit Grant Pros at

For the latest news on grant awards and fundraising, visit 2012 Grant News at

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