How to Write Effective Grant Proposals
Writing a grant proposal is not too different from writing an essay, with an introduction, body and conclusion. It is essential that you follow this structure as the way you unfold your ideas and needs ensures clarity and increases the chances of your grant application being approved by the government. Almost all proposals follow the same outline, and you can best be sure that your funding agency will be looking for this style. Below are some specific guidelines to getting you started on an effective proposal to get you that grant.
- Getting Going
The first and most obvious thing to do is to read the grant application provided by your funding agency. You can then:
- Highlight all of the questions that need to be answered so as not to miss any vital information
- Brainstorm! Formulate your ideas and decide on your most solid arguments and examples that will be most persuasive in proving your case.
- Opening Statement
Give a brief introductory paragraph summarizing who you are, what your project is, your specific aims, and how much you’re asking for. This allows the funding agency to quickly get an idea about your case and then read on for details.
- The Body
This is the main bulk of your proposal. While all agencies will want essentially the same information, they may provide direct questions to be answered, or leave it up to you to do a personal narrative.
- Start by flushing out the ideas generated in your brainstorming session. See which ones directly correlate to the agency’s guidelines. Do not worry about polishing your work; that can be done at the end. Just concentrate on establishing a rough draft.
- Do not worry about using flowery language. Clear, concise writing is most effective and the agency will appreciate your not easting their time.
- Once you have finished your rough draft, revise and then revise again. Make sure that all of the points made all relate to your main proposal. If you have information in the proposal that does not answer a question or add importance to the message you are sending; take it out!
- Have someone proofread your work. The best way of catching mistakes and redundancies is to have a fresh pair of eyes to assess your writing.
- Essentials to Include
In the proposal there are some important details to include.
- Project Budget- Be realistic about the money you need and specific about how it will be put to use. The more detail you provide, the more likely your grant application will be approved.
- And DO NOT round numbers. Accounting for the money needed down to the dollar, shows attention to detail and responsibility in money management.
- Letters and Support Documents- These are reference letters and financial documents that give legitimacy to your claims. Give proof that what you are saying is accurate.
- Sending The Proposal
- Having finished the proposal be sure to send it with anticipation. Each organization has deadlines and you do not want to be late, as very few will have sympathy for your cause after the fact.
- Approximately a week after mailing the application, call the agency to ensure that all of your documents have arrived and that your application is complete.
- Lastly, be patient. While some agencies have a quick review process, others could potentially take several months.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help: Consider a Grant Kit
If preparing a grant application seems time consuming and overwhelming, do not feel that you have to go at it on your own. Not spending the proper amount of time and energy on your application can result in a poorly matched proposal to the agency and the grant’s mission. To avoid these headaches, and the frustration of rejection, one is always able to use a grant kit. These kits facilitate the grant finding and application process, by giving you step by step help in pairing you with the agency best suited to your needs. Many kits offer online tutorials and structuring of the proposal, speeding up the application process. Hiring a professional grant writer can at times be quite costly; these grant kits are a great alternative that is equally effective.