Grant Writing

Grant Proposal Checklist

Grants are generally (though not always) given to non-profit organizations for programs and services that benefit the community or the public at large. To be successful in winning a grant, there are a number of important steps that you will need to take. First, you will need to do research in order to identify appropriate funding organizations. Once you have identified potential funders, you will then need to determine how to approach them. In many cases, it is best not to submit a grant application to a funding organization that knows nothing about your activities. So you may need to take the time to cultivate relationships with these organizations via phone calls, visits, and/or letters of inquiry. Finally, you will need to provide each funding organization with a well-written proposal which clearly states your objectives and sets forth a plan and budget for your activities. And don't expect to receive money right away. Funding organizations often take many months to review and process grant applications.

Grants to individuals are most often given for educational support (financial aid), the arts, and various types of scientific or other research, although some agencies award grants to individuals for other purposes.

Grants Proposal Development

Cover Page/Table of Contents: Complete entirely and accurately.

Project Title: Choose a simple, descriptive name that captures the program’s design.

Abstract: The abstract recaps the substance of the proposal and follows the same format. Although the abstract should be written last, it is placed at the front of the proposal. The abstract is the first section to be read by grant reviewers and often determines whether or not they will read the remainder of the proposal.

Need/Problem Statement: Why is the project needed? If the problem is widely recognized, describe it in brief terms. Specify the problem’s extent in the population your proposal is designed to serve. Problems typically involve a discrepancy between “what should be” and “what exists now.” Identifying the problem and analyzing its causes complete the requirements of a needs statement.

Literature Review/Data: You must support your needs statement with current research on the topic and by providing relevant, succinct documentation such as demographics. Be sure to include both quantitative (numbers, data analysis) and qualitative data (interviews, surveys, documents, etc.)

Long-Range Goals/Solution: Explain what you plan to do in order to address the problem. A goal is a declaration of an intentional outcome or result that consists of a broad visionary statement and sets the parameters for the objectives and activities that will meet it. If the solution is controversial or unusual, justify it. What evidence can you present that this solution is appropriate? Have others tried it before? What does the literature say? If your vision is clear, you should be able to describe the solution.

Staffing Considerations: How many people will the project employ? At what positions? Who will manage the project? What staff will be needed to support the project? List any additional resources provided to support the project (clerical, building space, professional development).

Proposed Partnership Program: A partner can be a business, a higher education institution, a government agency, a community or social services agency or a school. Any organization or individual can be considered a partner.

Implementation Timeline: A timeline is a detailed calendar of key events, milestones and proposed accomplishments

Key Players/Partners: In addition to identifying the key players and partners and what they will do, grant proposals often require mini-biographies and letters of support from partner organizations.

Data Collection/Evaluation: (May include variations of the following)

  • What are your assessment instruments? Are they appropriate?
  • Who are your subjects? How many will be tested? Interviewed?
  • Who will administer assessments or gather data?
  • When will the data be collected?
  • How will the data be analyzed?
  • Are the indicators for achievement specified in each objective?

Program Budget Summary & Budget Narrative: List the major costs to be included in the budget, and estimate the total cost. How will the funds be used? Salaries? Supplies and Materials? Equipment? Travel? Consultants? Transportation? Is this a good use of money? Is it cost effective? Can it be justified? Is it adequate for the goals of the proposal?

If the funder requires matching funds or in-kind contributions, how much will your organization cover? What indirect or administrative costs are involved? All budget expenditures must be referenced and specified in the proposal narrative and justified in the budget narrative. The narratives and the budget must be linked.