Whether you are going to write a grant proposal for a government agency or a private funder, such as a foundation or corporation, the components of the proposal are quite similar. The amount of detail required may be considerably different, but the basic elements are generally the same.
Most grantmakers have instructions on how you should develop your application for funding. You will want to follow these application guidelines very carefully, as they will tell you what elements to include, in what order, and what length each section should be. If you do not have guidelines, use the elements that seem most relevant to your project.
The assigned grant writer should work closely with others to gather the information needed to develop a grant proposal. If the person who conceived the project isn’t the grant writer, he or she should be involved in developing the grant proposal, especially the objectives, plan of action, and budget. However, you want the grant request to be stylistically consistent, so limit the number of people involved in the actual writing. A basic grant writing rule of thumb is: do not write by committee.
Grant reviewers appreciate brevity and clarity. To achieve this, include section headings and sub-headings, leave space between sections, choose a readable typeface and font size, and use standard margins. Always use page numbers and identifying page headers or footers. Don’t use your letterhead anywhere in the request except for the cover letter.
Here is a list of the grant proposal elements that we will be covering in this series:
- Executive Summary (Project Abstract)
- Organization History and Purpose (Capability)
- Statement of Need (Problem)
- Project or Program Narrative
- Goals and Objectives
- Plan of Action or Work Plan
- Evaluation and Measurable Outcomes
- Budget and Budget Narrative (Justification)
- Attachments and Supplemental Materials
The application process for government funding is more complicated then submitting an application to a private grantmaker. Government grant applications always require completing numerous forms and can take several months to write, whereas, an application for private funding may take a week or two to write, with no forms and few other attachments necessary.
In the next article we’ll talk about how to get started writing a grant proposal, including creating an application outline, as well as establishing a work timeline for developing the full grant request.