Grant writing does not have to be daunting. The hard work is clarifying what it is you want to accomplish and how you will accomplish it. Planning and developing an initiative strategically requires serious thought and commitment of time. Writing a Proposal
Before you begin the application, here are some helpful suggestions:
- Never write a proposal if you have not first fully developed the project. Develop the initiative first, apply for funding second.
- Write persuasively - you're selling a concept. Show the readers why your project is so great!
- Write so the reader, any reader, from any profession, can read your proposal. Put yourself in the position of the reader. Try to imagine reading your application as someone who is unfamiliar with your Hillel, your student organization, your initiative, etc. Make sure to explain all organizations, places, names, etc. that might be second-nature to you, but need explanation for an outsider.
- Use simple, clear, sentences. Be concise!
- Be careful not to write sentences that sound pretty but don't say anything.
The first part of the proposal (the executive summary) is the most important section of the entire document. Here you will provide the reader with a "snapshot" of what is to follow. It summarizes all of the key information and serves as a "sales document" designed to convince the reader that this project should be considered for support. Be sure to include:
- Opportunity or need - a brief statement of the opportunity or need your Hillel has recognized and is prepared to address
- Description of initiative - include what will take place and how many people will benefit from the initiative, how it will operate, where it will take place, for how long, and who will be responsible for implementing it.
When considering how to describe your initiative in the grant application focus on:
- Clarity of purpose - clearly state what needs to be done, how it will be accomplished, who will be impacted by it, and how it will achieve its goals.
- A sensible process - Have you laid out reasonable goals and made a convincing case for how you will achieve those goals? Is your implementation plan, including the timeline and budget, reasonable and do-able?
- Monitoring - what method will you use to assess progress towards your goals and evaluate your results?
Clearly articulate the need or opportunity. Your initiative may try to provide a unique solution, supplement the work of another student group or community organization, or identify a need or opportunity that has not yet been perceived by the community. Consider who else may be addressing this issue (i.e. other university groups, Federation, etc.) and how you might work together. Could the group or organization be a co-sponsor or a source for funding?Ask yourself these questions:
Starting the Application:
- Does the proposal address the specific criteria and answer the questions of the funding pool? Does this proposal effectively convey the information I want the reviewer to know?
- Have I effectively discussed and explained each of the goals stated in the proposal?
- Does the budget page, which will be scrutinized by the prospective grantor, accurately reflect the monetary needs for the initiative?
- Is the budget detailed and specific? Is it reasonable?
- Are participant fees included where applicable?
- Is it in $US?
- Is all information related to requested or committed funds accurate?
- Does the budget balance?
Big Picture Thinking:
- Is the overall picture I have drawn of my Hillel one that inspires confidence in our goals and in the competence and efficiency of the group submitting the proposal?
- Is the proposal as concise as possible, while still being complete?
Other sources for advice on writing grant proposals:
- If important information needs to be reiterated, have I done so in a fashion that emphasizes rather than simply repeats?
- Have I asked an objective third party to review and comment on the proposal?
- Have I done my final proofing and editing on a full printout of the application, not on a computer screen? (To check for accuracy and avoid repetition, you need to be able to shuffle back and forth between pages.)
- Have I taken the time to read the completed final draft of the application before submitting it?
For more information about Grant-Writing and how to locate sources of funding for your initiative please visit one of the following web pages.Grant Writing TipsA Proposal Writing Short CourseQuestions? Contact:firstname.lastname@example.org