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Grants 101

Write the Proposal (Overview)

A grant proposal is a formal, written request for funds to support a specific program or project. Although the exact content of a grant proposal is determined by the funding agency’s guidelines, most grant proposals explain (1) why the funds are needed, (2) what the funds will be used for, and (3) how the funds will be managed.

Although both Grants.gov and JustGrants require you to submit application packages online, which includes filling out several online forms, you will still need to write the bulk of your proposal in a word processing application. Please note, there are file extensions that OJP does not accept, including: ".com," ".bat," ".exe," ".vbs," ".cfg," ".dat," ".db," ".dbf," ".dll," ".ini," ".log," ".ora," ".sys," and ".zip."

This section reviews the written portion of your application package, including tips on how to—

  • Develop ideas for the proposal.
  • Collaborate with your community.
  • Develop a budget.
  • Identify your project’s strategic plan.
  • Select someone to write the proposal.
  • Write the proposal.

Writing Tips

Most proposals are evaluated in a highly competitive forum, with hundreds of grant proposals competing for the exact same funds. Most grant proposals do not receive funding. Your proposal must meet at least two goals: (1) inform the reader of your plans, and (2) persuade the reader that your project is worthy of funding. 

Sell the reviewers on the following points—

  • The need or problem that you will address or fix with the grant money is significant and worthy of funding.
  • The project or program is well planned, both from the funding agency’s and your point of view, to ensure a successful implementation if the funds are awarded.
  • You are capable of successfully managing the funds and completing the proposed project on schedule and meeting your goals and objectives.

Respond to reviewers’ needs and expectations by—

  • Including details that sufficiently clarify your plans for the reviewers, who may be unfamiliar with them and who may be reading several other grant proposals at the same time.
  • Providing good reasons for funding the proposed project in view of the solicitation’s purpose and goals.
  • Ensuring that the proposal is well written and that important information is easily accessible. Reviewers who have trouble accessing or understanding important information will not be convinced that the proposed project deserves funding.
Date Created: January 21, 2020